AOC can defend herself against attacks from colleagues—but should she have to?

The House has censured Rep. Paul Gosar for posting an animated video showing his killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Ian Forsyth—Getty Images

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Saule Omarova‘s comptroller of the currency nomination gets controversial, tennis stars worry about China’s Peng Shuai, and the House censures Rep. Gosar for posting a video that depicts violence against AOC. Enjoy your Thursday!

– Where’s HR when you need it? What if you woke up one morning, brushed your teeth, poured yourself a cup of coffee, logged on to your computer—and discovered that a colleague had posted an animated video of himself killing you?

Once you got over the shock, I think it’s fair to say that, at the very least, you’d expect your employer to fire him ASAP. What kind of organization would tolerate someone who treats their colleagues with such disrespect—not to mention showcases such misogyny and cheerful violence against women?

The answer you’re looking for is the U.S. Congress—or at least it would be, if the decision were up to some GOP members of the House of Representatives.

Last week, Rep. Paul Gosar (R–Ariz.) posted an anime-style video in which a character with his face murdered Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) and then attacked President Joe Biden. Gosar has since removed the video, though he hasn’t apologized for it, instead attempting to explain the situation away as a “symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy.”

The House quickly moved the censure Gosar for the action—an unusual step that includes stripping him of his committee assignments. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy opposed the move and GOP leadership recommended party members vote against it. Ultimately the vote was 223-207, largely along party lines, with two Republicans, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois joining the Dems.

“What is so hard about saying that this is wrong?” Ocasio-Cortez asked her colleagues. She called out the willingness of some to embrace the idea “that what we say and what we do does not matter, so long as we claim a lack of meaning….Now, this nihilism runs deep, and it conveys and betrays a certain contempt for the meaning and importance of our work here.”

It’s hard to be surprised by anything in politics anymore. But it’s still upsetting to see our nation’s elected leadership putting political party over the need to treat one another with basic human decency. And while no one should be glorifying violence against anyone, the image of a white man slashing the neck of woman of color is particularly chilling. In a country where trust in government is hanging by a thread and people prove themselves increasingly willing to turn to violence, do leaders really want to send the message that they’ll tolerate this behavior?

As we know, AOC is no stranger to attacks from her colleagues and she’s certainly shown she can defend herself—but should she, or any member of Congress, have to?

Kristen Bellstrom

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Currency gets controversial. Saule Omarova is President Joe Biden's nominee to serve as comptroller of the currency, and her confirmation vote has turned into an ugly partisan fight. The Kazakhstan-born regulator, who attended university in Moscow and is a tough critic of big banks, has been painted by rightwing commentators as a "Soviet-trained radical." The Senate Banking Committee is set to hold a hearing on her nomination today. New York Magazine

- Update your bracket. NCAA Division I women's basketball is expanding, as the association aims to move past a report that showed how it had prioritized men's sports over women's. Women's basketball will now field 68 teams, instead of 64, matching the number of teams on the men's side. New York Times

- #WhereIsPengShuai. International tennis stars are growing worried about Peng Shuai, the Chinese player who accused a top government official of sexual misconduct and hasn't been reliably seen or heard from since. A Chinese state-run broadcaster today published what it says is an email from Peng, stating her safety, but many, including WTA CEO Steven Simon, say the message raises more red flags. Fortune

- Shareholder letter. Activision Blizzard shareholders are responding to reporting that says CEO Bobby Kotick knew about allegations of sexual harassment and assault at the business. Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) Investment Group, which controls 4.8 million shares, wrote a letter to the company's board calling for Kotick's resignation. Washington Post

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Sherrilyn Ifill is planning to step down as president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Janai Nelson will succeed her in spring 2022. Fuel business Booster hired Amy O'Neil, a longtime restaurant industry executive, as COO. Duolingo hired academic Kendra Ross as head of social impact. Travel brand Away hired Lyft alum Melissa Weiss as CMO. Psychiatry startup Talkiatry hired Vanessa Cao as SVP of operations. Natasha Harrison is leaving Boies Schiller Flexner to set up a rival practice in London. 


- Good news. Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced yesterday that her first follow-up exam after her treatment for breast cancer found her to be cancer-free. She shared the update as she encouraged others to schedule their regular mammograms. Washington Post

- Ups and downs. Women gained a greater share of board seats at big banks last month—but it wasn't thanks to new board seats. A handful of male directors retired, and Wells Fargo and Truist Financial both opted not to replace the director. That boosted women's share of board seats from 33.2% to 33.5% without adding any new women to boards. It's a strategy being adopted by several banks, who add new directors to increase board size and then reduce the size of the board again when a director departs. Bloomberg

- Neutrality vote. Jessica Rosenworcel addressed senators yesterday at a confirmation hearing for her nomination to lead the Federal Communications Commission, where she affirmed her support for net neutrality. A committee vote is expected Dec. 1. If she's not confirmed to a new term, Rosenworcel would be required to leave the FCC next month. Reuters


The problem with the Washington Post’s glowing coverage of 'maternity ranches' Slate

'It was as if her breast exposed itself:' The people v. Janet Jackson Vanity Fair

Switzerland to allow same-sex weddings starting July 2022 NBC News


"When a woman marries, she’s supposed to do chores and attend to her husband and kids. We decided a few years ago that’s not going to impede us anymore from playing a sport when we want."

-Fabiola May Chulim, team captain and manager of Las Diablillas, a Mayan women's softball team in Hondzonot, Mexico 

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