Georgia state Rep. Jason Spencer (R) has resigned, after being pressured to step down following his appearance on Sacha Baron Cohen's new show, Who is America?
The office of Georgia House Speaker David Ralston made the announcement late Tuesday, and said Spencer will step down at the end of July. The episode featuring Spencer aired Sunday night, with Cohen telling Spencer he is an Israeli military expert who would teach him techniques for a counterterrorism video. Spencer ended up dropping his pants, pulling down his underwear, and yelling racial slurs.
After the episode aired, Spencer apologized and called it "ridiculously ugly," but refused to step down, saying the show "took advantage of my paralyzing fear that my family would be attacked." In May, Spencer lost the Republican primary, but would have remained in office until after the November election; the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that had he stayed on through January, it would have given Spencer eight years of service, making him eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for life. Catherine Garcia
U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun announced Wednesday he is resigning after eight years on the job, citing his recent cancer diagnosis as the reason why he is stepping down.
The 60-year-old did not attend the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang. The USOC's handling of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case has been criticized, and two U.S. senators and several of the victims, including Olympian Aly Raisman, have asked why the former USA Gymnastics doctor was able to abuse dozens of young women.
The USOC is conducting an independent review of when the USOC and Blackmun first learned of Nassar's abuse, and their response. The committee also plans on giving victims funding and other resources, The Associated Press reports. With Blackmun out, board member Susanne Lyons will serve as acting CEO. Catherine Garcia
South African President Jacob Zuma announced his resignation Wednesday in a nationally televised speech. Zuma has been at the center of several scandals during his nine-year tenure. As The New York Times says:
Influence-peddling in his administration was so widespread, according to the nation's former public protector, that it became a form of state capture in which Mr. Zuma's business partners or friends influenced government decisions in their personal interest.
Now, his departure as president leaves South Africa with a disillusioned electorate, a weakened economy, and a tarnished image in the rest of Africa. [The New York Times]
On Monday, the leadership of Zuma's party, the African National Congress, called for his resignation. Hours before he resigned, Zuma said such calls were "unfair," but after the ANC announced that it would move to hold a "no-confidence" vote against him in parliament, Zuma acquiesced to his party's demand, saying: "The ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as the president of the republic with immediate effect."
[BREAKING NEWS] Jacob Zuma has resigned as the President of South Africa - "I have come to the decision to resign with immediate effect." #ZumaResponds #ZumaRecall #ZumaResponds. Courtesy #DStv403 pic.twitter.com/YjlfWtLUZz
— eNCA (@eNCA) February 14, 2018
Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) announced Friday that he will retire from Congress at the end of his term, putting yet another Democratic congressional seat in Minnesota into play in the 2018 midterm elections, Politico notes.
Nolan's retirement forces Democrats to defend a seat in a district President Trump won in 2016 with 54 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton's 39 percent. Nolan, meanwhile, squeaked out a victory that year by only a little more than 2,000 votes.
The loss of Nolan comes after former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) was forced to resign late last year in relation to accusations of sexual assault. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) tapped Tina Smith to take Franken's place in the Senate, but Smith will be forced to defend her seat too in a special election in November. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), meanwhile, will also be on the ballot, while Rep. Tim Walz's (D-Minn.) decision to run for governor puts at risk a Democratic seat in Minnesota's competitive first congressional district.
Clinton won Minnesota overall by just 1.5 percentage points in 2016 — hardly a confidence boost for Democrats. Still, Nolan struck an optimistic note in the statement announcing his resignation, saying that his district had "a number of highly qualified people" and predicting that "with hard work and broad base of support, one of them … will serve with distinction in the next Congress." Nolan served two non-consecutive terms in the House of Representatives, the first from 1975-1981 and the second beginning in 2013.
Read his full statement below. Kelly O'Meara Morales
To the great people of Minnesota's 8th District: I am announcing today that I will not seek re-election.
The gratitude and affection I have for all of you here in Northern Minnesota is beyond my ability to express in words.
You can read my full statement below. pic.twitter.com/C2ef1u3P8l
— US Rep. Rick Nolan (@USRepRickNolan) February 9, 2018
Wynn Resorts founder Steve Wynn is stepping down as CEO and chairman of the company, with its current president, Matt Maddox, appointed to take over, Wynn Resorts' board of directors announced Tuesday night.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal published an article detailing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against the casino magnate. Wynn called the allegations "preposterous," but the stories kept coming out. Following the publication of the Journal's report, Wynn resigned as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Wynn released a statement on Tuesday saying he was "the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity," and he has "reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles." Board member Boone Wayson praised Wynn as an "industry giant" who "played the pivotal role in transforming Las Vegas into the entertainment destination it is today." He also said Wynn Resorts is "committed as ever to upholding the highest standards and being an inclusive and supportive employer," touting the fact that "more than 40 percent of all Wynn Las Vegas management are women; the highest in the gaming industry." Catherine Garcia
The president of Michigan State University is resigning, after being pressured for weeks to step down amid the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal, MSU announced Wednesday night.
Lou Anna Simon became MSU's first female president in 2005, and began her career at the university in the mid-1970s. Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor and former MSU doctor, pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. More than 150 women have accused him of abuse, and on Wednesday, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.
Several of the victims said they told MSU officials about the abuse but were silenced or ignored, the Detroit Free Press reports. Simon said she received a report in 2014 regarding Nassar being cleared in a sexual assault investigation, but did not see the full case file. While some members of the board of trustees called on Simon to step down, she had the support of others, as well as notable MSU employees, including basketball coach Tom Izzo.
UPDATE 12:04 a.m.: MSU released the resignation letter Simon sent to the board of trustees, which included an apology to the women who were abused by Nassar. "To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment," she wrote. "I know that we all share the same resolve to do whatever it takes to avert tragedies here and elsewhere." Catherine Garcia
Two months after blaming the NFL for lackluster sales, Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter will step down.
He will be replaced on Jan. 1 by Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie, who did not say if Schnatter's comments and the backlash he received had anything to do with his resignation. Schnatter, who founded Papa John's more than 30 years ago, told analysts during a conference call in late October that the way the NFL was handling national anthem protests "hurt Papa John's shareholders. This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago."
Papa John's is an NFL sponsor and advertiser, and the company later apologized for his remarks. Schnatter has long appeared in the company's advertisements, and Ritchie said Papa John's will decide next year if he'll stay on as spokesman. Catherine Garcia
On Tuesday, less than a week after he was accused of sexually harassing a producer he worked with and suspended by the company, Amazon Studios head Roy Price resigned, the studio confirmed to USA Today.
The Man in the High Castle producer Isa Hackett says that in 2015, Price repeatedly harassed and propositioned her, and after she rebuffed his advances, she told Amazon about what was happening. Price's resignation comes after dozens of women accused powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. Catherine Garcia