Hello! What do we think of the week? Boss Betty has got a lot of Bloomberg on the mind, we’re definitely spinning out a bit over the total lack of diversity on Warner Music Group’s board (particularly given the talent on their roster) and we’re feeling a lot of anxiety over the imminent verdict in the Harvey Weinstein trial. More on all that — and the other major female-focused business news of the week — below. As always, we welcome your thoughts on what you’d like to see more or less of in this newsletter — let us know.
Lizzo certainly can’t be feeling “good as hell” about this.
So the deal is that Warner Music Group (WMG) — which includes the prestige labels Atlantic Records, Warner Records and Elektra Records, among others — filed for an IPO in early February, revealing that it has just one woman on its 11-member board of directors and not a single person of color. None of the additional seven named executives in the filing are people of color, either. A spokesperson for WMG declined to comment.
For some context, women hold about 27 percent of boards seats at S&P 500 companies, a group WMG will join once it goes public. Now, 27 percent is certainly not good, but it’s a whole heckuva a lot better than the company’s 9 percent.
We also care because WMG certainly was not shy about namechecking its black female talent in its IPO filing — Lizzo and Cardi B, both of whom are outspoken about gender and racial inequality, are referenced six times — which kinda makes it seem like a bunch of white guys are benefiting from all the $$$ and goodwill these artists and their messages of equality generate while not walking the walk.
Oh, and beyond all that and the obvious moral case for diversity, there is a well-documented business case for it — research shows a significant link between a more diverse leadership team and positive financial outcomes.
Back to the drawing board? January’s numbers ≠ good.
One more thing on that board thing: Just 19 percent of board seats at companies that went public in January were held by women and just 25 percent of the named executives at those companies were female.
Why do we care? See above (and also check your moral and market compasses).
Weinstein jury appears deadlocked on most serious charges.
The short of it: Producer Harvey Weinstein is charged with raping former actor Jessica Mann and the sexual assault of his former production assistant Mimi Haley. Those charges each carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. Weinstein also faces life in prison for alleged predatory sexual assault, a charge that would require the jury to find him guilty of either or both of the first-degree felony counts (the alleged rape of Mann and sexual assault of Haley) as well as a prior rape or sex crime. In this case, the prior crime would be actor Annabella Sciorra’s allegation that Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s.
If you missed the twists and turns of the past 1.5 months or so of the trial, read our complete timeline here, starting at the bottom.
The update, as of today, Friday, is that the jury seems to be deadlocked on the two charges of predatory sexual assault, which could put the producer behind bars for life. The jury sent a note to Justice James Burke asking if they could be split on the top charges and unanimous on the three others (the charges of rape and a criminal sexual act). The judge told them to continue deliberations, which will resume Monday.
The Weinstein trial is seen as a bellwether in how the criminal justice system deals with powerful men being held to account in the era of #MeToo. And, it shows how future accusers of these men will be treated, too. It asks the jury and the public to consider the complicated reasons why victims might continue communications and relationships with the people they say have hurt them, to think about what consent means. It asks us all to consider where we go from here.
What’s next? Check back in with us for an update Monday.
“They signed the agreements and that’s what we’re going to live with.”
The short of it: During Wednesday’s Democratic Presidential Debate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren went after former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his allegedly dismal record of sexism. Over the years, several lawsuits have been filed against his company, Bloomberg LP, by employees alleging sexual harassment and discrimination against women. Some employees signed nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) preventing them from sharing their stories. Warren demanded that Bloomberg reveal how many NDAs had been signed; he declined.
She said/He said: Warren: “Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those non-disclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story?” Bloomberg: “We have very few nondisclosure agreements … none of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.” Us: Ohhhhh, okay, just a joke? Cool, cool.
Breaking update: Despite saying at the debate that the women had “signed the agreements and that’s what we’re going to live with,” news just broke that Bloomberg will release those who request it from NDAs. “Bloomberg LP has identified 3 NDAs signed over the past 30+ years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made. If any of them want to be released from their NDAs, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release,” the presidential candidate tweeted Friday afternoon.
- Following questions about L Brands CEO Leslie Wexner’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein, and reporting on a discriminatory culture at L Brands’ subsidiary Victoria’s Secret, Wexner announced he is stepping down.
- Check this out-> Susan Fowler: Why I Wrote the Uber Memo.
- Wells Fargo is finally ending forced arbitration for sexual harassment claims — it’s the first big U.S. bank to do so.
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