clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Vox Sentences: Australia’s weird birther scandal keeps growing

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Ella Nilsen. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

The list of powerful men accused of sexual harassment continues to grow; Spain's constitutional crisis comes to a boiling point; Australia's politicians hit a dual citizenship snag.

The chorus of women speaking up about sexual harassment is getting louder

Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • A few weeks ago, Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and assault; the list of his accusers has since grown to more than 50. [USA Today / Sara Moniuszko]
  • Likewise, the number of prominent men who are being accused of sexual misconduct including harassment and assault is growing by the day. There are at least 10 men in the movies, journalism, music, and politics who have been accused of misconduct in the past few weeks. [CNN / Doug Criss]
  • Most recently, political journalist Mark Halperin was accused of sexual harassment by six women who worked with him at ABC News in the early 2000s. The allegations include that Halperin groped and kissed women and propositioned them for sex. (He hasn’t denied the accounts and released a statement admitting past “inappropriate” behavior.) [CNN / Oliver Darcy]
  • One effect of this is just that far more women are talking more openly about their experiences with assault and harassment, both on social media and in personal essays. [New Yorker / Jia Tolentino]
  • For instance, this week, former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly did a segment on her new NBC show revealing she had complained about harassment from Bill O’Reilly (another Fox anchor who was terminated from the company this year after a mountain of harassment claims). In a broadcast segment, Kelly spoke about the fear and shaming that many women who experience harassment face if they try to report the incidents. [NBC Today show via Twitter]
  • It’s also getting powerful institutions to examine their sexual harassment policies, including Congress. Women lawmakers say the policies in the Capitol are severely outdated and give victims little to no recourse. [Politico / Rachael Bade and Elana Schor]
  • All of these voices matter. As Vox’s Ezra Klein and Anna North write, how the people and institutions surrounding powerful men react to these types of allegations have huge consequences for whether the men remain protected. [Vox / Ezra Klein and Anna North]

Catalonia’s crisis has reached a breaking point

David Ramos/Getty Images
  • The ongoing political crisis in Catalonia came to a head today, as Catalan leaders in Barcelona formally declared independence. Meanwhile, in Madrid, the Spanish government voted to dissolve Catalonia’s government and take control of the region. [Vox / Sarah Wildman]
  • On top of firing Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dissolved Catalonia’s parliament and called for snap elections to choose new politicians. [CNN / Laura Smith-Spark and Claudia Rebaza]
  • The mood in Barcelona was mixed as the news hit. Thousands took to the streets to celebrate independence, while others said they were afraid of the repercussions from the Spanish government or upset by the independence declaration. [The Guardian / Emma Graham-Harrison]
  • The referendum has been controversial among voters from the beginning; fewer than half of Catalonia’s residents voted in it, but the regional government said that of those who did vote, 90 percent wanted to secede. [BBC]
  • But today marked an important turning point, as the Catalan government has been hesitant to declare full independence for the past few weeks, instead saying it wants to negotiate with Rajoy (though he’s made it clear he’s not interested in that option). [NPR / Camila Domonoske and Scott Neuman]
  • The turmoil is already having a significant economic impact on the region, which is one of Spain’s wealthiest. Some banks and energy companies have already moved their headquarters to Madrid, for fear that they could be expelled from the European Union or another negative result. [Vox / Sarah Wildman]
  • This is the first time Spain has taken over one of its autonomous regions since 1978, the year it became a democracy. Therefore, the country is facing its worst constitutional crisis in decades. [NYT / Raphael Minder and Patrick Kingsley]

The birther saga of a man named Barnaby

Stefan Postles/Getty Images
  • Australia’s conservative government is hanging by a thread right now, after the country’s high court ruled that five prominent politicians, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, had to step down. [Washington Post / Rick Noack]
  • The departing politicians weren’t being chastised for a political scandal, but rather because they all have dual citizenship with other countries including New Zealand, the UK, and Canada. That technically makes them ineligible for office under Australian law. [The Associated Press]
  • That is making life very difficult for conservative Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whose ruling coalition is scrambling to get enough votes to stay in power. [Australian Broadcasting Corporation / Louise Yaxley]
  • For his part, Joyce said he was unaware of his New Zealand citizenship and has renounced it in order to run again in a by-election, to try to hang on to his seat. [NYT / Isabella Kwai]
  • Australia is an immigrant nation, with about a fourth of its citizens born abroad. Some of the politicians who must step down weren’t even born abroad; they just had parents who were. [BBC / Trevor Marshallsea]
  • The clause was meant to make sure Australian politicians weren’t being motivated by the interests of other countries over Australia's. But some are questioning whether the decades-old rule still makes sense, given the turmoil it’s caused. [BBC / Trevor Marshallsea]


  • Bad news, pumpkin pie lovers: Your canned filling is probably just squash masquerading as pumpkin (unless you’re like my mom and actually boil down a real pumpkin). [Marketplace / Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar]
  • A married couple is running for US Senate in Montana in 2018 against Sen. Jon Tester, the wife as a Democrat and the husband as a Republican. But there’s a lot about their backgrounds that doesn’t add up. [Billings Gazette / Tom Lutey]
  • After a brief rise from the dead, it turns out that zombie MySpace was just briefly taken over by advertising fraudsters. It is now back to being dead. [BuzzFeed / Craig Silverman]
  • A 90-year-old Pennsylvania grandmother got her first tattoo at age 84, and there’s no going back. [Daily Collegian / Allison Moody]
  • One California scientist has a theory behind the strange case of thousands of sharks and stingrays found washed up on the state’s beaches. He thinks their deaths are due to a tiny killer: a microbial pathogen that’s attacking their brains. [National Geographic / Eric Simons]


Watch this: 9 facts about violence against women everyone should know

Violence against women is still all too common. Here are some of the staggering statistics. [YouTube / Joe Posner, Valerie Lapinski, and Kimberly Mas]

Read more

What these male Trump voters think about abortion rights might surprise you

Stranger Things 2 is bigger, weirder, and — eventually — better than season 1

Don’t call this man the “next Obama”

The key to tackling climate change: electrify everything

The newest developments in the Trump-Russia scandal, explained

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.