Keeping Score: Cracking Down on QAnon; Savannah Guthrie Holds Trump Accountable

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

Lest We Forget 

+ “We are writers, editors, journalists agents, and professionals in multiple forms of publishing. We believe in the power of words. We want to do our part to help shape the curve of history toward justice and fairness. To that end, we say: non-binary people are non-binary, trans women are women, trans men are men, trans rights are human rights. Your pronouns matter. You matter. You are loved.”

1,200 figures including Roxane Gay and Margaret Atwood in an open letter, following a similar one on behalf of British writers in response to J.K. Rowling’s transphobic comments.

Roxane Gay, Margaret Atwood. (Mark Hill Photography, Berkeley Center for New Media / Flickr)

+ “Disappointed by the sexist remarks made on air by my colleague… NEVER tell a woman (professional or otherwise) that she cannot speak with authority. NEVER tell us we aren’t educated enough, experts enough, or good enough. We have every bit as much authority to speak.”

Dr. Nili Kaplan-Mirth following a CBC segment in which a male physician belittled Kaplan-Mirth’s contributions as “just shouting.”

+ “These racist institutions and systems have done an amazing job at keeping us very fearful of speaking up, asking for equality, and asking for accountability, because they have shown us time and time again that we are disposable. They will discredit and malign you, and you will never work again.… Being blackballed in this industry is very real.”

—Actress and former “America’s Got Talent” judge Gabrielle Union has filed a complaint in June regarding NBC’s lack of workplace inclusivity.

+ “It’s been four years since I first protested during ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ At the time, my protest was tethered to my understanding that something was not right. I saw the bodies of Black people left dead in the streets. … I saw little to no accountability for police officers who had murdered them. It is not a matter of bad apples spoiling the bunch but interlocking systems that are rotten to their core. And systemic problems demand systemic solutions.”

—Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a published essay calling for the abolition of current prison and police systems.

+ “The way he kisses dictators’ butts. I mean, the way he ignores the Uyghurs, our literal concentration camps in Xinjiang. Right now, he hasn’t lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong-Kongers… The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor. The ways I criticize President Obama for that kind of spending; I’ve criticized President Trump for as well. He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He’s flirted with white supremacists.”

—Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, on a telephone townhall recording obtained by the Washington Examiner.

+ “Anyone who follows the lead of Congressman John Lewis, the late civil rights giant, and makes ‘good trouble, necessary trouble,’ runs the risk of being attacked by those comfortable with the status quo … But you know what? I’m not afraid of criticism. We live in a country where we have the freedom to criticize elected officials. And it’s ridiculous that some people think the simple phrase ‘Protect Black women’ is controversial. We deserve to be protected as human beings. And we are entitled to our anger about a laundry list of mistreatment and neglect that we suffer.”

—Rapper Megan Thee Stallion in an op-ed for The New York Times.

+ “I think it’s a testament and it’s a representation of the fact that there are many movements that have been started by Black women. The Black Lives Matter movement was also started by Black women. … It’s an opportunity to shine a light. We are absolutely centering Black women and girls, people of color, queer, trans, disabled folks in our work because we know that solving and interrupting the issue of sexual violence in those communities means ending sexual violence everywhere.”

—Dani Ayers, the CEO of the #MeToo organization. The movement recently marked its third anniversary with a renewed focus on women in marginalized communities.

+ “When politicians use faith as an excuse to pass and uphold laws that seize control of people’s bodies but not guarantee them healthcare, feed the poor, shelter the homeless, or welcome the stranger, you have to wonder if it’s really about faith at all.”

Tweeted Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

+ “I would be afraid to ask her about the presence of gravity on earth. She may decline to answer because it could come up in a case.”

— Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.


+ The World Trade Organization is down to two candidates for its new director general, and both are women. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala or Yoo Myung-hee would be the first woman to take on the position.

+ Out of the 1,006 openly LGBTQ+ candidates who ran during the 2020 election cycle, 574 have made it to the November ballot—33 percent more than in 2018.

+ California governor Gavin Newsom appointed the first openly gay California Supreme Court justice, Martin Jenkins.

+ After threatening protestors with weapons on their private street in St. Louis, Mark and Patricia McCloskey were indicted for a felony charge of unlawful weapon use. Missouri governor Mike Parson committed to pardoning the couple if convicted.

+ As QAnon continues to fester on Facebook—despite the company being “vigilant in enforcing our policy and studying its impact on the platform”—Facebook has announced that it will promptly remove any publicly identifying QAnon page or group, including those on Instagram. YouTube followed suit, adding restrictions and promising to double down on enforcement.

+ For the first time in history, two female scientists, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The award recognizes their 2012 development of the Crispr tool, which is used to edit DNA.

+ Poet Louise Gluck also became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for literature in over a quarter-century. 

+ The FBI charged 13 men in Michigan with conspiring to kidnap Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer and instigating a civil war that would lead to “societal collapse.”

+ Claire Rezba, an anesthesiologist in Richmond, has taken to memorializing fellow health care workers who have died from COVID-19 via Twitter. The account, titled “US HCWs Lost to Covid19” has highlighted 1,100 workers to date.

(@CTZebra / Twitter)

+ Facebook promises to broaden restrictions as the election approaches, committing to take down any posts prompting militaristic guarding of polling locations. It will also ban political ads once the polls close on Nov. 3 to avoid misinformation regarding the election results.

+ Rapper Tory Lanez was charged with two felonies for shooting Megan Thee Stallion in July.

+ Princeton University named a college after a Black woman for the first time in its history. Hobson College, named for prominent businesswoman Mellody Hobson, will replace Wilson College in an effort to condemn Woodrow Wilson’s racist views. 

+ South Carolina senate candidate Jaime Harrison (D) has reached record donations of $57 million in the third quarter of 2020, raising more in one quarter than any other Senate campaign in history. Harrison hopes to replace incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s biggest proponents in the Senate. 

+ Glamour announced its 2020 women of the year, highlighting frontline healthcare workers from Elmhurst Hospital, in addition to Dolores Huerta, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, actress Regina King, and activist Sherrilyn Ifill. Glamour chose to add an acknowledgment of every woman working through the pandemic, “just for getting through it, tears, tantrums, and all.”

+ As Congress has failed to renew the federal support measures passed in spring, 8 million more Americans have been pushed into poverty since May.

+ A Chesapeake, Virginia gynecologist faces trial, one year after being arrested for pushing unnecessary procedures on patients, including hysterectomies. Authorities say the doctor, Javaid Perwaiz, conducted the additional surgeries “to support his lavish lifestyle.”’

+ Hawaii and California enacted laws expanding criminal domestic violence criteria to include coercive control, which is described as “nonphysical abuse such as stalking, harassment, gaslighting, financial abuse, intimidation and more.”

+ A Trendi magazine photoshoot of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin—the world’s youngest prime minister—fueled (predominantly male) outrage over the decision to pose in a blazer with no shirt underneath. Finnish men and women have taken to social media to support Marin, using the hashtag #imwithsanna.

+ Princeton University will be paying nearly $1 million in backpay to female professors. This follows a federal investigation between 2012 and 2014 showing that 106 female, full-time professors were paid less than their colleagues.

+ Protestors organized by the Women’s March rallied—in 440 marches across all 50 states last weekend—as a show of force before the Nov. 3. election.

+ Savannah Guthrie is widely receiving praise for how she maneuvered President Trump’s town hall.

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How We’re Doing

+ The majority of Americans support maintaining the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with 56 percent saying they think it should be “improved and strengthened,” and 79 percent supporting coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

+ Fewer Americans plan to vote by mail as confidence in the USPS drops, especially among voters of color. Only 35 percent still plan to vote by mail, which could cause large crowds at polling locations on Election Day.

+ Women journalists face increasing risk of violence and threats:

+ Three proposals by this year’s Democratic ticket could lead to a historic decrease in poverty, according to the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia. Universalizing housing vouchers, child allowances and the LIFT Act would help 20.2 million people out of poverty. 

+ The National Employment Law Project analyzed public data to find that most COVID-19-related employee complaints had been discarded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), with only 348 out of 1,744 being further investigated. Just 35 complaints were resolved between March and August.

+ Polling by the Center for American Progress shows that Gen Z and Millennial voters are committed to improving child care access in the wake of the pandemic. Young Black voters show the highest rate of support for a coronavirus relief package boosting child care.

+ A diversity bill signed by former California governor Jerry Brown in 2018 has led women to fill 670 seats on corporate boards. Only 3 percent of public company boards are all-male, compared to 30 percent just two years ago.

+ About 18 percent of video games have female protagonists. This is almost double the 2014 record of 9 percent.

About and

Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a junior at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.
Sarah Montgomery is a senior at USC. She is passionate about using writing as a tool for social change. Her Starbucks beverage of choice is the iced skinny vanilla latte—personal cup and reusable straw, of course.