Troubling Julie Chen Moonves' Stance: A Pledge of Solidarity to Accused Husband
Ronan Farrow Bagged Another One
Les Moonves is not only out of power at CBS, but he has also been separated from the beloved golden parachute that was allegedly worth $90 million. But in the end, he lied to the board and tried to give a job to one accuser to get her to keep quiet ― both unpardonable acts at the millionaire boys club. And so he will probably leave without his exit pay. “The board stopped defending Moonves, not after hearing or reading the onslaught of damning accusations, but only when they realized he had been lying to them, according to a deep dive published in The New York Times on Wednesday,” Emily Peck reminds us. “Moonves reportedly let down his buddies on the board ― five men, whose average age is 80. They were ride-or-die for the CEO. ‘I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff,’ 83-year-old producer Arnold Kopelson, who until recently sat on CBS’s board, reportedly told his colleagues in a meeting after The New Yorker’s July report. ‘Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.’”
What could possibly go wrong with 5 men over 80 on a corporate board deciding on a sexual harassment investigation? The Reliable Sources media newsletter called it “CBS’s Hell Week.”
The Most Significant #MeToo Moment Yet
Todd VanDerWerff of Vox describes the resignation of the CBS Chair and CEO as "the most significant #MeToo moment yet." Washington Post reporter Amy Brittain tweeted: "In a span of just 10 months, the face of CBS's morning news show (Charlie Rose), the head of its signature investigative program, "60 Minutes," (Jeff Fager), and the CEO of the entire company (Les Moonves) have been ousted after #MeToo allegations. Let that sink in for a moment." Yes, lets.
It is almost as if CBS News were actually trying to do everything wrong in the manner in which they handled the Les Moonves and the Jeff Fager sexual harassment episodes that played out this week. These twin embarrassing episodes come on the heels of the ouster of Charlie Rose ― co-host of their flagship morning program ― last year. In the case of Jeff Fager, it was a bullying text that sunk his career at the Tiffany network. Fager sent a threatening text message to CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan, cautioning her to “be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem." Charmed, I’m sure.
It must be so awkward for CBS to report upon its own VIPs, but that’s what Nora O’Donnell has been doing since the exodus of Charlie Rose. "On Thursday, Duncan appeared on CBS This Morning to talk about what transpired earlier in the week, including how she felt when she received the text from Fager on Sunday, and the support she has received from many of her CBS News colleagues since the text went public.” Notes TVNewser. “We at CBS This Morning support you 100 percent, O’Donnell told Duncan during her appearance.”
Julie Chen Moonves Pledged Solidarity To Accused Husband
Julie Chen, the wife of Les Moonves, returned to Big Brother, and for the first time she signs off the show by adding Moonves to her name. This clearly seems as a pledge of solidarity to her embattled husband, and though they’ve been married for 14 years, the question remains: where is the line between solidarity to a spouse in times of difficulty and true responsibility towards society at large? Les Moonves’ case is a matter of sexual misconduct, lies, and serial manipulation brought to light by several women, and in such a political climate shouldn’t Julie Chen’s stance be condemned?
Norm MacDonald Drew Ire
“Macdonald found himself at the center of controversy after saying he was ‘happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a bit’ in a recent interview in the Hollywood Reporter,” and then compounded that anger by comparing those not sympathetic to the movement to Downs Syndrome children on the Howard Stern show. “’It’s always bad when you have to apologize for an apology,’ Macdonald told the co-hosts of ‘The View,” according to Page Six. “There is a thing with Howard where there’s a recklessness in the studio.” Hmmm.
A Second Chance To The #MeToo Men?
Finally, there is now a broad conversation online and in print publications regarding the #MeToo men. Accused sexual harasser John Hockenberry just penned a 7,000 word essay at Harper’s on his exile from the media world; disgraced CBC host Jian Ghomeshi wrote Reflections from a Hashtag for the prestigious New York Review of Books; Louis CK did his first stand up gig since November 2017; and Charlie Rose and CBS filed to have the motions against him dismissed. What is one to make of all this?
Michelle Goldberg, who had an awkward argument with Bill Maher on his show last week, wrote a smart Op-Ed on all the second-chances that these media men are getting. "I’m not interested in seeing these #MeToo castoffs engage in Maoist struggle sessions to purge their patriarchal impulses,” she writes for the Times. “But maybe they’d find it easier to resurrect their careers if it seemed like they’d reflected on why women are so furious in the first place, and perhaps even offered ideas to make things better. What ideas? I don’t know, but they’re the ones who are supposed to be irreplaceably creative, and they’ve got time on their hands." Well said.
Out of the twenty-one Marvel superhero films, Captain Marvel is the first one solely about a woman, and already the 13th most successful in the franchise with $760 MM at the box office. Movie review aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes, YouTube, and IMDb were besieged by trolls trying to sabotage its success. The film actually spurred several review platforms to alter their algorithms.
During the week of International Women’s Day, PWC released the Women in Work 2019 report. Some observations: Iceland is named the most feminist country, Sweden holds second place, and for the first time, New Zealand is number three most feminist country. Very disappointing are the United States, China, and India’s rankings.
Elizabeth Rowe, the principal flutist at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of the “big five,” settled her landmark equal-pay lawsuit against her employer for a disparity between her paycheck and that of a comparable musician—principal oboist John Ferrillo. “According to the BSO’s 2016 tax filings, Rowe made 75 percent of Ferrillo’s annual salary, which was $286,621 […]”
The Grammys were on mid-month, and women took center stage. The theme was the power of women and the LGBTQ community, as even former First Lady Michelle Obama showed up for her girls. There were, we cannot fail to note, some disagreements as to whether the Grammys were successful based on the arguments of race, gender, and recognition.
Kamala Harris recently became the fourth woman to announce her candidacy for President of the United States, and drew a rare compliment from the man she seeks to replace. When asked by The NY Times who would be his toughest opponent in 2020, Trump replied: "I would say, the best opening so far would be Kamala Harris. I would say, in terms of the opening act, I would say, would be her." And he is right.
Oby Ezekwesili has devoted much of her career to anti-corruption, a major issue in Nigeria, and was a 2018 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. At present, her mission is to return all the kidnapped Boko Haram schoolgirls back to their families, despite the uneasy fact that the world seems to have moved on from previous outrage.
The new year arrived at cyclonic speed with Lifetime’s Surviving R Kelly. With over 20 million viewers, the #MeToo movement has finally reached communities of color. The New York Times even ran an Op Ed, titled: “After the ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Documentary, #MeToo Has Finally Returned to Black Girls: Let’s keep it there.” Hard questions are being asked, once again, of urban icons.
2018 was a banner year in the struggle for the ever-elusive equality between the sexes. There are many reasons why that was the case, not the least of which was the boiling point of election day 2018 reached after years of recurrent misogynistic remarks by the President and pushback against the rise of misogynistic authoritarians across the globe. Here are the largest moments in the Year of the Woman.
Loujain al-Hathloul, a prominent Saudi activist, has been detained for over a 100 days alongside 9 other activists. Concerns for the safety of the detainees are rising, as the Kingdom recently sought death sentence for Israa al-Ghomgham, another woman activist, for mere incitement to protest and providing moral support to rioters.
As the year draws to a close, it is instructive to look back and reflect on the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of equality of the sexes, the classic textbook definition of feminism. Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed; Poland and Argentina had movements to liberalize abortion laws; women marched in places as far flung as South Africa, and Nadia Murad shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
Why are Americans so obsessed with what women politicians, like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, wear? Anna North at Vox looks at the historical sexist obsession with what women politicians wear – and what that says about us as a culture.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi was nominated on Wednesday as Speaker of the House Democrats. This was not a surprise, as she outlined the platform that Democrats used to win this year’s pink wave election. Rep. Pelosi is a second-time Speaker, and this will “most likely be the final act of the 78-year-old legislator’s long career as the most powerful woman in the history of American politics.” More feminist news spanning from India #MeToo to Tunisia’s Gender Equality bill.
“Women won this week,” Joy Reid joyfully declared on MSNBC on Sunday, in perhaps an understatement. Although that other “Year of the Woman,” 1992, was invoked often in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, the latter turned out to be a bigger feminist moment in American politics. Find out why.
Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, receives a $90 million payout and a hero's exit after it was discovered that sexual coercion claims against him were credible. “Google could have fired Mr. Rubin and paid him little to nothing on the way out,” says Times reporters.
“If, for some, feminism is about legal redress and due process, for others, it requires an extrajudicial set of interventions given the repeated limits and failures of the law to bring gender justice. For some others, it is ultimately the voices of middle class and metropolitan women, journalists, actors, and other professionals that constitute the ‘me’ in India’s #MeToo” writes Srila Roy.
Alongside Halloween making a hit at the box office with over $75 million in its first weekend outing with a woman lead character Jamie Lee Curtis (happy feminist moment), NGO Plan International published a report determining the most dangerous cities for women and young girls in terms of harassment, sexual abuse and violence, as well as their safety and vulnerability when using public transportation, and the top cities with effective policies.
Moira Donegan, creator of the Shitty Media Men list, launched a GoFundMe to offset the $1.5 million lawsuit. The Shitty Media Men List had for intention to collect sexual harassment and abuse allegations so women in Journalism and Publishing could warn one another about potential predators.
A year after #MeToo emerged, Jezebel interviewed Tarana Burke. “She started the movement […] in response to what she saw as a failure to speak—openly, candidly—to a 13-year-old girl who had come to her with her story of sexual abuse.” “Anita Hill was one individual who came forward and shocked the nation with some language and a description that had never been part of the consciousness of the country.”
With the majority of the upper chamber having voted in favor, Kavanaugh’s nomination is advancing to final on Saturday morning. Perhaps the biggest disappointment in contemporary women’s rights. Until recent years, Rachel Mitchell has been firmly sentencing sexual assaulters such as Reverend Paul LeBrun for 111 years in prison, but a decline in the quality of her work has been noticed when it comes to prosecuting assaults reported by immigrants and women.
“In a worsening climate where human rights and women’s and girls’ rights are increasingly questioned and threatened, and in a world of shrinking democratic space, a feminist foreign policy is needed more than ever,” said Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström.
CBS sexual accusation drama including the downfall of Les Moonves has been described as the "most significant #MeToo moment yet," leaving a $90 MM severance on the table. Troubling still is Julie Chen Moonves pledging solidarity to her accused husband. Where is the line between backing a spouse and responsibility towards society at large?
No Name Kitchen a group providing food and kitchen resources to #refugees in Šid, #Serbia, Velika Kladuša, #Bosnia, and in #Rome, and through the #UNHCR has documented over 700 cases of violence against women by Croatian police officers.
There is some good news, some hard news, and some bad news for feminism this week. The latest study by University of Chicago political science professor Cathy Cohen’s Millennial Views on Feminism finds that a majority of women 18-34 do not identify themselves as feminist.
Earlier in the week, The New York Times revealed that even as Asia Argento was alleging sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein, she was secretly arranging a $380,000 hush money payment to a former co-star for statutory rape. The incident is alleged to have taken place in 2013 in a California hotel room with alcohol when he had just turned 17 and Argento was 37.
America seems to be waking up to the reality that all genders are potential victims of sexual abuse. This news has set off a gigantic reaction in the twitterverse. Right-wing hacks like Ben Shapiro and Christina Summers leapt at the chance to discredit #MeToo on the double standards argument/canard.
There was talk on Friday about Hillary Clinton running again, largely because of the indictments released and underscoring how much the Russians helped the Trump campaign win the Presidency. There is a sense of thwarted mission, of feminism, and of the desire for a rematch. The now-infamous audio clip of Trump asking the Russians was played ad nauseum on cable television. After all, Hillary won the popular vote by almost three million votes.