Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Budweiser deals with backlash to its advertising, senior women trust their employers less than their male peers do, and cable news has a day of reckoning. Have a terrific Tuesday.
– Dropping anchor. If you turn on cable news today, your usual programming—no matter your viewing habits—might look a little different. Yesterday, anchor Don Lemon was ousted from CNN and Tucker Carlson was terminated as a Fox News host. While those major stories swirled, more details emerged about the firing of NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell.
The three stories all have their own intricacies, but a common thread is the alleged mistreatment of women at major networks. Don Lemon’s firing after 17 years at CNN comes weeks after he referred to GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, 51, as “past her prime” on air; the incident reportedly lost Lemon a lot of goodwill with CNN colleagues who viewed the comment as sexist and ageist. (Lemon later apologized for the “inartful and irrelevant” remark.) Variety has reported on Lemon’s alleged history of open hostility toward women, including his own guests and colleagues. (Lemon denied claims he mistreated coworkers behind the scenes.) His popularity with audiences had simultaneously fallen, making his continued employment “untenable,” the New York Times reported. Lemon said in a statement that he was “stunned” by the decision and that there “are larger issues at play.”
Carlson’s exit, a seismic shift for cable news and conservative politics, follows Fox’s decision to pay $787.5 million to settle a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems over lies about the 2020 election results. That settlement is certainly notable since the case featured Carlson’s private text messages that conflicted with his on-air claims of election fraud and criticized Fox News management. But Carlson is also the target of a March lawsuit in which a female producer accused Carlson of promoting a hostile work environment, rife with sexism and antisemitism. The Los Angeles Times reported that the suit brought by Abby Grossberg, who was fired earlier this year, is in fact the reason behind Carlson’s abrupt departure. (A Fox spokesperson previously said the network would “vigorously defend Fox against all of her legal claims which have no merit.”) Rupert Murdoch’s son Lachlan Murdoch and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott reportedly made the decision to terminate Carlson’s employment without so much as a goodbye show. The former host has not spoken publicly about his departure.
And on the executive side, Shell was fired after NBC parent company Comcast investigated what the former CEO called an “inappropriate relationship” with a woman at the company. In fact, CNBC International anchor Hadley Gamble complained of both sexual harassment and sex discrimination by Shell. Shell has not publicly responded to Gamble’s claims; in an earlier statement, Shell said, “I’m truly sorry I let my Comcast and NBCUniversal colleagues down.”
More than five years after #MeToo rocked the entertainment and media industries, it’s tempting to think that the movement successfully cleaned house—with alleged bad actors like Les Moonves and Bill O’Reilly gone. But the three mega-exits this week show that the fast-paced industry of TV news is still an environment where alleged misconduct can fester. The departures should prompt top-to-bottom cultural reckonings, rather than elicit the false hope that this round of whack-a-mole will be more effective than the last.
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ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Leave of absence. Bud Light's marketing executive Alissa Heinerscheid is reportedly taking a leave of absence after consumers threatened to boycott the brand for partnering with a transgender influencer; the beer company collaborated with Dylan Mulvaney for a sponsored post earlier this month. The parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev is also restructuring the marketing teams to give senior executives closer oversight over marketing activities. CNBC
- Trust issues. Men and women enter the workforce with similar amounts of trust for their employer, but women's trust is 30% less than men's by the time they reach the director level. Companies invest billions on DEI efforts, but research shows that those efforts actually tend to disproportionately benefit men and widen the trust gap. Harvard Business Review
- Staying aboard. Nikki Haley received $300,000 worth of stock options as part of her compensation for sitting on the board of United Homes Group six weeks before she announced her presidential bid. Unlike previous presidential candidates with prominent corporate roles, Haley is staying on the board, raising potential conflicts of interest. Wall Street Journal
-Short-changed. Twitter was once a strong corporate backer of VC funds, notably those led by investors from marginalized communities, including Female Founders Fund. Under new owner Elon Musk, Twitter hasn't paid out the money its previous leadership promised, and the short-changed partners don't see an easy way out. Forbes
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Susan Rice is leaving her post as director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Anika Gardenhire has been appointed chief customer experience officer at Centene. At Brightline, Myra Altman is joining as the new chief clinical officer and Amy Chen is joining as CMO. Karen Flores will be CFO at Leia.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Could be the first. President Joe Biden appointed senior advisor and director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Chavez Rodriguez as his 2024 reelection campaign manager. She would not be the first Latina to run a presidential campaign—that was Patti Solis Doyle for Hillary Clinton's 2008 bid—but she would be the first to win as a campaign manager if Biden clinches a second term. He announced his candidacy early Tuesday. New York Times
- Global mifepristone. Japan is set to join 25 other countries in approving mifepristone, a drug used in medical abortions. It's a milestone for a country with limited access to reproductive health care: Oral contraceptives are not covered by insurance, surgical abortions for married women require their husband's consent (except in cases of rape), and epidurals are only available at some hospitals. Bloomberg
- Feedback loop. A study on the effects of remote working shows that the "power of proximity"—the benefit of receiving more feedback while working in person—is most likely to benefit women and younger workers. The catch is that women are most likely to use flexible and remote work options, amplifying the feedback disparity. New York Times
- Anti-LGBTQ abroad. Uganda is slated to pass some of the world's strictest anti-LGBTQ laws. The bill not only criminalizes same-sex acts but aims to silence the community over unfounded claims that they are trying to recruit children and subvert traditional family structures. The LGBTQ community in Uganda is shaken and worried for their security and livelihood. Reuters
ON MY RADAR
Dianne Feinstein and the cult of indispensability The Atlantic
Germany’s sharp-tongued Annalena Baerbock rips up the diplomatic playbook Politico
What was (and is) the 'It' Girl? The Cut
“What happens when women, nonbinary and trans folks come together is that they make magic and energy."
—Alex Steinman on starting Minneapolis co-working space The Coven
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