The Week Unwrapped: Real-life Succession, Iranian football and China’s #MeToo moment

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Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Business leadership, Succession-style

The latest episode of Sky Atlantic’s Succession has drawn attention to the changing personal qualities of CEOs in the contemporary world. On screen, two old-school media tycoons with alpha personalities and waning acumen were threatening to wreak havoc on their businesses – not to mention the wider world. But in the real world, 21st-century corporate leadership seems to demand an even more unusual personality type: in a nutshell, ruthless but empathetic and likeable. 

Iranian goalkeepers

After a Women’s Asian Cup qualifier in which Iran beat Jordan 4-2 on penalties, the president of the Iranian football association has demanded a “gender verification check” on the Iranian goalkeeper, Zohreh Koudaei. She has previously been the subject of unsubstantiated gossip in Arabic newspapers, and the Iranian authorities say Jordan’s complaint is no more than sour grapes. But the case has reopened the debate about gender in sport – and focused attention on Iran’s policies on gender-reassignment surgery.

#MeToo in China

Concerns have been growing for Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. On 2 November, the 35-year-old alleged on the Chinese social media platform Weibo that she had been coerced into sex by former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli. Her post was swiftly deleted and searches for her name, as well as ‘tennis’, were blocked. More than two weeks later, all we’ve heard from Shuai is a strange email purporting to be from her, shared by Chinese state media – but its authenticity has been questioned. Are these events a win for the #MeToo movement or Chinese censorship?

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