Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Beyoncé cuts ties with the Topshop chairman accused of sexual harassment, New York lawmakers speak out against Amazon, and Theresa May is in the fight of her political life. Have a fantastic Friday.
• Glass cliff crisis. Having a tough week? Theresa May can relate.
The U.K. prime minister has spent the past few days banging her head against the tallest and stoniest of British walls: convincing Parliament to support her Brexit deal, an arrangement that requires the U.K. to maintain some ties to the bloc for years after its formal withdrawal.
For those who have not been following the headlines out of Britain, a quick summary:
On Wednesday, May held what has been described as a “fraught,” five-hour meeting about the plan with her cabinet, emerging in the evening to announce that the group had agreed to back the deal. Thursday morning, though, that uneasy support had evaporated: six government ministers—including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab—resigned. May’s appearance before Parliament yesterday went no better. She took more than three hours of highly critical questions and found few allies among her own Conservatives—much less members of other parties. “It is mathematically impossible to get this deal through,” Conservative Mark Francois told the Wall Street Journal.
Now, her leadership hangs in the balance. At least 20 members of her own party have submitted letters of no-confidence; 48 such letters are required in order to trigger a vote. It’s not clear whether the anti-May faction will be able to muster that number, though we should get a clearer idea in the next few days.
But despite it all, May ended Thursday on a steely note, saying, “Leadership is about taking the right decisions, not the easy ones. Am I going to see this through? Yes.”
While the events of this week are certainly an extreme, May must be used to having the odds stacked against her. She assumed the prime minister job following David Cameron’s resignation in the wake of the shocking referendum vote—and after the frontrunner to become PM, pro-Brexit Boris Johnson, ran away from job. In working to extricate Britain from the EU—an unprecedented task—May has faced aggressive pushback from Brussels, from her political opponents, and from factions of her own party. Her job is certainly one of the starkest examples ever of the proverbial glass cliff. That she’s maintained her grip on that precarious perch for so long is impressive—now the question is: Can she hang on?
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Boy, bye. Beyoncé’s Ivy Park brand was a 50-50 partnership with the company chaired by Philip Green, who has been accused of sexual harassment, racist abuse, and bullying. On Wednesday, Beyoncé bought out Green’s stake. (Well, technically Bey’s Parkwood Entertainment bought out Arcadia Group Ltd, the retail group that encompasses Topshop and other brands.) Fortune
• ’21st-century Animal House.’ Seven women sued Dartmouth for sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination committed by three professors at the college. The allegations first came to light last year, leading to a criminal investigation and the departure of the professors, and now the women behind the lawsuit are seeking $70 million in damages. Boston Globe
• Facebook fights back. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has an answer to the New York Times‘ bombshell allegations this week that the social media giant neglected Russian meddling in American elections, blocked subsequent investigations, and retained opposition researchers to attack George Soros, among other things. They are untrue, Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post. “The allegations saying I personally stood in the way are also just plain wrong. Fortune
• POed with Prime. As Amazon prepares to open headquarters in New York and Virginia, lawmakers are weighing in. Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of the first to come out strong against New York’s dealmaking with Amazon, and now Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has joined her, criticizing the “lack of community input” and the incentives Amazon received from the city. Bloomberg
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: After iHeartMedia emerges from bankruptcy, Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan will serve on its board of directors. Monika Saha is the new CMO of Delphix. At Apex Clearing, Lucille Mayer is the new COO and Hannah Shaw Grove is the new CMO.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• A.I. architect. Fei-Fei Li is among a handful of scientists responsible for recent rapid advancements in A.I. She’s also on a mission to make sure the technology’s effects on how we work and live are for the better. Wired
• Avenatti update. Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer with presidential ambitions, was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence Wednesday. Avenatti posted bail, denied the allegations, and is set to appear in court in December; Daniels has said she’s waiting for more information and will find a new lawyer if the allegations are true. New York Times
• Business degree. The strange circumstances surrounding the September arrest of Chinese billionaire and JD.com founder Liu Qiangdong, (who also goes by Richard Liu) on a rape allegation in Minnesota—he was released and immediately returned to China—have drawn attention to the University of Minnesota. Liu was in the U.S. for a global business program at the university that is aimed at Asian executives. The program is set to earn the school $10 million in tuition. New York Times
• Getting played? Country music has been failing its female artists in recent years, with the number of women played on country radio steadily declining despite a few superstar names. But Kacey Musgraves took home album of the year at the Country Music Association Awards as the only woman nominated in the category. Vulture
ON MY RADAR
Why mini-me dressing is big business Business of Fashion
Karina Longworth makes Old Hollywood new The Atlantic
The reaction to Dwyane Wade’s paternity leave signals a cultural shift in sports Chicago Tribune
Why the world should pay attention to China’s feminists Time