Nov 5, 2017

Sexual harassment allegations hit the restaurant business

Chef Todd English in Vegas in 2013. Photo: Evan Agostini / Invision for Chase Sapphire via AP

"Restaurants have long had a reputation for butt-grabbing antics, but it has rarely been talked about, and accusers' silence was often bought in the form of settlements," the N.Y. Post reports. "But now, with Hollywood heavyweight Weinstein being exposed ... the kitchen timer may finally be going off":

  • "A few weeks ago, ... Gabrielle Eubank claimed [in a sexual-harassment suit that] chef Todd English and members of his Plaza Hotel Food Hall staff sexually harassed her."
  • She alleged "that English — who has long been dogged by his womanizing behavior out of the kitchen — gave her unwanted hugs and repeatedly kissed her on the cheek."
  • "The restaurant world was rocked two weeks ago when 'Top Chef' and 'Food Network Challenge' judge John Besh stepped down from his New Orleans-based restaurant group after an eight-month investigation by the Times-Picayune newspaper uncovered a culture where 'vulgar and offensive comments, aggressive unwelcome touching and sexual advances were condoned."
  • "And here in New York City, plenty of ugliness is boiling over, even beyond English's kitchen."

P.S. Worthy of your time ... Elisabeth Donnelly, a writer and editor in New York, wrote a very interesting and detailed piece for BuzzFeed arguing that Matt Damon's slow reaction on the Weinstein revelations was the latest evidence that one of the highest-grossing stars of all time hasn't adapted to the social-media age:

  • "Damon's optics are faulty and ham-fisted. ... His struggles in the spotlight for the past couple of years are emblematic of how the self-styled good-guy Hollywood liberal has not caught up to the world we live in today."
  • "He's been persistently oblivious regarding the needs and voices of marginalized Hollywood, who can now call him out through the power of a public platform."
  • "It's easy to make mistakes on the internet — in fact, messing up one day doesn't necessarily make you a villain. It is possible to apologize. It is possible to take action. It's possible to use power in order to give other people opportunities."
  • "At a crucial moment in Hollywood, Damon has the opportunity to use his power to shift the balance for people whose experiences he's largely overlooked and call for meaningful structural changes.

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Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

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Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post at the end of the month, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

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