Making Light of Jon Favreau’s Actions

Offender: Eli Saslow, “The Obama Speechwriter, Helping to Make History”

Media Outlet: Ran on the front page of The Washington Post (12/18/08)VAW 2008 Hall of Shame

The Offense: This 2,000+ word profile on Barack Obama’s head speechwriter, Jon Favreau, made only brief mention of a photo that had recently surfaced of him at a party, posed with a cardboard cut-out of Hillary Clinton. Writer Saslow does not convey the fact that Favreau was posed as if groping Clinton’s breast, and that another man was on the other side of the cut-out pretending to pour a beer down her throat.

NOW’s Analysis: The article made light of Favreau’s actions, calling the photo “silly” and saying he was “posed awkwardly.” It failed to address Favreau’s disregard for the next Secretary of State, the suggestion of sexual violence implicit in the men’s poses, and the insult it represented to all women. The piece noted that Favreau would be responsible for hiring and managing staff in his new role, but failed to ask what his sexist conduct might say about his attitude toward women employees and how knowledge of the photo might affect their comfort in reporting to Favreau.

Take Action: Tell Michael Abramowitz, Washington Post National Editor, what you think about Saslow’s article.

Lisa Bennett, NOW Communications Director


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