Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A big-name CFO is under arrest, Mary Barra heads to Washington, and we report back on what your fellow readers had to say about the #MeToo backlash. Have a take-charge Thursday.
• You said it. The Bloomberg story about the #MeToo backlash reportedly happening on Wall Street has gotten plenty of reaction—including from many of your fellow readers. Here’s a look at what you all had to say on the matter:
“My manager is male, and when the #MeToo movement was gaining traction, he opened up in a team meeting and made his stance clear, stating that we should never feel uncomfortable at work and to make him aware if we ever are.
A few months later, I did have an issue where a male colleague put me in an uncomfortable and inappropriate situation… My manager was the first person I went to to talk about it with, and he was my advocate and champion the entire time…Thanks to his support, I reported it to HR and the other male colleague was let go from the company.
I know not every woman has this type of male or company support, but in my experience, the #MeToo movement has opened up these conversations, and the good men have risen to support. If a man isn’t doing anything wrong, he has nothing to be afraid of in developing strong relationships with female colleagues.”
— Kelly S., who works in the tech industry
“I have worked on Wall Street for over 25 years. While I have (thankfully) not experienced sexual harassment, I have experienced discrimination. And exclusion. Many times. This seems like yet another shallow excuse for women to be denied the opportunity for the sponsorship and relationship building that are so critical to career advancement. More importantly, this approach deprives both men AND women of the opportunity for clean, honest bonding (and, dare I say, fun) with their co-workers. I, personally, love a good after-hours party!”
— Desiree O., who works in finance
“Though it seems extreme, the exclusionary behavior happening on Wall Street isn’t at all surprising and I believe will be more typical in the future.
I know that the male pastors at my church won’t ride an elevator if it’s just them and a woman. They also won’t do one-to-one meetings with a female without a second woman in the room. They implemented this about five years ago to ensure there was no possibility of misunderstandings or anything that could put their reputation at risk.
I think this will be a growing trend as men seek to protect themselves from possible fallout from the potential of predatory women. It also avoids becoming an issue of ‘he said, she said’ as there’s always a third voice.”
— A male reader in the tech industry who asked to remain anonymous
“While I can appreciate [men’s] feeling of confusion and frustration with the movement, it also strikes me as a low-key threat when men make comments [about things like avoiding being alone with female colleagues]. To me, they’re basically saying, sit down, shut up, and accept the treatment or we won’t let you in the door. I don’t see how backing down really helps us.”
–Amanda G., who’s a business owner
“I lead a 56-year-old nonprofit in Michigan that helps women advance in their careers. We absolutely have been seeing the phenomenon described by Lean In and Bloomberg. Many men have quietly told us that they are reluctant to be alone with women—even in public settings such as restaurants. They also are less willing to mentor women. We don’t think this is because they’re worried about being caught in bad behavior—it’s because they’re worried about being suspected of it and not being able to prove otherwise.”
–Terri B., who runs a nonprofit
“I am in a forum with dozens of other CEOs of large companies, and by default, most of the other CEOs are male. Many of them—indeed most of them—are allies of women, and yet, they do feel extremely threatened and cautious of the potential of the #MeToo movement to attack them at any time. I am concerned that we need to change this from a Me Too monologue into a Me Too dialogue, that gives men guidance on what *IS* okay for women, and gives them some security with basic dating and friendliness, lest we have a backlash that is counter-productive. I realize that we think ‘just don’t be a jerk’ is obvious, but their perception seems to be that anyone can say anything at any time regardless of how they behave.”
— Nicole S., who works in the HR industry
“I’m appalled by what I read about men on Wall Street taking extreme measures to avoid accusations of harassment. It tells me that these men’s attitude towards woman hasn’t changed. The only shift is from treating women as sex objects, to treating them as sex objects that can bite back.”
— Eric T., who works in technology
As you can see, there’s little consensus on this issue. However, one thing you told us over and over is that the #MeToo backlash is an important issue and that it does deserve attention. We at the Broadsheet will continue reporting on the phenomenon—and we hope you’ll continue sharing your experiences and ideas for how to fix it.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• An alarming arrest. Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, has been arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities who are investigating allegations that the Chinese tech giant violated sanctions against Iran. Meng, also known as Sabrina Meng and Cathy Meng, is the daughter of Huawei’s founder and deputy chairwoman of its board. News of her arrest sent markets tumbling since it seemed to signal escalating tensions between China and the U.S. just days after the two countries said they’d reached a temporary trade war truce. CNN
• Saying farewell to 41. Leaders gathered at the funeral of President George H. W. Bush on Wednesday, where President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton didn’t speak to one another and President George W. Bush again passed a mint to Michelle Obama during the ceremony. Another pairing of note: First daughters and reported former friends Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump sat together. New York Times
• Ready to make nice? Mary Barra is in Washington this week meeting with lawmakers about GM’s impending layoffs of 15,000 workers. Barra won’t testify publicly, and her meetings will be with representatives whose districts will be hit hard by the job cuts. CNBC
• Rising tide. Hudson’s Bay earnings are out, and the company and chief executive Helena Foulkes have Saks Fifth Avenue to thank for better news this time around. Improved sales at Saks are evidence Foulkes’s turnaround strategy is working, the retailer says. Wall Street Journal
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Lisa Ellis joins SoundCloud as global head of music and artist relations. Katy Knox, head of U.S. Trust at Bank of America, joins the bank’s executive management team. Soleil Ho will be restaurant critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, the first new critic to step into the role in 32 years.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Who’s the scammer? An essay on Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas is causing a stir. Published in The Cut, the piece called Bollywood star Chopra a “scam artist” who tricked the former Jonas Brother into marrying her. Critics called the essay racist for its xenophobic tone and its mockery of the traditions of multi-day Indian weddings and sexist for painting Chopra as an older woman manipulating a younger man. As even Chopra’s new in-laws Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas criticized the story, it was taken down from the site. Here’s a piece on what was wrong with the now-deleted essay: Jezebel
• What severance? You’ve probably seen this by now, but just in case: Les Moonves destroyed evidence and misled investigators as they looked into his conduct at CBS, lawyers for the network said in a report. The report included new allegations of sexual misconduct against Moonves and said that Moonves had a CBS employee “on call” to perform oral sex. New York Times
• On the record. Heidi Roizen is known for joining Apple just before and leaving shortly after the return of Steve Jobs, and now for her role as a partner at venture firm DFJ. In a wide-ranging interview with Fortune‘s Polina Marinova, Roizen talks about SoftBank and Saudi Arabia and for the first time publicly addresses sexual harassment allegations against her firm’s former founding partner Steve Jurvetson. Fortune
• More than just Mueller. Zainab Ahmad was one of two senior assistant special counsels to sign the recent memo on Michael Flynn alongside Robert Mueller. Ahmad is known for prosecuting terrorists as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York. Elizabeth B. Prelogar and Jeannie Rhee are also on Mueller’s team. New York Times
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