Rewind

The Week in Women: The fall of a feminist ‘ally,’ Merkel vs. Trump and a breastfeeding showdown

An example of one of the T-shirts for sale on the Feminist Apparel website.

Pop some crackers in your briefcase, because this week’s newsletter is all about taking care of business. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back against comments Trump made during a breakfast meeting at a NATO summit in Brussels. The president opined that Germany was “totally controlled” by Russia, since Germany struck a deal to purchase natural gas from Russia via a new pipeline that is expected to open next year. In response, Merkel told reporters, “I myself experienced a part of Germany that was controlled by the Soviet Union, and I am very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany.” By the way, Trump started throwing out barbs before the diplomats even had a chance to taste their orange juice. We can only imagine the vibe in the room by the time the continental breakfast was served.

Robin Wright broke her silence about sexual misconduct allegations against her former House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey, revealing that their relationship was purely work-based. During an interview with NBC’s Today show, Wright was asked if she could have possibly anticipated the claims against Spacey. “We were … co-workers, really,” Wright replied. “Kevin and I knew each other between ‘action’ and ‘cut,’ and in between setups where we would giggle. I didn’t know the man.”

Alan Martofel, founder of the online retailer Feminist Apparel, reportedly fired nine of the company’s 10 permanent staff members in retaliation for confronting him over his history of sexual misconduct. In a Tumblr post that has since gone viral, former employees explained that they had recently been made aware of a Facebook post published by Martofel in 2013, in which he wrote that soul-searching over his prior behavior — including touching women without their consent — inspired him to found the company. When employees confronted Martofel about the sexual abuse, he promised to step down — but ultimately opted to fire them all instead. Moving forward, Martofel, who touts himself as a feminist “ally,” may want to consider taking a lesson from his own T-shirts.

Some weird stuff went down at the U.N.-affiliated World Health Assembly when U.S. officials reportedly tried to torpedo a resolution designed to encourage breastfeeding. The resolution, introduced by Ecuador in May, called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” — which has long been the WHO’s policy. The U.S. reportedly threatened Ecuador with “punishing trade measures” if the resolution was not dropped. Members of the Trump administration said they opposed the resolution because they did not want to stigmatize mothers who are unable to breastfeed. The baby food industry also happens to be worth $70 billion, but we’re sure that’s a just coincidence #BigPharmula.

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