Remember New Coke? It’s Coming Back, and You Can Blame Netflix

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New Coke, the soft drink that drew a nationwide backlash in 1985, is back. And the credit, or blame, for the return of Coca-Cola’s greatest folly goes to Netflix.

A limited supply of the vintage beverage will be available starting on Thursday as part of a robust promotional campaign related to the coming season of “Stranger Things,” the supernatural thriller set in the 1980s.

Netflix, which has 149 million paid subscribers worldwide, is starting to ramp up its corporate partnerships and merchandising deals. The strategy gives the streaming service a way to market its wares and generate a new revenue stream that doesn’t involve interrupting its shows with commercials. Unlike its competitor Hulu, Netflix is commercial free, although it has included product placement — sometimes paid, sometimes not — on its series and films.

The revival of New Coke comes as part of a large-scale marketing effort of the kind usually associated with summertime blockbusters. Netflix said it had teamed up with about 75 companies, including Baskin-Robbins, Levi’s and H&M Group, to draw attention to “Stranger Things.”

Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of the show, said the New Coke tie-in came about naturally, given that the coming season, available July 4, takes place in summer 1985. That was when the Coca-Cola Company was fending off the unexpected negative reaction to the sweeter, smoother version of its flagship beverage, a reaction that included boycotts, letter-writing campaigns and thousands of phone calls to its Atlanta headquarters.

“New Coke was always going to play a role this season,” the Duffer Brothers, as they are listed in the credits, said in a joint email interview. “It was one of the first ideas in our Season 3 brainstorm. It was the summer of ’85, and when you talk about pop culture moments, New Coke was a really big deal. It would have been more bizarre to not include it.”

The Duffers, 35-year-old twins, said Netflix first proposed the New Coke tie-in, but they may have thought it up themselves, however inadvertently. Barry Smyth, Netflix’s head of partnership marketing, said the idea first came up during a meeting in 2017 between the show’s creators and Netflix executives.

“We asked the question, ‘What would really blow it out of the water for this campaign?’” Mr. Smyth recalled. “They jokingly said, ‘Bring back New Coke.’ They thought it was a joke. We took it as a brief.”

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In summer 1985, New Coke inspired an unexpected backlash that included letter-writing campaigns and thousands of phone calls to Coca-Cola headquarters.CreditTodd Gipstein/Corbis, via Getty Images

Although Coca-Cola executives have acknowledged that New Coke was a debacle, they said yes to the proposal. The company had to dig up the recipe from its archives and said it would make 500,000 cans of New Coke available on its website and in some vending machines.

The association with an oddity of ’80s consumer culture is on-brand for a show known for stirring nostalgia among viewers who grew up in the Reagan years. Even its visual language owes a debt to Steven Spielberg’s “E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and other ’80s films.

The story and mood of the series also bears the influence of Stephen King — who has defended the practice of including brand names in his fiction — and the show’s title sequence has a look inspired by the King paperbacks that were all but inescapable during the decade.

Many props on “Stranger Things” recall the era, too. One of its young protagonists carries a Trapper Keeper notebook, a onetime status symbol of school hallways; another character keeps a He-Man action figure, a popular ’80s toy, in his room. The throwback mood has been heightened by the soundtrack’s inclusions of Toto’s “Africa” and the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”

In another deal meant to play up the show’s retro appeal, H&M will offer a line of ’80s-style T-shirts, swimsuits, visors and flip-flops. Some are branded with the “Stranger Things” logo; others replicate clothing worn by the show’s characters. The collection will be accompanied by an ad campaign featuring Dacre Montgomery, who plays the villainous Billy Hargrove on the show.

The Baskin-Robbins tie-in is likely to introduce new flavors that, among other things, reference Scoops Ahoy, the ice cream parlor featured on the show. “I’ve been at Baskin for 15 years, and this is by far the biggest partnership we’ve ever done,” said Dave Nagel, the company’s senior director for consumer engagement.

The return of New Coke is perhaps the most surprising and nostalgia-inducing element of the campaign. The almost forgotten artifact belonged to a predigital time of fewer entertainment options, with network TV still dominant, and fewer soda varieties, too.

Nowadays Coca-Cola has many spinoffs, including obscurities like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Vanilla and Diet Coke Blueberry Acai. In 1985, there was Cherry Coke, introduced that year to a positive reaction, and Diet Coke. And from late April into July, New Coke was the only drink to go under the name Coca-Cola or Coke. (The official name was Coca-Cola or Coke, and the word “new” was featured on cans.)

The backlash to the sweeter concoction was as intense as it was unexpected. “It’s a taste tragedy,” a Florida man named Robert Hester told The New York Times, summing up the mood of cola purists of the day. In Beverly Hills, Calif., a wine shop sold the former version of Coca-Cola at triple the usual price.

Matt Duffer, left, and his twin brother, Ross, the creators of “Stranger Things.” They said the New Coke tie-in came about naturally, given when the show’s coming season takes place.CreditAlberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

With an about-face announcement on July 11, the company brought back the original under the name Coca-Cola Classic, and the two types existed side by side for the remainder of the decade. After taking on the name Coke II, the reformulated drink lasted until 2002, when it was quietly pulled from shelves. The original formula had won out, but the “Classic” tag didn’t fall away from cans and bottles until 2009.

The Duffers featured brand-name products in the first two seasons of “Stranger Things,” with Kellogg’s Eggo waffles and Kentucky Fried Chicken having prominent roles. Netflix said the two companies did not pay anything to appear on the program.

For the show’s creators, the association with brand-name products helps give “Stranger Things” the feel of their favorite ’80s movies.

“When we were kids, we were obsessed with those self-lacing Nikes in ‘Back to the Future Part II,’ and, of course, we loved that Elliott baited E. T. with Reese’s Pieces!” the Duffers said. “When we were kids, that simply made Elliott more relatable, more ordinary, more like us.”

With Coca-Cola and Netflix poised to benefit from the deal they have struck, representatives of both companies said no money was changing hands. Netflix added that many of its other brand partnerships, including with Baskin-Robbins, would not generate revenue, although the streaming service will get a cut of “Stranger Things”-branded clothing and merchandise.

Any money the company brings in from the arrangements isn’t as important as “fueling the fandom,” said Christie Fleischer, Netflix’s vice president for consumer products.

“I do believe the marketing value and the fan engagement will far outweigh what the revenue will look like,” she added.

Relationships with outside companies seem likely to become a trend for Netflix. The producer Shonda Rhimes, who has a nine-figure, multiyear contract with Netflix, expressed an interest in “product integration” during an interview with The New York Times last year.

The Duffers said none of the marketing deals meant to hype their show would add to their bank accounts. “We’re not getting a revenue cut from any of this,” they said. “The hope is that it just gets the show more exposure. There are countries and regions where we’re still trying to break though, and we think this new marketing strategy will make a big difference.”

The arrangement did lead to a paid side gig: The Duffers directed a Coke commercial to be shown in movie theaters starting this weekend. And they pledged that their show would stay true to the brand, saying, “We did tell our production designer to make sure we never saw any Pepsi!”

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Streetwear Is Still Hot. Influencers, a Survey Says, Are Not.

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Zani Bici at the opening of the Supreme store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2017. A new report seeks to explain the success of streetwear.CreditRebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

A new survey of a large number of streetwear enthusiasts suggests that the influence of influencers has been wildly overstated. Only a third of those surveyed said social media influencers were the most credible figures in streetwear. They were more likely to be impressed by musicians and “industry insiders.”

Still, in a second survey of people who work in the streetwear industry, a majority of the respondents said that they spent between a quarter and three-quarters of their marketing budget “on influencers.”

All this information comes from the first Streetwear Impact Report, to be released Tuesday. Published by Hypebeast, the prominent streetwear and culture publication, the report comes from survey responses submitted by 40,960 people and is intended to provide insight and analysis about how and why people buy streetwear. It also highlights the way that a collection of fashion subcultures were lassoed together and pulled toward the mainstream.

Angelo Baque, the former brand director of Supreme, probably the biggest streetwear brand of the moment, said that the term “streetwear” had barely existed before 2010, when brands long favored by rappers, surfers, graffiti artists and skateboarders became interesting to the fashion industry.

“Prior to that it was urban-wear, which was just a nice way of saying these were clothes that blacks and Puerto Ricans wear,” Mr. Baque said.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a certain kind of independent clothing brand began to proliferate. On the West Coast, there were surf and skate brands like Stüssy and Freshjive, and hip-hop brands like X-Large and Cross Colours. On the East Coast there were Triple Five Soul, Ecko Unlimited and Supreme, among others.

The timing of the Hypebeast report made sense to Mr. Baque. Streetwear, he said, had reached the 10th inning. As social media created more awareness, and as internet-incubated rap groups like Odd Future came around, streetwear started to become a mainstream pursuit, evolving into the familiar cycle of lines, drops and resales.

“There’s money to be made, and it’s not a secret anymore,” he said. “That’s why, for me, I think about that moment when Odd Future started blowing up and it all started blowing up.”

“In the early ’90s, we were all rooted in some sort of subculture,” said Erik Brunetti, the designer behind the label FUCT. “For example, skateboarding or graffiti or punk rock. Versus brands today, they’re not really rooted in any sort of subculture. They just sort of appeared out of nowhere.”

Like comic books or underground music, a 1990s streetwear habit required devotion. DJ Ross One, a leading collector of rap T-shirts, said that traveling to New York had been like making a pilgrimage, in which the holy sites were Triple Five Soul, Canal Street Jeans and Phat Farm.

“The thought of reselling, it would have been devastating to me to lose even one of those shirts because it was so hard to get and I wanted it so badly,” he said. “Also, nobody would have bought it.”

The internet, Ross One said, is “the beginning and end of any conversation about things that used to be sacred that are now not. There’s no more underground culture. It’s really hard today for a kid to have something that’s all their own.”

The report was a joint effort by Hypebeast and the waviest auditing firm around, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Dr. Axel Nitschke, an expert on fashion, sports and luxury at Strategy&, PwC’s in-house consulting agency, said that he was interested in the lessons streetwear had to teach.

“Streetwear managed to create desirability for the product, something that the bulk of the fashion industry has increasing challenges in doing,” said Mr. Nitschke, who co-authored the report with Enrique Menendez, Hypebeast’s senior features editor. “Those brands, sneaker brands, have tremendous credibility within the peer group, and that comes out of the community.”

Has that community of creators and customers, many of them people of color, been left behind by the larger industry’s interest? The report defines streetwear as “fashionable casual clothes” — the suggestion being that you know when you see it — and makes room for “luxury streetwear brands,” including Off-White, AMBUSH and Vetements.

“There is definitely a whole appropriation conversation, and there’s a thousand more conversations as well to be had on that point,” Mr. Menendez said. “As a brand and as a company the answer is not to inauthentically try to tap into this movement. In my perspective, the best thing that brands can do is put people in positions of power who came from those communities.”

Forty percent of North American and European respondents said that “community” had been key to their interest in streetwear; only 12 percent of Asian respondents said the same.

(But 41 percent of Chineses and Japanese respondents said that wearing streetwear was a political act, something that only 11 percent of North American and Europeans reported.)

“The safeness of it today goes against what it originally stood for,” Mr. Brunetti said. “It was very similar to punk or early hip-hop. It was a rebellion and now it’s become the opposite of rebellion. It’s become corporate, sanitized and pasteurized.”

Mr. Menendez insisted that corporate buy-in did not in itself hurt a brand’s authenticity. As an example, he pointed toward Supreme. In 2017, Supreme accepted the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, as an investor.

“Supreme is doing well,” Mr. Menendez said. “They haven’t lost any hype.”

Mr. Baque and Ross One agreed that Supreme continued to make great clothing. But each expressed a similar sentiment about the brand’s clientele.

“You can’t be mad at Supreme. I still look at their clothes and think, ‘Wow, this is really cool,’” Ross One said. “The thing that’s not cool is the kids that are wearing it.”


About the survey

Respondents in the survey self-selected. About 80 percent were men and about 18 percent women. 59 percent of respondents were from Asia, 20 percent were from Europe and 14 percent were from North America. The survey was live for four weeks.

More than 60 percent of respondents were between the ages of 16 and 25, which helps explain why more than 70 percent of respondents said they made $40,000 or less a year. Still, 54 percent said that they spent between $100 and $500 on streetwear each month. 18 percent said they spent more than $500 monthly.


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DealBook Briefing: What a Digital Iron Curtain Could Mean for Tech

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Good Tuesday. (Want this by email? Sign up here.)

A grace period in corporate America’s freeze-out of Huawei might not help the tech company very much.

• Last week, the Commerce Department said that U.S. companies would need special permission to sell some products to Huawei and other Chinese companies.

• Yesterday, companies including Google, Qualcomm and Broadcom were reported to have frozen their supply of components and software to the Chinese technology giant.

• Late yesterday, the Commerce Department said it would grant 90-day permissions for transactions needed to support handsets and equipment Huawei had already sold.

The reprieve “doesn’t mean much,” Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founder, said. He added that the company could “not easily” exclude U.S. chips from its devices, “but if there is a supply shortage, we have a backup.” He also said: “The current practice of American politicians underestimates our strength.”

What happens next?

• The exceptions suggest the move has “always been for leverage in the trade talks,” Derek Scissors, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told the WSJ. If he’s right, it could be over as soon as it’s started.

• But the Trump administration has spoken repeatedly about blunting China’s tech development, citing issues like intellectual property theft and cyberespionage. And China has already threatened to retaliate. So don’t rule out a long and bitter fight.

Here’s one worst-case scenario:

• In a tech cold war, China would create “a digital Iron Curtain” that would keep out much of the world, Li Yuan of the NYT writes. “The United States and many other countries, goes this thinking, will in turn block Chinese technology.”

• That could hurt both sides, Tim Culpan of Bloomberg Opinion argues.

• It could also slow down development and deployment of new technologies like 5G wireless networks, which benefit from global economies of scale.

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, said yesterday that he would back T-Mobile’s $26 billion takeover of Sprint. But he isn’t the only official who has to sign off.

Mr. Pai’s support followed several promises from T-Mobile: to expand its wireless broadband to cover rural areas, to build a big national 5G network and to sell its Boost Mobile prepaid wireless service.

A vote by the full F.C.C. is expected soon, probably along party lines. Republicans, including Mr. Pai, have a majority on the commission.

That means T-Mobile and Sprint cleared a major hurdle in creating a wireless carrier with more than 125 million customers. It would immediately become a strong competitor to AT&T, which has 148 million, and Verizon, which has 118 million.

But Justice Department staffers are less convinced. They reportedly want to block the deal. Citing an unnamed source, David McLaughlin of Bloomberg writes, “The remedies proposed by the wireless carriers earlier Monday don’t go far enough to resolve the department’s concerns that the deal risks harming competition.”

T-Mobile and Sprint are trying to assuage those concerns. The department’s decision rests with Makan Delrahim, the antitrust chief — and the F.C.C. and Justice Department have never publicly disagreed about a merger.

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Jay PowellCreditPatrick Semansky/Associated Press

The Federal Reserve chairman said in a speech yesterday that growing business debt could hurt the U.S. economy — but that, for now, the financial system can handle it.

Nonfinancial corporate debt has hit $6.2 trillion, Jeff Cox of CNBC writes. The issuance of leveraged loans — which are made to low-rated, highly indebted companies — has swelled to $1.4 trillion, while lending standards have loosened over time, Sam Fleming of the FT notes.

Mr. Powell sees “reason to pause and reflect” for both businesses and investors, according to Nick Timiraos and Andrew Ackerman of the WSJ. His main concern: In an economic downturn, debt-burdened companies would struggle.

He’s not the only one. Janet Yellen, the former Fed chair, and officials at the Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund have raised similar concerns.

But Mr. Powell says it’s not a crisis yet. “Parallels to the mortgage boom that led to the global financial crisis are not fully convincing,” he said.

More: The Fed still isn’t sure how to deal with persistently low inflation.

A federal judge ruled yesterday that President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over his financial records to Congress. But the fight is far from over, Charlie Savage of the NYT reports.

This was an early test of Mr. Trump’s vow to stonewall “all” subpoenas by House Democrats. The president’s legal team has argued that the lawmakers’ demand was harassment with no legitimate legislative purpose.

The judge disagreed. Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia said that Democrats’ justification for the subpoenas — to examine whether foreigners are in a position to use business dealings with the president to exert influence over American policymaking — was valid.

But the Trump team will keep fighting Democratic lawmakers. In addition to appealing Judge Mehta’s decision, Mr. Trump hopes to prevent the former White House counsel, Don McGahn, from testifying before Congress. (Mr. McGahn will not appear today, risking being held in contempt of Congress.)

Five years ago, Europe’s central banks took the big step of using negative interest rates to revive their economies. But that has become a crutch, Brian Blackstone of the WSJ writes.

• Negative rates flip lending on its head: Commercial banks pay to keep their money in central banks, and some customers pay to deposit cash, which should incentivize borrowing and spending and discourage saving. Over time, rates are supposed to go positive again.

• But that hasn’t happened in Europe. “Central banks haven’t been able to wean their economies off them,” Mr. Blackstone writes. “No major bank that introduced negative rates during Europe’s debt crisis has turned main policy rates positive again.”

• Some banks report that major depositors want to park physical cash in vaults. That avoids the negative rates on electronic deposits — “but also does no good to the economy.”

• “The negative-rate policy’s ineffectualness is a sign of just how weak Europe’s economic engines are, and how vulnerable. The policy threatens pensions, creates the risk of real-estate bubbles and doesn’t fully quell the specter of deflation.”

• And it means that central banks will have “little ammunition to cushion the next downturn with the conventional tool of interest-rate reductions.”

A BP natural gas rig in Lufkin, Tex.CreditJonathan Bachman/Reuters

Helge Lund, the chairman of BP, outlined in an FT op-ed today why it is in the interest of the company’s shareholders for the oil giant to respond to climate change:

“Running a large multinational company in such an unstable environment would become increasingly difficult: How could we plan and develop strategies for the future knowing at some point the world will have radically to change course, but not knowing when or how?”

Such messages deserve healthy skepticism, as fossil-fuel companies have long talked about climate change while doing little about it.

But BP’s message appears to be part of a bigger shift in the way corporations think about the climate, as Amy Harder of Axios recently pointed out:

• “Companies across virtually all sectors of the economy, including big oil producers, are beginning to lobby Washington, D.C., to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions.”

• And that’s against the backdrop of an administration “that may not welcome such a shift.”

Snap named Derek Anderson, its vice president of finance, as C.F.O. and Lara Sweet, its interim C.F.O., as its head of human resources.

Deutsche Bank has hired Gil Ahrens from Wells Fargo as its head of venture capital and emerging growth company coverage, and Tracy Mehr from Jefferies as a managing director in leveraged finance, covering software.

Y Combinator promoted Geoff Ralston, one of its partners, to president. Sam Altman will step down as chairman but will remain as an adviser.

NBC News hired Chris Berend from CNN as the head of its digital operations. Nick Ascheim, who previously ran the division, will take a new, as-yet unspecified role within NBCUniversal.

Deals

• Legg Mason will reappoint Nelson Peltz to its board to avoid a proxy fight. (WSJ)

• Goldman Sachs said that it’s in talks to buy B&B Hotels from the investment firm PAI Partners. (Reuters)

• Silicon Valley says Wall Street just doesn’t understand its long-term focus. The figures say otherwise. (CNBC)

• Slack wants its stock ticker symbol to be “WORK” instead of “SK.” (Business Insider)

• British Steel is reportedly on the brink of insolvency. (BBC)

Politics and policy

• The Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly planning to change how it calculates the health risks of air pollution, making it easier to drop climate change rules. (NYT)

• The fate of Philadelphia’s soda tax could hinge on local elections today. (NYT)

• Senator Kamala Harris of California proposed a way to close the gender pay gap: requiring companies to certify that men and women are paid equally. (NYT)

• President Trump’s demands to investigate political opponents has intensified debate about potential abuses of power. (NYT)

• Kris Kobach has 10 demands if he’s to be the White House immigration czar, including 24-hour access to a government plane and an assurance of becoming Homeland Security secretary by November. (NYT)

Trade

• One of the biggest backers of President Trump’s push to protect American Steel is Canadian. (NYT)

• Trade tensions between the U.S. and China put corporations in a tricky position: Toyota, for instance, only dared announce deals in China after it had unveiled investments in the U.S. (Reuters)

Tech

• Amazon’s shareholders will vote on whether to push the tech giant to examine the human rights and financial risks of facial recognition. (NYT)

• Here’s an in-depth look at how much data Facebook collects from your smartphone. Also: the company’s facial recognition privacy setting is still missing for some users, almost 18 months after it was announced. (Intercept, Consumer Reports)

• Here are the start-ups that are trying to make your kitchen redundant. (FT)

• The F.T.C. is reportedly widening its antitrust investigation into Broadcom over potential abuse of dominance in the Wi-Fi chip sector. (Bloomberg)

• Google Glass still exists, and just got an update. (Verge)

Best of the rest

• New York’s attorney general opened an inquiry after an NYT report revealed that thousands of immigrant taxi drivers had been left in crushing debt. (NYT)

• By August, Ford will have cut 7,000 jobs in two years. (NYT)

• Goldman Sachs hired Mazars as the accounting firm for its European arm, after regulators there have sought to break the stranglehold of the Big Four firms. (FT)

• Why people from higher social classes get away with incompetence. Perhaps relatedly: Why big companies pay C.E.O.s for good performance — and bad. (NYT, WSJ)

Thanks for reading! We’ll see you tomorrow.

We’d love your feedback. Please email thoughts and suggestions to business@nytimes.com.

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Special Incentive for Property Buyers: A Foreign Passport

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When Natalia Yavorska and her husband first considered buying a holiday retreat somewhere warmer than their Ukrainian homeland, they were drawn to the Canary Islands.

A vacation to the Spanish archipelago in 2012 left them eyeing land on the southwest coast of the island of Tenerife, and while the initial attractions were the golf courses and ocean views, the deal was sealed by a special extra that came with their purchase.

“The fact that we could get a Spanish residence visa from buying real estate was very important, and that made it an easy decision,” said Ms. Yavorska, a 60-year-old former banker from a town near Kiev.

That “golden visa” carried the right to eventually apply for a Spanish, and therefore European Union, passport, the kind of bonus that is luring a growing number of investors to high-end real estate.

Once seen as a slightly shady practice, the business of dangling visas and citizenship in front of wealthy investors has become a more common, and in some cases hugely successful, marketing strategy.

Ms. Yavorska and her husband, Alexander Yavorski, who own a pharmaceutical import business in Ukraine, were worried about political stability at home and saw the right to live in the European Union as “a type of insurance.”

“Something can always happen between Russia and Ukraine, so if you have the chance to have a visa or a second passport sitting in your drawer, you would be stupid not to take it,” she said.

So far, at least 14 countries have programs that offer visas or passports to foreigners who buy real estate, according to research by Henley & Partners, a British-based law firm that specializes in helping people looking such programs, and The New York Times. Montenegro will soon become the 15th, and the British overseas territory of Anguilla is planning to follow suit.

Many more countries, including the United States and 20 of the 28 European Union members, are offering residence visas, which can often lead to passports, to foreigners willing to invest in nonproperty business ventures. These countries believe the investments will bolster their economies.

Other countries, led by small Caribbean island nations and Vanuatu, in the South Pacific, are happy to simply sell a passport for as little as $100,000.

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Abama Luxury Residences in Tenerife, Canary Islands. The minimum investment under Spain’s “golden visa” program is €500,000.CreditArum Group

Analysts say that offers of passports and residency have become a big business, attracting an estimated $20 billion a year in investment.

That approach is transforming the upper end of real estate markets and reshaping the finances of some of the smaller countries, pumping billions of dollars into economies that are desperate for the funds.

At the same time, the practice is raising fears in the European Parliament and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which works to promote economic growth worldwide. They worry that the programs could assist money laundering, tax evasion and the free movement of criminals and terrorists, as well as allow wealthy Russians, Iranians and Syrians to skirt economic sanctions.

There are eight countries — five small Caribbean states, Turkey and, in the European Union, Cyprus and Malta — that will hand over passports to property buyers, who are generally required to spend little, if any, time within their borders.

In December, Brazil joined Dubai, which is part of the United Arab Emirates, and six European nations — Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Portugal and Spain — in extending residence visas to property buyers.

The rules vary for converting those visas into passports.

Portugal requires a waiting period of five years, during which the applicant needs to spend just one week a year in the country. Spain and Latvia insist on a 10-year wait. The Latvians and Greeks require difficult language tests and several years of actually living in the country, and the Latvians insist that applicants learn the national anthem. Dubai almost never grants United Arab Emirates citizenship to foreigners.

The picky passport shopper needs to consider price, each country’s tax system and the speed of its bureaucracy: Dominica is the fastest to hand over a passport, and Turkey the slowest among nations that go straight to a passport.

Passport shoppers also need to consider how much time a nation requires them to spend within its borders, and how many other countries will grant them visa-free access with their new passports. Grenada, for instance, offers passports that have visa-free access to both China and Russia.

Wealthy Chinese are by far the biggest buyers of both visas and passports, followed by Russians, experts say. There is also growing interest among French citizens eager to avoid high income taxes and Britons desperate to maintain their European Union membership when or if their country leaves the bloc.

“I think there will be a huge amount of activity once we know what is actually happening with Brexit,” said Penny Mosgrove, the chief executive of the upmarket real estate agency Quintessentially Estates.

An apartment in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil is among the countries extending residency visas to property buyers.

Americans are interested, too. In the five years to April 2018, 4,327 United States citizens received golden visas in Spain alone. Experts say there are two reasons for Americans’ appetite for new passports and residency visas.

One is that the United States and Eritrea are the only countries that tax the worldwide earnings of their citizens even if they live abroad.

Alex Marino, who heads one of the largest expatriation legal practices in the world for Moodys Gartner Tax Law, said that in the final quarter of 2016, when Donald J. Trump was elected president, there was a record spike in the number of Americans renouncing their United States citizenship. But the biggest driving force by far, he said, “is finances and taxes, rather than politics.”

Peter Vincent, a former senior prosecutor in the Obama administration who now oversees security liaison for Henley & Partners, the law firm, said another factor was personal security.

“There are some places in the world where if your taxi or bus gets pulled up and you are carrying a U.S. passport, that is a death warrant,” he said, “so people prefer to have a second passport for safety reasons.”

Knight Frank, a British real estate consulting firm that operates globally, estimated late last year that 36 percent of people with more than $30 million in net assets had second passports, up from 34 percent a year earlier.

Christian H. Kälin, the Swiss-born lawyer who leads the British-based Henley & Partners, said the trend was also growing among the less wealthy.

For those seeking residency visas or passports, the firm charges fees that start at about 20,000 euros, or $22,500, and can reach €500,000 for complicated programs like that of Austria, which requires nonproperty investments of at least €10 million. The firm has grown rapidly over the past decade, expanding to 30 offices around the world.

Charlie Smith, European adviser at the New York company Concierge Auctions, which specializes in properties valued at more than $2 million, said the lure of a visa is an important marketing tool. Mr. Smith used a recent tour of China and Singapore to drum up interest in the auction of the nine-bedroom Villa San Lorenzo in Quinta do Lago, a gated community in the Algarve region of Portugal. The property was previously listed for €20 million.

Mr. Smith said that he had “specifically targeted” his customer databases in China with the property because China is the strongest market for Portugal’s golden visa program. In the 12 months ended in February, 4,159 Chinese used the program, a 30 percent increase over the previous year and well ahead of second-place Brazil, with 695 investors.

Villa San Lorenzo, a gated community in the Algarve region of Portugal. The country allows property buyers to convert residency visas to passports after five years.CreditConcierge Auctions

Some developers are making the residency programs an integral part of their plans, shaping their prices and timelines around the best way to qualify for visas. When the high-end property consulting firm Athena Advisers ran a promotion for several Portuguese developments at its London offices in March, it flew in developers from Lisbon to pitch their projects, and lawyers to explain how the investments could qualify for the golden visa program.

Over red wine and finger food, an audience of about 20 potential buyers asked questions that focused as much on the golden visas as on the likely rental and investment returns of the projects.

Sérgio Ferreira, the chief executive of the developer Coporgest, explained how a 43-apartment project in central Lisbon had been structured to take maximum advantage of the visa system.

The project, SottoMayor Premium, involves the renovation of a 19th-century building so buyers can qualify for a €350,000 threshold, rather than the normal minimum investment of €500,000.

Unusually, some sales of the apartments, which are priced from €420,000 to €1.6 million, have been packaged as interest-paying special-purpose vehicles designed with the visa in mind.

As soon as an investor makes an initial payment of €350,000, the clock starts on the five-year waiting period for a full passport, even though the apartment might not be completed for another two or three years.

João Cunha Vaz, a senior partner with the law firm Edge, briefed Athena’s clients on the visa program and several tax-reducing programs offered by Portugal, including the “non-habitual resident” option, which offers a decade of tax breaks and has been attracting French citizens and other foreigners.

Another country that has recently developed a visa program is Brazil, which in the past saw many of its citizens moving money abroad to obtain second passports. Now, it is trying to reverse the trend.

Edouard Barthelemy, Athena’s manager in Rio de Janeiro, says the program is too new to have yielded results. But he is confident it will build interest in high-end properties.

Not everyone is pleased with the growth of visa programs.

Critics say that while countries like Cyprus and Malta are reaping the benefits of handing out passports, what they are really offering is the right to live anywhere in the European Union. And they say such programs can attract shady characters.

SottoMayor Premium, a 43-apartment project in central Lisbon, was structured to take maximum advantage of Portugal’s visa-for-investment program.

But others say that getting visas through real estate transactions involves vetting for criminal records, for instance, which is a far more restrictive process than the scrutiny faced by the million people a year who are given European Union passports through marriage or the reuniting of family.

“Anyone who is a real security threat or a major criminal would not put themselves through that scrutiny — they have other ways to get a passport or go where they want,” said Mr. Kälin, of Henley & Partners.

There are tax advantages in having residence rights in countries like Antigua, Cyprus and Malta, which charge little income tax on offshore assets and do not require the investor to live in the country for any significant period.

Mr. Kälin was a key figure in turning the trade in passports and residency visas into an industry.

St. Kitts and Nevis became the first country to introduce a formal program of selling passports in 1984, the year after it won independence from Britain.

Mr. Kälin approached the government with an offer to revamp the program and then negotiated a visa-free access agreement for St. Kitts with the European Union’s Schengen Area, a zone comprising 26 countries without passport controls.

That kind of access was on Natalia Yavorska’s mind when she and her husband bought land on the Canary Islands. She found many visa applications “a humiliating experience where they want fingerprints and medical tests and treat you like a refugee trying to sneak over the border.”

“A passport with visa-free access to a lot of countries is just so much better,” she said.

After St. Kitts, Mr. Kälin’s firm went on to advise Grenada and Antigua on how to design their programs, and it is now retained by Moldova, which sells passports for €140,000 rather than requiring property investment, and Malta.

“These programs have been hugely important for those countries,” Mr. Kälin said. “They have transformed the economy in St. Kitts, been very significant in Antigua and Malta and have helped to dig Cyprus out of an economic crisis.”

The minimum investment under Spain’s golden visa program is €500,000, which can be made up of one or more purchases.

The Yavorski family passed that easily by spending about €1 million for land where they built a three-bedroom villa overlooking a golf course and the ocean.

Maria Moreno, the head of sales at Abama Luxury Residences, a Canary Islands developer, said golden visas have become a valuable marketing tool for projects such as hers, where the Yavorskis were the first buyers.

“About 25 percent of our buyers are from outside the E.U., mainly from Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and the U.S., and four out of five apply for golden visas,” she said.

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domains: Assisted Living. For All Ages.

anastasios pallis

Monday was pet portraits in a velvety lounge at 88 & 90 Lexington Avenue, a condominium development on 26th Street in New York City. Thursday was mixology in the chef’s kitchen at 121 East 22nd Street, the OMA-designed, prism-edged tower built by Toll Brothers.

Down at 56 Leonard, otherwise known as the Jenga building in TriBeCa, there were classes in bouquet making by Uprooted, the mobile florist; a mommy-and-me tea party; and a tacos and tequila fiesta for Cinco de Mayo. Color therapy, involving an installation of light and sound, designed to treat stress, is scheduled for June.

In shiny new developments all over Manhattan, the fulsome amenity spaces — lounges and screening rooms and chef’s kitchens — are being “activated,” as developers and artists like to say, with talks and classes, tastings, parties and panels, as if home is now an extension of the 92nd Street Y.

While the buildings of the last few booms adopted the embellishments and services of luxury hotels, this wave has been imprinted by the community-building behaviors of idealistic millennials — bees, horticulture, self-care! — and the tastes of the podcast class.

This is not wine and cheese on a card table, nor balloon-animal making by a clown in a basement playroom. Piquing the interests of the new condo cohort isn’t easy, and producing enticing events in hundreds of city buildings is no mere side hustle.

Companies that provide simple concierge service and amenity maintenance, like pool cleaning, have added event “curation” to their duties. In New York City, one of the biggest is LIVunltd, an amenity-servicing company overseeing more than 100 buildings. Its creative officer is Michael Fazio, a dapper 55-year-old who once worked for a Hollywood agent and whose duties for her included walking Jason Patric’s pet pig.

Creating community in the new urban suburbs: just add dogs …CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times
… and a sketch artist. On recent evening at 88 & 90 Lexington Avenue, Laura Supnik rendered Lex, a Bernedoodle, immortal.CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times

It was Mr. Fazio who invited Noah Wilson-Rich, a behavioral ecologist, chief scientific officer at Best Bees (a company that installs and manages beehives across the country) and veteran of the TED X circuit, to give a talk on urban beekeeping for the would-be residents of Waterline Square, a condominium complex near Lincoln Center expected to open later this year. Also on the roster: a panel on the science of scent; a talk on decoding dreams by a sleep doctor; an evening with an aura photographer; and a class in dancing while blindfolded.

“We think brain fitness is on trend, and it’s something we’re going to push out in the fall,” said Mr. Fazio, the co-author of “Concierge Confidential: The Secrets of Serving Champagne Bitches and Caviar Queens,” a 2011 memoir (with tips) of his years taking care of uppity guests at the InterContinental hotel.

On a recent afternoon, Mr. Fazio and his colleague Rachel Woodbridge, 29, a Parsons School of Design graduate who once worked at the fashion website Net-a-Porter and helped found a concierge start-up, were on a conference call with Game U, a company that teaches children how to build video games.

They were planning an event at 56 Leonard and hashing out the details: Would the kids be able to code in one session? Would it be enough of an experience? What would it cost? (About $100 per child, which Mr. Fazio thought could fit the building’s budget without charging extra. The cost of most events is built into a property’s running costs, he said, which are paid for in maintenance fees or by the developer.)

The next call was to Tom Leonardis, the president of Whoopi Goldberg’s company Whoop. Mr. Fazio wanted to create an event for Gay Pride Day around marriage equality: perhaps screen a few documentaries and organize a panel.

“If you were painting this picture, what would be discussed?” Mr. Leonardis said. “Would you want Whoopi to be a part of it? She’s doing a clothing line and opening Gay Pride at the Barclays Center.” Mr. Leonardis went on to describe an engagement ring he and others have designed for the L.G.B.T.Q. community, and also straight men. “It hasn’t launched,” he said. “You could have it first.”

Mr. Fazio gasped and said, “Oh my God! O.K.! Let me bake this a little bit more and get back to you.” Then he turned to Ms. Woodbridge. “Do we do serious, or light and breezy, a trunk show: destination weddings and the engagement rings?”

Image
In return for their time and products, entrepreneurs like Jennifer Cintron, center, and Kathleen Cruz, right, of the CBD wellness company Terrestrial Roots, get exposure to a captive audience of time-starved affluent people. CreditNina Westervelt for The New York Times

Mr. Fazio, Ms. Woodbridge and their small staff are now producing 90 to 120 events each month for more than 100 buildings. Research can be arduous; the other night they struggled through an immersive theater show called “The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking.

Ideas may come from serendipitous street sightings or scouring Instagram. They court new businesses, and are courted back. Du’s Donuts and Coffee, the chef Wylie Dufresne’s exotic doughnut emporium in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, sent samples for LIV to test, after which LIV organized a few doughnut pop-ups in its buildings.

In return for their time and products, the businesses or individuals LIV approaches get exposure to a captive audience of time-starved affluent people who may not otherwise partake of their wares and expertise.

“We’ve probably exhausted hundreds of relationships,” Mr. Fazio said. “But it’s part of the life these people have bought into. It becomes part of a building’s story. Everyone has the same Bosch appliances, the same views, the same marble slab open kitchens. But you can say, ‘Move over Soho House and Core Club.’ You don’t have to belong to those, it’s in your building. So it’s just another asset. Just add water. Just add $6 million and you have friends and stuff to do and you’re in the know about, say, Wylie Dufresne’s doughnut shop in Brooklyn.”

Unless you win the affordable-housing lottery, you’ll need $6 million for three bedrooms and water views at Waterline Square: three glass towers with 263 condo units on five acres, more than half of them park, on the edge of the West Side Highway, stretching from 59th Street to 61st Street.

“Lit in Luxury” is how Michael Fazio (in gray jacket) described the CBD panel he convened for his buildings’ residents.CreditNina Westervelt for The New York Times

The exterior architecture is standard high luxury fare, by Richard Meier, Kohn Pederson Fox and Rafael Viñoly. (Each firm got its own building; the Viñoly one looks sort of like an iceberg).

Underneath will be a private underground mall called the Waterline Club, 100,000 square feet rendered into swoopy fabulousness by the Rockwell Group and outfitted like a college campus with a soccer field; a skate park; multiple gyms, pools and fitness studios; a tennis court; a gardening center; a recording studio; an art studio; a two-lane bowling alley; a dog run; and a 4,600-square-foot children’s playroom that looks like the Gryffindor common room by way of Disney.

Five years ago in Manhattan, according to the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, there were 54 developments that were considered “luxury”; at the time, that meant units selling, on average, for $2,200 per square foot and up. Now there are 90, and the benchmark for “luxury” is $2,400 per square foot. (In 2012, there were just 31 such properties.)

Many of these buildings, rising in all sorts of commercial or less populated areas — “transitional neighborhoods,” as James Lansill, a managing director at Corcoran Sunshine, called them — may lack organic opportunities for socialization. Enter LIV and its competitors, which include a company called Luxury Attache and also in-house lifestyle managers.

Mr. Lansill was on the phone from the sales center of 130 William, a cast concrete tower at the southern tip of Manhattan that has just topped out at 800 feet and will be finished next year.

Its architect is David Adjaye, one of the designers of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. It is quite beautiful — with arched windows that are a little bit Gaudí, a little bit Romanesque, a respite from all the glass towers — but its size and vast amenity spaces will create yet another enormous gated community, another urban suburb.

“The most precious commodity people have is time, and they value the efficiency of having robust resources in their vertical community,” Mr. Lansill said. “If you don’t have to leave your home to host a party, or your kid’s party, or go to the gym or see a movie, that’s truly valuable.”

And then there’s that major commitment of many Manhattan women: hair. Lauren Witkoff, executive vice president of Witkoff, one of the developers of 111 Murray Street (another Kohn Pederson Fox tower on the edge of TriBeCa), has invited the blowout chain Drybar into the amenity spaces there.

“It’s the only private Drybar in the city,” Ms. Witkoff said, adding that she was working with Creative Art Partners, an “art concierge service” in Los Angeles, to help residents build their own art collections. “We’re always trying to do something a little different. It’s not just, ‘What amenities are we going to put in the building?’ But ‘how are we going to activate them in a way that’s meaningful?’”

In “The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of Community,” which was published in 1989, the sociologist Ray Oldenburg wrote about the importance of the “third place”: that which is not home and not work, a ballast in a society where home life is increasingly isolated.

If there is no informal public life, he wrote, if the “means and facilities for relaxation and leisure are not publicly shared, they become the objects of private ownership and consumption.”

That’s not good for cities. So many buildings have devoted so much interior space to what used to be public places — hair salons and gyms and theaters and food courts — it may begin to feel like the city is turning inside out, ringed by walls of glass as smooth and blank as Kim Kardashian’s skin.

This “chat” came with treats …CreditNina Westervelt for The New York Times
… and tinctures.CreditNina Westervelt for The New York Times

Not everyone is wringing their hands. Richard Florida, a professor at the School of Cities at the University of Toronto and the author of “The New Urban Crisis,” cautions against reflexively dismissing these fastidious private developments, and romanticizing New York City’s grittier past, even if it was chockablock with authentic “third places” like seedy bars and diners.

“Every time people say New York is over, it transforms,” he said. “New York was never held back by its past. Everyone is complaining about Hudson Yards, but they don’t get it. Hudson Yards is not for New Yorkers. It’s made for a lot of people who lived in a suburb and want to be in a city that’s not gritty or dirty.”

Yes, he conceded, “some of these neighborhoods are becoming the equivalent of vertical suburbs. Now combine that with everyone on their cellphones and social media, instead of talking to people at the bar. And you have the modern, tech-induced version of David Riesman’s lonely crowd.”

The binding element, he suggested, may be the community and connection found in blindfold dancing with your neighbors, or at a panel of CBD entrepreneurs and wellness experts, like the one convened by Mr. Fazio on April 20 (“Lit in Luxury,” he called it). Or hey, pet portraits.

“I never lived in a building before where I talked to my neighbors,” said Colleen Tanjeloff, who is on the board of 88 & 90 Lexington and had brought her two-year-old son and Lou, a 13-year-old Yorkiepoo, to the pet portraits party in her lounge.

There, Roxy, a gassy yet beguiling Boston terrier, had her mug sketched by Laura Supnik, an illustrator in Brooklyn, without straying from the lap of her owner, Jodi Balkan, the principal of a public relations firm. (“She doesn’t like people or other dogs,” Ms. Balkan said.)

Ms. Balkan and Ms. Tanjeloff noted that new developments aren’t like traditional co-ops or rental buildings. “Everyone is new and everyone arrives at about the same time,” Ms. Tanjeloff said.

Their building is rife with amenities, including a plush screening room that Ms. Tanjeloff and other residents with small children use as a playground in the colder months — no programming required. “We call it the kids’ track,” she said. “We lie back in those reclining seats with our coffee and let them run around us.”

It’s a Thing
From the East Coast to the West Coast …

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In a Test of Their Power, #MeToo’s Legal Forces Take On the Golden Arches

anastasios pallis

In 2016, when she was 16, Brittany Hoyos started her first job, at a busy McDonald’s in Tucson. Not long after, she said, a manager began harassing her, touching her hair, texting her about her appearance and once making a move to kiss her after offering her a ride home.

Ms. Hoyos rebuffed him, and her parents alerted her supervisors. She was then subjected to retaliation at work, she said, including a demotion from her position as crew trainer. She said the retaliation extended to her mother, who also worked in the restaurant; eventually both were left unemployed. Ms. Hoyos blamed herself.

With 1.9 million workers in more than 100 countries, McDonald’s is one of the world’s largest companies and most recognizable brands. Now the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, formed last year to extend the muscle of the #MeToo movement beyond Hollywood, has taken aim at sexual harassment on the fast food chain’s assembly lines.

On Tuesday the fund, the American Civil Liberties Union and the labor group Fight for $15 are announcing the filing of 23 new complaints against McDonald’s — 20 sent to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; three filed as civil rights lawsuits; and two suits stemming from previous allegations.

In the filings, workers including Ms. Hoyos and her mother accuse McDonald’s of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment in the workplace and retaliation for speaking up. It is the third and largest round of E.E.O.C. complaints that workers have filed against McDonald’s in the last three years.

The cases represent just a sampling of complaints labor advocates said they have received about the chain, but the company’s dominant role in the economy makes the campaign a major test of the legal and labor power of the #MeToo movement. The $25 million legal defense fund, housed at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, has received almost 5,000 requests for assistance since it was created in the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. A majority of those appeals came from low-wage workers, and the fund has given the most money to the McDonald’s cases, said Sharyn Tejani, director of the fund.

“What we’re seeing over and over again in these claims — for these workers, they’re put in a position where you have to put up with the harassment, or you lose the paycheck that’s keeping you in a house or keeping groceries on your table,” Ms. Tejani said.

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A 2018 rally in support of McDonald’s workers who walked off the job in Kansas City to protest sexual harassment.CreditChristopher Smith for The New York Times

McDonald’s is a strategic target. The restaurant industry has one of the highest rates of workplace sexual harassment; in one survey, 40 percent of female fast food workers said they had experienced it, and more than one in five said they had faced consequences — including shortened hours and being denied raises — for reporting it. Workplace sexual harassment is also difficult to litigate, partly because the statute of limitations is often very short, though employees are entitled to protections from hostile environments and from being targeted for speaking out.

Chains like McDonald’s, which has more than 14,000 locations in North America, the majority of them independently owned, have long argued that they are not liable for the behavior of employees at franchisees’ stores. (A case that may decide whether McDonald’s is a joint employer of its franchisee staff is currently before the National Labor Relations Board.)

“This is a company that has especially used the franchise model as a shield,” said Gillian Thomas, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “It’s determining literally the pattern that the sauce makes on the hamburger — it has a special machine that does that. And then throws up its hands and says, we can’t be responsible for how people operating those machines behave.”

Steve Easterbrook, the McDonald’s CEO, responding on Monday to a letter from Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, said the company had improved and clarified its policies on harassment; printed them on posters sent to all of its restaurants; and put most franchise owners through new training. In the coming months, he said, the company will be rolling out training for front-line employees, and a complaint hotline.

The changes began late last year, a McDonald’s spokeswoman added in an email on Monday. “By strengthening our overall policy, creating interactive training, a third-party-managed anonymous hotline and importantly, listening to employees across the system, McDonald’s is sending a clear message that we are committed to creating and sustaining a culture of trust where employees feel safe, valued and respected,” she said.

Employees maintain that, despite McDonald’s assurances, not much has changed. At least one corporate store had repeat federal claims made against it, and this year, two had multiple complaints.

Last September, hundreds of McDonald’s workers walked off the job during the lunch rush, protesting what they said was pervasive sexual harassment in the company’s restaurants. In social media posts this year, the ACLU invited more employees to report their experiences. Another protest, with some of those who filed new E.E.O.C. claims present, is planned for Tuesday, in front of McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago, two days before the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

The E.E.O.C. has the authority to investigate complaints, which can be a lengthy process. If it finds merit to a report, it can encourage the parties to resolve the charge informally, with the agency’s help; as a last resort, the E.E.O.C. can file a lawsuit. In 2012, for example, it secured a $1 million settlement from a McDonald’s franchise owner in Wisconsin that it had sued over sexual harassment.

Of the 25 filings announced on Tuesday, four came from teenagers like Ms. Hoyos, now 19. She worked 40 hours a week at McDonald’s, usually nights after school and cheerleading practice.

At first, she hid the unwanted behavior — like the manager’s brushing up against her in the narrow drive-through area, or other co-workers calling her a “whore” — from her parents. “I was embarrassed,” she states in the complaint. “I felt like I was at fault or that I had done something wrong.”

Maribel Hoyos, Brittany’s mother, also worked at the same McDonald’s, but quit out of frustration after what she said was retaliation. CreditDeanna Alejandra Dent for The New York Times

In a phone interview, she said that because it was her first job, “I just thought that was something you would have to put up with.”

Within her first few months at McDonald’s, Ms. Hoyos was named employee of the month, she said, and earmarked for promotion. “With the promises of moving up, I didn’t want to be the person making noise,” she said. Her family was relying on her income.

Only after she came home crying one day did her parents learn what she was going through; her father called the store, a franchise location, to ask that the manager be held accountable. Her mother, Maribel Hoyos, also witnessed some of the misconduct at McDonald’s, and notified superiors.

But the verbal harassment continued, and Brittany was singled out in retaliatory fashion, the complaint says. Eventually, she was fired, she said, after showing up an hour late for one shift and for minor infractions that she said other employees were not punished for.

“Just because you’re going through a lower job in society’s eyes, that doesn’t mean you should have to go through the obstacles and challenges that I did,” she said.

Maribel Hoyos, 35, had been on an upward track too, sent for weekly management training classes, she said. But when she asked about the status of a promised raise, she says in her complaint, a manager asked her to sign a document vowing that she would represent McDonald’s in a positive manner. She said the restaurant wanted her to portray her daughter’s complaints as mere gossip.

When she refused, the complaint says, she was demoted to minimum-wage crew member, with fewer hours. She quit out of frustration soon after.

Paul Dias, who took over ownership of the franchise last year, after the harassment was reported but before Brittany Hoyos was fired and her mother quit, declined to comment on Monday.

Jamelia Fairley, 23, a single mother who works in a corporate-owned McDonald’s in Sanford, Fla., participated in the 2018 strike to support a friend. Still, she never expected to be subjected to harassment herself.

But late last year, Ms. Fairley said in her complaint, a co-worker began groping her. She reported him, and he was later moved to another store. Another employee, who made grotesque sexual comments about Ms. Fairley’s 1-year-old daughter, was eventually fired. But, Ms. Fairley said in her complaint, after she reported the incidents, her hours were sharply cut, and her requests for a transfer went unheeded. She felt targeted by co-workers for taking action.

Jamelia Fairley, a McDonald’s employee in Sanford, Fla., said she was thinking about her daughter when she filed her complaint: “What if she has to work for McDonald’s one day and something like this happens to her?”CreditEve Edelheit for The New York Times

Like the Hoyoses, Ms. Fairley has family members who work at McDonald’s. She decided to file a complaint and speak out publicly because she wanted to improve conditions for other women.

“I was thinking about my daughter,” she said. “What if she has to work for McDonald’s one day and something like this happens to her? What if no one stands up for her?”

More coverage of the #MeToo Movement

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The Economy Is Strong and Inflation Is Low. That’s What Worries the Fed.

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WASHINGTON — America’s job market is booming and the economy is strong, but that combination is not raising prices the way it used to.

Biscuit Head, a North Carolina restaurant chain serving up gravy flights and homemade jam, would be charging more if the previous economic relationships held up. At 3.3 percent, unemployment in Asheville, N.C., home to three of Biscuit Head’s four locations, clocks in below the national average, and business is brisk. The owners, Carolyn and Jason Roy, have been lifting wages and offering new benefits as they seek to attract and retain staff.

Yet they haven’t raised prices on their giant buttermilk biscuits all that much. The stable pricing is sustainable partly because the Roys have gotten less picky about whom they hire. By looking at applicants with limited experience and even criminal records, they can find workers at wages that shrink — but don’t kill — their profit margins.

“It used to be that you’d look at résumés, and some things were an automatic disqualifier,” Ms. Roy said. “Now there’s really no disqualifier. Anyone who comes in, we’ll interview them.”

Across the United States, a similar cocktail seems to be keeping inflation at bay: Employers are reluctant to charge more, unsure how consumers will react, and they’ve found an untapped supply of workers. It’s partly great news. More Americans are getting jobs than policymakers once thought possible, and wages and prices aren’t spinning out of control the way history would predict.

But it is posing a big challenge for the Federal Reserve. Stubbornly low inflation is raising questions about whether the central bank can achieve one of its primary goals — to keep prices growing slowly and steadily. By keeping interest rates low, it could also hinder the central bank’s ability to steer the economy should another downturn occur.

Inflation rose a scant 1.6 percent in the year ending in March, well short of the central bank’s 2 percent target. The Fed’s policymakers are worried about the continuing sluggishness, and President Trump has repeatedly cited low inflation as a reason for the central bank to start cutting interest rates.

“We are doing very well at 3.2% GDP, but with our wonderfully low inflation, we could be setting major records &, at the same time, make our National Debt start to look small!” Mr. Trump said in a recent tweet.

Image
Biscuit Head in Asheville, N.C.CreditJacob Biba for The New York Times

The Fed, for its part, is wrestling with how to respond to persistently low inflation amid what appears to be the weakening of a foundational economic relationship. Unemployment is at its lowest level since 1969, which should spur higher wages as companies compete for workers. Climbing labor costs should eventually get passed along to customers, driving inflation up. Instead, it is moderating.

While low inflation might sound great, a never-ending shortfall might hurt the economy. Modest price increases can brighten the economic picture by allowing wages to rise without crushing profits. Janet L. Yellen, the Fed’s former chairwoman, often describes inflation as a lubricant on the wheels of the labor market: It keeps wages chugging along.

“I am concerned that inflation is running lower than I would expect, especially considering that now we’ve had sub-4 percent unemployment for a long time, we’ve had growth that’s surprised to the upside,” James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said in an interview. “We’re on the wrong side, and it’s kind of going in the wrong direction.”

The breakdown leaves the Fed staring down an uncomfortable question. If officials can’t get that old chain reaction to work 10 years into an economic expansion, against a backdrop of tax cuts and high government spending, and with exceptionally low joblessness, will they ever?

The Fed’s chairman, Jerome H. Powell, has called weak inflation “one of the major challenges of our time.” In part to address it, he has led the Fed to embark on a yearlong review of its communications, tools and strategy. A major goal is determining what is reining in price gains and what can drive inflation back to the Fed’s target in a sustainable way.

Extra labor supply is one obvious culprit. Since 2016 at least some Fed officials have declared the labor market “at or near full employment.” But the job market keeps surprising them. Prime-age workers are hanging onto their positions for longer.

That’s provided an unexpected source of new employees, enabling brisk hiring to persist without a run-up in wages and prices. Average hourly earnings have shown progress without rocketing up.

Officials have repeatedly lowered their estimates of sustainable unemployment as a result, and Richard Clarida, the Fed’s vice chairman, has suggested that the jobless rate is “not far below many estimates” at that revised level.

Neel Kashkari, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, goes a step further. He thinks that the Fed, which has raised interest rates nine times since 2015, began doing so too early and that the economy remains below full employment. Premature tightening has convinced the public that inflation won’t rise to 2 percent this business cycle, he thinks, and now consumers and businesses are acting accordingly.

Beyond slack in the labor force and expectations, forces like technology and globalization may be restraining pricing power. Consumers with Amazon and Yelp in their pockets can easily avoid overpaying.

Ms. Roy and her fellow restaurateurs are making tough choices as employees become harder to find: They can’t charge enough to cover significantly higher wages, because their competition is holding prices steady.CreditJacob Biba for The New York Times

“To the extent that businesses have price increases, they may very well be unable to pass them on,” Robert S. Kaplan, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said in an interview. “I don’t think that’s changing. If anything, it may be intensifying.”

Regardless of its cause, the dilemma has a global flavor. Low inflation plagues central banks from Japan and New Zealand to the eurozone, threatening serious fallout.

Falling inflation raises the risk that economies will slip into outright deflation if growth weakens, making downturns worse as consumers hoard their cash, knowing that prices will be lower tomorrow. It also means policymakers will have less room to ease policy come next recession, because interest rates count in price gains.

John Williams, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has warned that could unleash a dangerous feedback loop. During a recession, central banks won’t be able to cut rates by enough to ever coax inflation back up to target, and expectations will fall further with each passing business cycle.

“The facts have changed, and so it is time our change our minds also,” he said in a recent speech, urging a global rethink of economic policy.

As part of the Fed’s strategy review this year, top officials will meet in Chicago next month to discuss how monetary policy works — and how it should. Mr. Powell has described the goal as an evolution, rather than a revolution.

Whatever approach they take to lifting inflation, officials will have to convince the public that they mean it. Inflation expectations are slipping among both economic forecasters and consumers, based on two recent Fed surveys. Just 56 percent of Fed watchers thought policymakers had the tools to achieve their target, down from 60 percent a year earlier, according to a survey run by the research firm MacroPolicy Perspectives.

If price increases get stuck in low gear permanently, consequences could reverberate from the Fed’s Marriner S. Eccles Building in Washington to the dining scene in Asheville.

In inflation’s absence, Ms. Roy from Biscuit Head is seeing her fellow restaurateurs make tough choices. They can’t charge enough to cover higher wages, because their competitors are holding prices fairly steady. That leads to understaffing, and has caused some owners to give up the game altogether.

“If you’re perceived as being too expensive, people aren’t going to want to come,” Ms. Roy said. “It really is a balancing act.”

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With Joko Widodo’s Re-Election, Indonesia Bucks Global Tilt Toward Strongmen

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MANDALIKA, Indonesia — The woman threw herself on the road in front of the motorcade, forcing the vehicle with the license plate “Indonesia 1” to slam on the brakes.

“Jokowi, I love you,” she cried, as President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, re-elected with the release of Tuesday’s vote count, rolled down his window to clasp hands with the sobbing fan on a rural roadside on the island of Lombok.

Commonly known by the nickname Jokowi, Mr. Joko seems an unlikely figure to command such rock-star reverence. His oratory depends less on grand vision or populist rhetoric and more on statistics about road building or village financing down to the 10th decimal place.

He favors plain white collared shirts and black trousers. He speaks softly.

Yet Mr. Joko’s re-election to a second and final term as president of the world’s fourth most populous nation is a powerful counterweight to the democratic weakening and strongman politics that have recently dominated the global electoral landscape.

“I’m president of all of Indonesia, and democracy protects pluralism,” Mr. Joko told The New York Times in an interview. “My government is about harmony and opposing extremism.”

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A member of the president’s security detail holding back the crowd as they waited to greet Mr. Joko in Kutuh on Friday.CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

Just by the numbers, of which Mr. Joko is so fond, Indonesia is a nation of political superlatives. The country has the world’s largest Muslim population but it is also a secular state with sizable religious minorities. It is the planet’s third-biggest democracy, behind India and the United States.

And it is the biggest island nation on earth, composed of 17,000 islands where more than 300 languages are spoken, according to the president’s count.

“For the continued existence of our country,” Mr. Joko said, “we have to rely on Indonesia’s culture, which is diverse and tolerant.”

Yet the challenges of holding together such a sprawling nation mean that Indonesia often seems to retreat into itself rather than project its weight on the global stage. Mr. Joko, 57, demurred when asked whether Indonesia, which overthrew a dictatorship two decades ago, might serve as a model for Muslim-majority nations ruled by family diktat.

“Islam and democracy are compatible,” Mr. Joko said. “But let others come and see with their own eyes. I cannot tell them.”

Instead, he began listing the finer points of cutting red tape to acquire business permits. Focusing on a lagging infrastructure that has hobbled the nation’s economic growth, he spent nearly 10 minutes talking about the more than 1,100 miles of new roads built during his first five-year term.

Security guards surrounded Mr. Joko as supporters rushed the Indonesian leader. His followers say that his second term will allow him to pursue a reformist agenda without having to worry about re-election because of term limits.CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

Then he moved on to the merits of mass transit. The country’s traffic-choked capital, Jakarta, struggled for years to build a subway, its first part opening only recently.

“Transportation maybe is not sexy,” he said. “But if we don’t have good infrastructure, we cannot be a developed country. We are behind in building roads and airports.”

[Jakarta is sinking so fast, it could end up underwater.]

A onetime furniture maker before becoming a mayor, Mr. Joko is the first true commoner to be elected president of Indonesia. He took power in 2014, promising to uphold the rights of minorities and women. In addition to improving Indonesia’s woeful infrastructure, he pledged to combat deep-rooted corruption.

“I’ve been working on public works for 40 years,” said Basuki Hadimuljono, the minister for public works and people’s housing. “This is the first time we’ve had commitment from the president to do all this.”

Mr. Joko’s opponent in last month’s elections, Prabowo Subianto, was the same old-guard opponent he faced in 2014. A former army general who was once married to the daughter of Indonesia’s longtime dictator, Mr. Prabowo said he didn’t accept Tuesday’s election results.

Despite his taste for wine and a Christian mother, Mr. Prabowo aligned himself with hard-line Muslim forces that have called for the country to jettison its syncretic Islam for a more austere form of the faith as practiced in its Middle Eastern birthplace. He allowed rumors to flourish that Mr. Joko, who fasts twice a week in a pious Muslim tradition, was a closet Christian.

Mr. Joko during a surprise visit to a mall in Kuta, Bali, last week, where a band was playing live music. He is an avowed fan of heavy metal bands like Judas Priest and Metallica.CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

Mr. Joko has defended Indonesian Muslim traditions, which incorporate elements from other faiths, including local nature worship. As president, he banned a hard-line group intent on creating a global Islamic caliphate to replace democratic governance.

“Our Islam is modern, moderate and different from others,” he said.

But as Indonesia has hewed to a global trend of growing Islamic conservatism, Mr. Joko picked as his running mate this election a Muslim cleric who has spoken out against yoga and gay rights.

When his former political protégé, an ethnic Chinese Christian, was imprisoned for blasphemy in 2017, a charge that human rights activists saw as politically motivated, Mr. Joko declined to defend him.

Asked about his failure to speak up for his old political ally, Mr. Joko said after a long pause, “Sometimes in politics, it’s difficult to say,” adding, “You must decide the priorities for the country.”

Mr. Joko’s critics say his silence betrayed the religious minorities who overwhelmingly voted for him in both presidential elections.

“I thought that Jokowi missed the golden moment to strengthen the human rights regime that has been enshrined in the Constitution and other human rights laws,” said Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, a human rights lawyer and women’s rights advocate.

Villagers performed a traditional stick fight known as peresean during the president’s visit to the island of Lombok last week.CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

Mr. Joko’s supporters say that his second term will allow him to pursue a reformist agenda without having to worry about re-election because of term limits.

And in a country where political elites are often dogged by whispers of lavish corruption, Mr. Joko’s family is ascetic. One of his sons is a blogger who dabbles in a business of treats made of banana, while the other owns a pancake chain. His daughter failed to pass the civil service exam. Mr. Joko has only one wife.

He enjoys heavy metal, and once traveled to Singapore for a Judas Priest concert.

In a Muslim-dominated society, Mr. Joko has called for greater female participation in the work force. Eight of his 34 ministers are women, and they handle important portfolios like the foreign and finance ministries.

“It’s very important for our economy to empower women,” Mr. Joko said.

Walking through a food market on the tourist island of Bali last weekend, Mr. Joko noted that more than 90 percent of the stall owners were female. He talked up microfinancing initiatives for women.

The market was spotless. Hillocks of guavas, avocados and hairy rambutan fruit were perfectly placed. A few years ago, the space was filthy, slick with fish guts and rotting produce underfoot, stall owners said.

This year, Bali banned the use of single-use plastics, like plastic bags and straws, to tackle the tsunami of waste washing up on Indonesia’s once pristine beaches. The country is the second-largest producer of plastic waste in the world.

Mr. Joko bought avocados from a fruit vendor at a market in Denpasar, Bali. He has pushed for microfinancing initiatives for women.CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

Mr. Joko bought a pair of papayas from Made Warti, a 68-year-old fruit seller. Delighted that the president had stopped at her stand, she tried to stuff the fruit in a plastic bag before a member the presidential entourage instructed her to use a cloth tote.

She shrugged when asked about government initiatives for female entrepreneurs like herself; she had never heard of such a thing.

In a country as scattered and corrupt as Indonesia, much can get lost between the highest levels of government policy and a shopkeeper trying to make a living.

The crowds jostled Mr. Joko as he caressed fruit and posed for a seemingly endless procession of selfies. The day before, he had spent hours in a mall and other venues doing the same. Smile, smile, smile.

Sometimes, his admirers were so nervous that their sweaty fingers could not activate the buttons to trigger their phone cameras. Mr. Joko was happy to take over the controls.

“I’m your president so I work for you,” he joked as one fan handed over his cellphone. “That’s my job.”

Mr. Joko climbing the stairs to the presidential aircraft as he departed Denpasar on Saturday.CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

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Inquiries Into Reckless Loans to Taxi Drivers Ordered by State Attorney General and Mayor

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The New York attorney general’s office said Monday it had opened an inquiry into more than a decade of lending practices that left thousands of immigrant taxi drivers in crushing debt, while Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered a separate investigation into the brokers who helped arrange the loans.

The efforts marked the government’s first steps toward addressing a crisis that has engulfed the city’s yellow cab industry. They came a day after The New York Times published a two-part investigation revealing that a handful of taxi industry leaders artificially inflated the price of a medallion — the coveted permit that allows a driver to own and operate a cab — and made hundreds of millions of dollars by issuing reckless loans to low-income buyers.

The investigation also found that regulators at every level of government ignored warning signs, and the city fed the frenzy by selling medallions and promoting them in ads as being “better than the stock market.”

The price of a medallion rose to more than $1 million before crashing in late 2014, which left borrowers with debt they had little hope of repaying. More than 950 medallion owners have filed for bankruptcy, and thousands more are struggling to stay afloat.

The findings also drew a quick response from other elected officials. The chairman of the Assembly’s banking committee, Kenneth Zebrowski, a Democrat, said his committee would hold a hearing on the issue; the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, said he was drafting legislation; and several other officials in New York and Albany called for the government to pressure lenders to soften loan terms.

The biggest threat to the industry leaders appeared to be the inquiry by the attorney general, Letitia James, which will aim to determine if the lenders engaged in any illegal activity.

“Our office is beginning an inquiry into the disturbing reports regarding the lending and business practices that may have created the taxi medallion crisis,” an office spokeswoman said in a statement. “These allegations are serious and must be thoroughly scrutinized.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said through a spokesman that he supported the inquiry. “If any of these businesses or lenders did something wrong, they deserve to be held fully accountable,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Lenders did not respond to requests for comment. Previously, they denied wrongdoing, saying regulators had approved all of their practices and some borrowers had made poor decisions and assumed too much debt. Lenders blamed the crisis on the city for allowing ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to enter without regulation, which they said led medallion values to plummet.

Mr. de Blasio said the city’s investigation will focus on the brokers who arranged the loans for drivers and sometimes lent money themselves.

“The 45-day review will identify and penalize brokers who have taken advantage of buyers and misled city authorities,” the mayor said in a statement. “The review will set down strict new rules that prevent broker practices that hurt hard-working drivers.”

Four of the city’s biggest taxi brokers did not respond to requests for comment.

Bhairavi Desai, founder of the Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents drivers and independent owners, said the city should not get to investigate the business practices because it was complicit in many of them.

The government has already closed or merged all of the nonprofit credit unions that were involved in the industry, saying they participated in “unsafe and unsound banking practices.” At least one credit union leader, Alan Kaufman, the former chief executive of Melrose Credit Union, a major medallion lender, is facing civil charges.

The other lenders in the industry include Medallion Financial, a specialty finance company; some major banks, including Capital One and Signature Bank; and several loosely regulated taxi fleet owners and brokers who entered the lending business.

At City Hall, officials said Monday they were focused on how to help the roughly 4,000 drivers who bought medallions during the bubble, as well as thousands of longtime owners who were encouraged to refinance their loans to take out more money during that period.

One city councilman, Mark Levine, said he was drafting a bill that would allow the city to buy medallion loans from lenders and then forgive much of the debt owed by the borrowers. He said lenders likely would agree because they are eager to exit the business. But he added that his bill would force lenders to sell at discounted prices.

“The city made hundreds of millions by pumping up sales of wildly overpriced medallions — as late as 2014 when it was clear that these assets were poised to decline,” said Mr. Levine, a Democrat. “We have an obligation now to find some way to offer relief to the driver-owners whose lives have been ruined.”

Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, proposed a similar solution in a letter to the mayor. He said the city should convene the lenders and pressure them to partially forgive loans.

“These lenders too often dealt in bad faith with a group of hard-working, unsuspecting workers who deserved much better and have yet to receive any measure of justice,” wrote Mr. Stringer, who added that the state should close a loophole that allowed the lenders to classify their loans as business deals, which have looser regulations.

Last November, amid a spate of suicides by taxi drivers, including three medallion owners with overwhelming debt, the Council created a task force to study the taxi industry.

On Monday, a spokesman for the speaker, Mr. Johnson, said that members of the task force would be appointed very soon. He also criticized the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the city agency that sold the medallions.

“We will explore every tool we have to ensure that moving forward, the T.L.C. protects medallion owners and drivers from predatory actors including lenders, medallion brokers, and fleet managers,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement.

Another councilman, Ritchie Torres, who heads the Council’s oversight committee, disclosed Monday for the first time that he had been trying to launch his own probe since last year, but had been stymied by the taxi commission. “The T.L.C. hasn’t just been asleep at the wheel, they have been actively stonewalling,” he said.

A T.L.C. spokesman declined to comment.

In Albany, several lawmakers also said they were researching potential bills.

One of them, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou of Manhattan, a member of the committee on banks, said she hoped to pass legislation before the end of the year. She said the state agencies involved in the crisis, including the Department of Financial Services, should be examined.

“My world has been shaken right now, to be honest,” Ms. Niou said.

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Fox News Welcomes Pete Buttigieg. Trump and ‘Fox & Friends’ Aren’t Pleased.

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The night began with a campaign-style biographical video and ended with a standing ovation. The candidate called President Trump’s behavior “grotesque” and lamented the “media noise machine on the right wing.” He attacked Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham by name.

Viewers of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s town hall event on Sunday could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled onto an hour of prime-time MSNBC.

Nope. This was Fox News.

The network that liberals love to hate wants to be a required pit stop for Democrats running in the 2020 presidential primary. And despite a snub last week from Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who denounced the channel as a “hate-for-profit racket,” Fox News is finding some success.

Mr. Buttigieg’s hourlong appearance spawned headlines, solid ratings, and kudos from liberals pleased to see the South Bend, Ind., mayor calling out Fox News pundits on their own network.

The reaction was chillier among some of the network’s core conservative viewers — including one miffed resident of the White House. “Hard to believe that @FoxNews is wasting airtime on Mayor Pete,” President Trump wrote on Twitter before the town hall event began. “Fox is moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side in covering the Dems.”

Added Mr. Trump, “They forgot the people who got them there.”

As the 2020 campaign starts in earnest, this is the tightrope that Fox News has chosen to walk. Barred by Democratic leadership from hosting a primary debate — the party chairman, Tom Perez, called its coverage biased — the network is intent on proving that its news anchors can conduct fair interviews with Democratic candidates, even if it irks loyal viewers.

“It’s clear their audience is split on whether it was a good idea to offer Buttigieg airtime,” said Eric Bolling, a former Fox News star who now hosts “America This Week” for the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Fox News has stayed uncharacteristically quiet about the reception to its Democratic town hall events. The network refrained from hitting back at Ms. Warren’s attack last week, and it declined to comment on Monday about Mr. Trump’s taunts.

But the Buttigieg appearance did not sit well with some Trump cheerleaders at the network. On Monday’s “Fox & Friends,” the host Brian Kilmeade scolded Mr. Buttigieg for criticizing his fellow commentators Mr. Carlson and Ms. Ingraham.

“Don’t hop on our channel and continue to put down the other hosts on the channel,” Mr. Kilmeade said. “If you feel that negative about it, don’t come. For him to go out there and take shots on our prime-time lineup, without going on our prime-time lineup, shows to me absolutely no courage.”

Those comments hinted at a larger context: continuing tensions between Fox News’s reporting ranks and its star pro-Trump commentators.

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Mr. Buttigieg after the town hall event with Fox News in Claremont, N.H. President Trump gave it a chilly reception.CreditSarah Rice/Getty Images

Intramural squabbles at Fox News are not new, and the network has long insisted that its news and opinion sides operate separately. But the full-throated embrace of Mr. Trump by pundits like Sean Hannity, who has parroted the president’s “fake news” rhetoric, has roiled some Fox News reporters.

Earlier this month, Ms. Ingraham criticized Chris Wallace, the veteran news anchor and host of “Fox News Sunday,” for saying that the Department of Justice may have misled the public about the contents of the Mueller report. Later that day, Mr. Wallace called out “some opinion people who appear on this network who may be pushing a political agenda.”

On Sunday, Mr. Wallace, who was moderating Mr. Buttigieg’s town hall event, was again in the spotlight. Mr. Trump, in his pre-emptive tweet, compared the anchor unfavorably with his father, the former “60 Minutes” host Mike Wallace, and knocked him for praising Mr. Buttigieg’s “substance” and “fascinating biography.”

“Gee,” Mr. Trump wrote, “he never speaks well of me.”

That prompted a rare rebuke from Brit Hume, the Fox News senior political analyst. “Say this for Buttigieg,” Mr. Hume tweeted at the president. “He’s willing to be questioned by Chris Wallace, something you’ve barely done since you’ve been president.”

Mr. Hume added, “Oh, and covering candidates of both parties is part of the job of a news channel.”

Viewers have tuned in, too. About 1.1 million people watched Mr. Buttigieg on Sunday. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota drew 1.6 million viewers earlier this month. Senator Bernie Sanders’s Fox News town hall event was seen by 2.5 million people, the biggest TV audience yet for a candidate for the Democratic nomination. A Fox News town hall with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is scheduled for next month.

On Sunday night, Mr. Wallace did not contradict Mr. Buttigieg’s criticisms of Mr. Carlson and Ms. Ingraham. But even he seemed surprised at the warm reception for the mayor, exclaiming “Wow!” when the audience stood up to applaud at the end.

Mark McKinnon, a veteran political strategist, said he could understand why Mr. Trump might be alarmed at seeing potential rivals show up on his favorite network.

“Anyone who goes to a Fox town hall is going to come off better, more reasonable, more human, and not nearly as evil, ideological or stupid as they are currently being painted by the network,” Mr. McKinnon said. “The bar is low. Viewers will be pleasantly surprised when Democrats show up to town halls and they’re not wearing Mao caps.”

For Ms. Warren, such distinctions are moot. In opting out of a town hall event, she declared Fox News a propaganda outlet for the president and said that Democrats who go on the network only help its reputation and bottom line. Senator Kamala Harris of California has also announced a boycott.

Ms. Warren and Ms. Harris won plaudits for their stance from some liberals. But other Democratic campaigns say the channel remains a key venue to reach voters outside the party’s base.

“If you want to counterprogram Fox, you have to do it to their face,” said Lis Smith, who runs Mr. Buttigieg’s communications strategy. “We can’t just retreat to our self-reinforcing echo chambers.”

“If you want to talk to every voter, you have to meet them where they are,” Ms. Smith added.

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