News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Colleagues Rally Around Justin Fairfax Accuser

Photograph by Evy Mages

About Washingtonian Today

Washingtonian Today is not just another political news roundup. Instead, this daily morning brief provides local context on national news, catches you up on what’s happening at Washingtonian, points you toward super duper awesome things to do around town, and lets you in on some special events going on in-house. Sign up here to receive Washingtonian Today in your inbox every morning.

Good Thursday morning! As you get this email, the President will be delivering remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. Be sure to watch my Twitter feed, where I’ll send out excerpts as I receive them.

Friends and colleagues of Vanessa Tyson, the California professor who accuses Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, are tweeting messages of solidarity with the hashtag #IBelieveVanessa and #MeTooPoliSci—a tag aimed at those in the political science community. Nadia E. Brown, an associate professor at Purdue, helped spearhead the #MeTooPoliSci movement in support of another woman last year. Now, she the hashtag is trending again in support of Tyson. There’s also a Slack group for MeTooPoliSci, which anyone can request to join. The Women’s Caucus for Political Science has released a letter in support of Tyson.

Brown, along with Melissa Michelson, have started a GoFundMe for Tyson’s legal fees. They’ve currently reached $13,000 of their $20,000 goal.

Virginia Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton sent out a message of support last night, tweeting: “I believe Dr. Vanessa Tyson.”

It’s downright Shakespearean: Tyson has retained Katz, Marshall & Banks, the law firm that represented Christine Blasey Ford. Fairfax has retained the services of Wilkinson Walsh Eskovitz, the same firm that represented Brett Kavanaugh.

Hello, I’m your author, Brittany Shepherd. Email me with comments at or questions and follow me on Twitter. Sign up for this newsletter here.

In case you missed it: Everything is a mess so please look at this picture of Gritty on Capitol Hill.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

  • Is it possible to walk from Crystal City (the artist soon to be known as National Landing) to the airport? We gave it a try.
  • Here are 17 earrings you could surprise me—or like, a “girlfriend”—with this Valentine’s Day.
  • This Capitol Hill staffer’s fashion icon is the…Duke of Windsor. (Somebody call Roger Stone!)
  • We spoke to the zoo—here’s what happens when a baby gorilla breaks its little leg
  • Skip the moonwalk and consider going to one of these events for Black History Month.
  • Didn’t get drafted to the Space Force? No biggie. Just pay $5,000 and hop in this zero-G plane for the next best thing.

Our pick for things to do around town:

ART Local artist Robin Bell presents “Open,” an installation of lights and projections, at the Flagg Building at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at the George Washington University. The installation is a prelude to “6.13.89″, an exhibition that opens later this year and reflects on the climate that that led to the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s cancellation of a Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective 30 years ago; Bell also intends his work to spark conversations about censorship and the rights granted by the First Amendment. Through March 31; opening night February 7, free, 6 PM.

Good reads:

What can Democrats earn from the mess in Virginia? Peter Hamby has a few insightful thoughts. (Vanity Fair)

Big events from Washingtonian:

Yo!!!!!!!!! Washingtonian is starting a new interview series, and I’m going to host the first one!!!!! Join me and Brad Jenkins, a veteran of both the Obama administration and Funny or Die’s DC office, for a discussion on what it’s like to work in the White House, how Americans get their information, how to make policy entertaining, and more! Listen: The bar is open, the laughs will be plentiful, and I’ll probably sing and dance for you guys or something. I take requests, but I have a preference for disco. It’s happening on February 27. I really, really, really hope to see you there. Get tickets here.

Our food critic, Ann Limpert, chats with readers every Friday at 11 AM. It’s always a fun discussion–read last week’s transcript here! You can leave her a question in advance right now, and she’ll get to as many as she can on Friday morning.

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.