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Rutgers Roommate Trial
Aired March 1, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
Tyler Clementi killed himself after his roommate spied on his gay encounter and shared it with others. Is this an anti-gay hate crime or thoughtless digital bullying?
And are your kids at risk? Do they grasp the potential danger of sharing their lives digitally?
And hot for a teacher, a 41-year-old educator and 18-year-old student, a scandal, we are looking at that in my hot topic roundtable.
Let`s get started.
Thanks for joining us.
More testimony today in the trial of 20-year-old Dharun - Dharun Ravi. He was a freshman at Rutgers University who spied on his roommate. His roommate was gay. His name is Tyler Clementi, when Clementi was with another man.
The question that`s being asked tonight is, did this event, did the spying on this kid, lead to Clementi`s suicide? It`s a very serious question.
Ravi`s sensational trial is filled with fears and lies, even misconceptions. I`m telling you, most of what you`re seeing in the press about this story is actually it`s quite a bit muddier and less clearer than people have been making it. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): In August of 2010, Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi were paired as roommates at Rutgers University. They were strangers, but got along well.
In September, Clementi reportedly asked for private use of their room twice to spend time with a male visitor.
Prosecutors say Ravi and another student secretly set up a camera in the room to spy on the encounter and invited others to watch. There were instant messages, texts, tweets, teenagers gossiping in this digital age.
But for Tyler Clementi, who had only recently told his parents apparently that he was gay, the humiliation may have been unbearable.
A day after the second alleged spying incident, he jumped to his death from New York`s George Washington Bridge. Tyler`s final good-bye also posted in digital age method, simple and sad. The Facebook post read, "Jumping off the GW Bridge, sorry."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Social media have called this a civil rights gay bashing issue. Anti-bullying groups blog that they own this story. Is Clementi`s death a hate crime or simply a case of - that some are claiming young students who are victim of miscommunication brought on by the social media and kids just acting out in thoughtless ways.
Joining me, Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Eiglarsh. I`ve also got Erica "America" Hayden, a psychotherapist and Z100 radio personality. Also, radio host and social activist, B. - it says R.B. Scott. Is it B. Scott?
B. SCOTT, RADIO HOST, SOCIAL ACTIVIST: B. Scott.
PINSKY: B. Scott, OK. And Tucker Max joins me, I believe you`re by phone. He`s the author - oh, there you are, you`re in (INAUDIBLE). Excellent. Of course, the author of "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell."
Now, Tucker, do you know why I threw you in here?
TUCKER MAX, AUTHOR, "I HOPE THEY SERVE BEER IN HELL": No, actually I`m not sure.
PINSKY: All right. Because I know you have a proclivity to throw video cameras on yourself and your friends. You told me some pretty crazy stories about that.
PINSKY: Yes. You`re - and now you`re ashamed. The question is -
MAX: All right, well -
PINSKY: All right. So the question is this story is - is very complicated.
Some kids basically set up their computer in such a way that they could spy on this guy`s roommate. They - and as you read the story in "New Yorker Magazine" they have concerns about the guy he was with. They actually thought he might rip him off, or do something inappropriate with him, so they were kind of concerned about the kid`s safety, but they were kind of tantalize also what`s going on.
And they watched for a few seconds and then they chatted about it amongst themselves in sort of disgusting ways.
The question is, do you have anything to say about young people throwing cameras on themselves these days?
MAX: Well, I think there`s a distinction between putting a camera on yourself and putting a camera on somebody else and then posting the video of someone else without their permission. I mean they`re different things.
PINSKY: They didn`t post it. They didn`t post it it turns out. That`s being reported, but apparently that`s not what happened.
MAX: But as I understand - didn`t he talk about his roommate being gay, though, on Twitter or something?
PINSKY: Yes, yes. There was some talk. There was some very inappropriate sort of talking about it afterwards.
The kid who eventually killed himself, Clementi, did read that - that nasty stuff, and the question they`re trying to answer, did that eventually lead to his suicide?
But my question for you, Tucker, you`re someone, again, you`ve done this stuff. I don`t know anybody else but you that`s done it. And my question is, do you feel remorse now? Is this just something kids are more likely to do than ever before? I mean, how do I understand the context of a kid even thinking about doing this?
MAX: OK. Well, first off, of course I feel remorse. Like I`m not really sure there`s any way to do this. And then like you could do it in the moment and think it`s funny. But then later on when you look at it, obviously, if you have any sort of empathy at all, if you`re not a complete sociopath, then of course you`re going to be like, man, that was messed up. I shouldn`t have done that. It was really bad.
But, you know, when you`re like 20, 21, you don`t necessarily - or 19, you don`t necessarily think about these things at the time, which, again, doesn`t excuse what he did, but the thought process I think of a 19-year- old is something like boy, wouldn`t it be funny if I videotape this as opposed to really, like, thinking about, OK, what are the consequences of this? How would I hurt other people?
MAX: You don`t really think about -
PINSKY: Tucker, you said it. Then you write a book about it, right? But, anyway, but what you`re saying is exactly what I hoped you`d say. And my guests in studio are actually reacting to this, so who wants to go first?
SCOTT: I firmly believe that this is a hate crime, because there`s no way that this would have happened if it was a male and female. It is because it was two guys interacting and having sex with each other, that`s what made it into a spectacle, and that`s why they wanted to record it. And that`s why they, you know, talked to friends about it.
PINSKY: They were tantalizing afterwards.
ERICA "AMERICA" HAYDEN, RADIO PERSONALITY: This wasn`t an out guy. So, OK -
PINSKY: No, he was an out guy. He was out to his family. He just newly out before he left for college, but he was not securely out perhaps.
HAYDEN: I have a scenario for you. OK, so someone makes a mistake, they drink and they get into a car. Was there - is there intention to go and kill somebody? No. But if they do kill somebody, are they then responsible for the consequence?
PINSKY: Manslaughter, yes. Right.
HAYDEN: He made a mistake by invading his privacy and then trying to on Twitter potentially humiliate him. And there should be a consequence as well. I think he should get those 10 years. It`s not even like it is for manslaughter. It`s for invasion of privacy and there`s one other thing that it was forced.
So I believe he made a mistake and it was a mistake that he really had - he had a conscious choice to humiliate another boy because of his sexuality.
SCOTT: The incriminating part for me was the texting back and forth.
PINSKY: Yes. That`s when really it gets bad.
SCOTT: They were saying eww and yuck.
SCOTT: That really show -
PINSKY: And had lot of LO - LOL and (INAUDIBLE) and that kind of stuff.
But Mark, I want to go out to you, you heard what Erica said. You`re the - I thought Erica has a lot of (INAUDIBLE), too, but you`re the actual practicing attorney. What do you think about what she just said?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I completely disagree that he deserves 10 years. We could all agree that what he did was a gross error in judgment, but now we are in the criminal arena.
And the question is whether the prosecutors can prove bias intimidation, which is the up to 10-year crime, and they can do so in three ways. They can prove in two of the ways his intent and what he felt was his intention.
But the third way, which is the easiest way to do it is, to show that the victim felt intimidated and that he was targeted because he was gay.
Now, some of the tweets that the victim had where he said, "I thought this was sooo," with three Os - "funny," and that when he was told it might be a hate crime, he laughed about it, may be compelling evidence for the jury to say, you know what, I`m not ready to hang him on the main charge.
PINSKY: But, B., a part of it may be that this kid didn`t want a lot of attention drawn to him, he was newly out.
SCOTT: He was trying to down - he was trying to down play it. He was trying to make light of something that really hurt him.
PINSKY: Just think about being a freshman - a new freshman at college, you don`t want to make a big spectacle of yourself. You just want to fit in with your peers.
HAYDEN: This guy, Ravi, goes to Rutgers University. He is not an idiot. You know, the lawyer excused that he is a juvenile. He doesn`t know what he did. It was a stupid mistake. It just doesn`t stand.
SCOTT: And for me, you know, I was out at USC Chapel Hill. And I can only imagine if something like that happened to me, the embarrassment, the shame.
PINSKY: But that`s - but you - I have a bit of a question to you. Would you - the embarrassment and the shame, would it be so bad that would make you jump off a bridge? Can you imagine that (INAUDIBLE)?
SCOTT: Possibly. Possibly.
HAYDEN: Everybody reacts differently. Everyone reacts -
PINSKY: But you can imagine being in that spot. I can`t really - I don`t know what that is. You know, you say you can put yourself there.
SCOTT: Yes. When you`re in college, you`re figuring out everything and things to you are hypersensitive because you`re exploring them for the first time for yourself. And for you - you have peers judge you and to know exactly because they could see it, exactly your sexual experiences, you know, that`s embarrassing.
And it could lead someone that`s already dealing with issues and, you know, years of being ostracized and put down and bullied -
PINSKY: But he didn`t have a lot of that kind of stuff in his bag. And he seemed pretty comfortable. His parents were fairly accepting. His mom apparently is a little dismissive. But the fact is, would that be -
SCOTT: You never know.
PINSKY: But hang - you never know. I hear that. But you`re - you`re speaking on behalf of someone who can put themselves in that position.
My question is this, if you put yourself there, you try to down play it, does it make sense to you that that attempt at downplaying might have been real anguish?
SCOTT: I mean, it`s a defense mechanism.
PINSKY: It`s a defense. All right, thank you, Erica Shane (ph) and Tucker.
And next, how does it feel to be the victim? We`re going to talk about - we`ll talk to a young woman, we`re talking about being a woman in this position. She had her own private nude photos leaked to an entire school. What she has to say about this case may surprise you. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you concerned about the fact that you - you saw him making out and he wouldn`t know about it?
CASSANDRA CICCO, MOLLY WEI`S ROOMMATE: To be completely honest, no, it didn`t really occur that it was that big of a deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you want to see if Tyler was going to be in the room with somebody?
LOKESH OJHA, RAVI`S FRIEND, LIVED IN SAME DORM: I personally didn`t care.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you want to check to see whether or not Tyler was going to be with somebody?
OJHA: I mean, I clicked the link, so, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?
PINSKY: Tonight, the trial is underway for Dharun Ravi, a Rutgers student, charged with setting up a secret web cam allegedly to spy on his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, during a sexual encounter.
Now, the former captain of the Rutgers Ultimate Frisbee Team testified today saying, "Ravi brought up the fact that his roommate was gay several times and told him he planned to spy on his roommate with a webcam to," quote, "catch some sort of image of his roommate." Clementi later committed suicide after this incident, jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
I`m here tonight with the Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride; also radio host Erica "America" stays with me.
And I`m joined now by Ally Pereira. She had a situation similar to this, didn`t you, where personal photos were leaked. Can you - can relate to the humiliation that Tyler must have felt?
ALLYSON PEREIRA, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: Yes, I can most definitely relate. When I was 16, my ex-boyfriend forwarded a naked picture of me to everybody in his contact list and that it went viral through my entire high school.
PINSKY: Either of you, Erica or - or Ally, do you think the fact that this was two males together makes it in any way different? It seems to me that women have been victimized by this sort of voyeurism for quite some time. Do you guys agree with me?
PEREIRA: Yes, I agree with you. But I don`t think that it makes it any different. I don`t necessarily think that it`s a hate crime because I was tormented, and I don`t think that it was a hate crime, because during the civil rights movement, a hate crime is an absolutely terrible, terrible thought out crime.
And Ravi wasn`t there pushing Tyler Clementi off of the George Washington Bridge. And a hate crime is a crime where somebody has an intense hate and it is thought out, and Ravi did not hate gay people.
HAYDEN: I - I would have to disagree a tiny bit. Only that I think there was definitely intent the first time that he looked at the video camera. Maybe he was surprised, he found out that, you know, he was gay and he was, you know, having, you know, an interaction with a man.
But then to go back and tweet that you`re going to have a viewing party of this, I definitely think the fact that he was homosexual, had a huge part of this to that, oh, wow, you`re going to see guy on guy action.
I don`t think it would have been the same thing if he was with a girl, I really don`t.
PINSKY: And Shane, I`m going to go out to you. What about this being a hate crime, Shane?
SHANE WINDMEYER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CAMPUS PRIDE: Well, the definition of a hate crime is that there needs to be a bias motive as an intent. So I don`t think we have enough information.
I`ve been watching the trial. Our organization, Campus Pride, has been following this from the beginning, and I don`t know that we have enough information.
But it`s very disturbing. The fact that a young man today was sharing he`s curious, it was curiosity. The way he said it was just - it was really disturbing that we have young people today who have so much privilege being straight that they don`t see the repercussions of what it means to be gay and how difficult it is to come out.
PINSKY: Is the - is the gay community, Shane, fairly unified in its perception and outrage about this particular episode?
WINDMEYER: You know, I think that the gay community nationally is pleased that finally we`re talking about bullying and suicide of gay youth. It took seven kids in September of 2010 to die before nationally we started talking about these issues.
And so I do think we`re pleased as a national movement that we`re finally talking about lesbian, gay, transgender young people.
PINSKY: And is there any sort of perspective on how severe the punishment should be for this young man, Ravi?
WINDMEYER: Well, you know, I lost my dad to a drunk driver. And, you know, there`s never a punishment that will fit the crime, because you`ll always have lost Tyler, and the family will never find a punishment that will bring Tyler back.
And so, you know, the criminal system, the court system will decide what the punishment should be. Campus Pride, our organization, is focused on making sure that colleges take responsibility for students like Tyler in the future, and actually, you know, offer safe housing options, and a way for out gay students to identify on their college admission form, so that way colleges can be sure to retain them and make sure they succeed academically, and ultimately just feel safe on their campus.
PINSKY: Ally, I want to go back to you since you were the one that really had - I mean, none of us have actually been in this position. You as a young adolescent were in this position. How - how mortifying must it be? Can you tell us?
PEREIRA: It`s absolutely humiliating, and I can completely relate to Tyler, and I don`t think that it is something that just relates to sexuality, so I don`t think that it`s just strictly a hate crime because Tyler was gay.
So I think that you have to look at it that way. It`s absolutely humiliating. It`s mortifying. It`s embarrassing and it`s shameful because it puts the shame on you.
PINSKY: Ally, how old are you now? How old are you now?
PEREIRA: I`m 22. I`m 22 and it still follows me everywhere. I have to - I mean, I have to tell my employers -
PINSKY: All right. It`s - it`s awful.
Do you think people your age are just too casual about how you relate to the digital domain and pictures? And, you know, you actually are the one that sent the picture. In Tyler`s case, he was intruded upon, so there`s a little difference there.
But do you think you and your peers, I mean, you`re the youngest person on this panel here, do you think you guys are just too casual about all this?
PEREIRA: Yes. I mean, we live in a day and age of iPhones, Skype, of (INAUDIBLE). And I mean just the other day at work they were talking about apps where people were spying on their boyfriends or their husbands and tracking where they were, or they were logging onto their phone calls.
So is it just them being curious of Tyler`s sexuality and who was in the room? I don`t think you can say that. I think that maybe they were curious as to who was in the room because the man that he was with was a lot older, so I mean, that - you have to look at that, too. We live in a day and age where kids -
PINSKY: We do. Ally, I know what you`re saying. The fact that`s what - some of what the story, if you read the story, they were actually concerned about the safety of the roommate. It`s a complicated story.
Erica, I`ve about 40 seconds. Please close us out here. What are your final thoughts?
HAYDEN: Absolutely. I think there`s a bigger issue here at hand, and that`s education about social media. We are - not every kid has sex, we have sex education but every kid texts 24/7, and every kid is on Twitter, Facebook, so it needs to start in the schools and we have to be experiential about it and teach them that, you know, you have to be responsible and accountable for your online life.
PINSKY: Ally, you agree with that?
PEREIRA: Yes, I think so.
PINSKY: You all agree?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
PINSKY: OK. All right. Thank you, ladies. I appreciate you joining us.
Next up, how much do you know about what your kids are in fact doing and saying and tweeting and recording? Shane stays with me. We`re going to talk a little bit about that after the break. So don`t go away.
PINSKY: Tonight, digging deeper into the Rutgers suicide trial. Dharun Ravi faces charges of invasion of privacy, bias, intimidation and hindering apprehension. Prosecutors say he activated a webcam in his room from a friend`s laptop, and very briefly, but he did, watched his roommate Tyler Clementi kissing and engaging in physical contact with another man, his - his date for the night.
Ravi allegedly announced on Twitter what he had seen and invited Twitter followers, friends of his to watch again a few days later.
Ravi`s lawyers say he was immature, not prejudiced nor homophobic.
I`m here, again, with Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride.
And Shane, by way of wrap-up here, I mean, this is a very disturbing story in so many ways. I mean, a young man lost his life. And at very minimum, the chatter that went on amongst those other kids, the Twitter chatter and the e-mail chatter and the texting chatter showed, even though on the surface they were apparently tolerant and accepting of Clementi, it showed a glee and they exposed something deeper about their true feelings, did it not? Something we have to be aware of and vigilant about.
WINDMEYER: It did, and I think it`s cause for concern, not only at Rutgers University, but just across the country with the harassment and the discrimination and the bias that is still present for lesbian and gay people.
PINSKY: Is it - but it was sort of more challenging than that. I mean, it`s easy to say that he, you know, that they were homophobic, but the kind of - the way they were tantalized by it, the way the immaturity with which they approached it, I feel - I don`t know.
I want to talk to my own kids about this and make sure that they aren`t - you know, just superficially accepting but more realistically and deeply so.
Remember, they set up the camera in the first place to take pictures of two boys, eww, isn`t that exciting. You understand?
PINSKY: I mean there`s something kind of a little - we`re missing something I think.
WINDMEYER: You know, Dr. Drew, it`s disturbing. We`ve been following this case, you know, since Tyler committed suicide and we`ve been disturbed about a number of things related to privacy, related to - to the taunting that you were mentioning, and I think I really see it as a larger societal problem with reality television. I don`t think young people today understand privacy the way that maybe I did growing up. And I talk to college students all the time and cameras and reality TV is just another part of what they see as acceptable.
So it`s a larger societal issue and it`s good reason to sit down with your kids and talk to them about how, you know, it`s wrong to not only film someone but, you know, to act out on your bias, and in such an awful way.
PINSKY: Yes, Shane, I - that`s it. I think - I think you hit on it. There is that subtle bias that gets exposed, and importantly these issues of privacy, we raised our kids in front of cameras, we take pictures of them and shine video cameras, and our phones have video capabilities, they grow up with this. It`s part of the fabric of their landscape.
They see reality shows where television cameras follow people. I don`t think they really differentiate issues of privacy when it comes to these digital domains very well.
But Shane, thank you for joining us. I have to go. I have to take a break. These are all important issues we should all be talking to our kids about.
And up next, I`m taking your questions and calls.
And later, a teacher marries an 18-year-old. Check it out. Stay with us.
PINSKY: All right. Let`s get right to your comments and calls. Right ahead, I`ve got Shana in Florida. She`s on the phone. Hi, Shana.
SHANA, FLORIDA: Hi, Dr. Drew. I want to say I love the show. And --
PINSKY: Thank you very much.
SHANA: My question and comment would be regarding child sex abuse. I feel that we need to be teaching our children at a very early age that their private areas belong to them and only to them.
SHANA: And that it`s not OK for anyone to touch their private areas.
PINSKY: I think, of course, I think everyone agrees with you. But I tell you something, I`m so glad you brought this up, because last night, if you remember, I was talking to Brian Claypool, the attorney for the families who are alleging that something horrible happened to their kids, and he asked me pointblank, you know, what do we need to do. And I said -- Is it Shana or Shana?
SHANA: It`s Shana.
PINSKY: Shana. OK. What I said, Shana, was we need to get the kids to talk, which I -- but I left out, and I was sort of fretting about this last night. The part that you`re talking about, which is teaching kids to create good boundaries. What is and is not appropriate touching? What is and is not appropriate sort of closeness? What should feel uncomfortable or not, and to negotiate that with the kids.
Get them talking about it so they don`t feel uncomfortable either, A, of course, getting a sense of what those boundaries ought to be, and B, should somebody violate those boundaries, they don`t feel uncomfortable coming to you. Would you agree with that?
SHANA: I absolutely agree. And when do you recommend that -- when do you recommend we, like, at what age do we start talking to our children about this?
PINSKY: You know, as soon as they can understand it. You know, they`re going to start asking questions as soon as they have language. Do you have kids?
PINSKY: OK. What age is that?
SHANA: I have a son, and he`s eight. He`s eight. Eight years old.
PINSKY: So, you know, he started asking questions when he was like two, three, four, right, and touching things and pushing things.
PINSKY: Right. And it`s normal and you don`t shame them for all that, but you sort of teach them what propriety is and what a boundary is and how to maintain that and then how to talk to you about it. I really appreciate the call, Shana. I appreciate it.
SHANA: Thank you.
I got now Pat from Park City, Utah -- my pleasure. Pat, you`re on the line there. Go right ahead.
PAT, PARK CITY, UTAH: My grandson has been selling marijuana. My 19- year-old granddaughter overdosed about a month ago, and she almost died. The problem is we`re surrounded by enablers that include mom, dad, and even grandparents. I`ve become the bad guy, so they don`t want to talk to me any more, and I can`t let go of this. What do you advice?
PINSKY: Oh, my dear. These are stories I hear way too often. Can you get the adults to behave themselves? Can you get them to an Al-Anon, meaning a 12-step, something where they learn how to handle this condition of addiction, because here`s a thing.
Let`s have a little sympathy for the parents. Because I see so much of this, and -- are you a recovering person yourself or something? How do you know how to handle yourself?
PAT: No, I`m not, but I`m actually in school to become an addiction counselor because of this.
PINSKY: OK. OK. OK. So, you have a deep understanding. And you`ve seen what I`ve seen, which is parents doing the enabling, not doing what`s appropriate. I`m very hardcore about this with my own family, because I`ve seen it go so bad with families that don`t do it. And it`s so funny, my dear, you know, people come in to my office all the time and say, I`ll do anything for my kids.
But when I say go to Al-Anon, they`re like, yes, what else can I do? And the one thing you can do is learn to change the dance. Change the dance you`re engaged in with the kids. And I mentioned this couple of times in the show. For me, the disease of addiction is like the plant in the little shop of horrors. If you`re around the plant, it will suck you on in, will take you in somehow.
And unless you have something outside to help you make good decisions, because every instinct you have, every normal parenting kind of notion, every usual parenting impulse is wrong when your kids have addiction.
And so, if you can get them to an Al-Anon meeting, get maybe some reading material on co-dependency, that`s about all you can do, and maybe bring the bottom to bear on the grandkids. You know what I`m talking about? I mean, make things go, you know, if they`re breaking the law, enforce the law. OK?
PAT: Well, the dad -- they live with dad. Dad seems to think that this is just kind of something they`re going through. I think he`s in a little bit of denial. And now, he`s just throwing his hands up. So, he`s not really open. He`s just kind of given up.
PINSKY: I`m sorry, Pat. Again, do not give up. I`ve seen miracles. Don`t give up. But it sounds like these kids are a long way from bottom, and they may not want help, too, by the way. You know what, the people who don`t want help, you can`t help them. So, may be awhile before they want to hear your message. Thanks for the call. I do appreciate it.
We`ve got an e-mail from Sammy. Sammy says, "You and a few guests were discussing Angelina Jolie being too thin. Why is it OK to have a headline calling someone too thin when it would be obviously not be OK to have one asking if someone is too fat? Sometimes, stress in life can cause weight loss and doesn`t mean she has a drug problem or eating disorder. She`s a person, too."
You know -- was that Sammy? Yes, Sammy, I think that`s a great comment, and the fact that celebrities are people just like the rest of us is very much the point I`m trying to make. I, myself, kind of know when there`s really a problem going on, and maybe, by talking about it, we cannot have another person head towards demise as we`ve had so many celebrities do in the last five or six years.
I can not talk about it. And by the same token, it`s important for young people not to look at this as an ideal. It`s not something that should be striving for. We should call it what it is and talk about it, but I agree with you. Labeling people, generally, really -- I try to avoid that. I understand what you`re saying, and I think it`s a great point.
Pamela writes, "I was on strong narcotics for pain for 15 years. One month ago, I stopped cold turkey. It`s very difficult but it`s doable. I want others to know it`s so worth it." It`s a great comment. And listen, the thing that concerns me the most is that most people won`t go through the misery. They want an easier, kinder, softer way to get through it, and there are ways we can make it a little easier for you, but listen.
Anybody can get off opiates, the standard opiates, standard pain killers in about five to seven days. It`s not that big a deal to get off. Staying off is the hard part. And if you end up on one of these medicines that tapers you down and you don`t taper down to zero, you end up on chronic opiates. They`re not as bad as the ones you were taking, I`ll grant you that, but you`re on chronic opiates.
And the question I was asked my peers is, how come we don`t treat physicians that way. We don`t consider anything other than abstinence, complete abstinence, as the appropriate end point for our peers. Why do we have all these other intermediate places for our patients? I understand if somebody is hopeless or somebody really doesn`t want any other way of doing things. Fine.
Great option. But, if your kids, my kids, I don`t know about that. Now as most of you probably know, Davy Jones from the Monkees died this week. Here`s what you`re saying about that. We`ve got Candice (INAUDIBLE) oh, my God. It`s so sad watching that. She says, "I remember watching the show as a little girl. I loved seeing Davy do his little dance with either the tambourine or the maracas."
Do you have any pictures of that you can show us, guys, in the control room? It doesn`t look like the maracas or the tambourine dance, but that definitely is The Monkees. That`s Davy Jones. Very sad. Very young man. We`re hearing a heart attack, I think -- still saying that? Yes.
All right. We`ve got another Facebook from Robert. He writes, "My favorite episode," The Monkees, he`s talking about, "was the one with the spies, and of course, Brady Bunch episode." They all kind of seem the same to me. I don`t know like --
PINSKY: -- my favorite episode, but it was really part of my childhood, too. And, it something will be sadly missed.
All right. That brings us to -- speaking of Davy Jones, some equally troubling and startling news I was awakened with this morning. A dear friend of the show, there he is, Andrew Breitbart, was just becoming one of our favorite guests. You may agree with him, you may not. He died at just 43. He was known for having very strong opinions. He was a polarizing figure, and he always kept the conversation going.
He tried to have abject honesty. I know people accused him of all kinds of things, but for me, he was there for us. He had an opinion. He wasn`t afraid. He was fearless. He wasn`t afraid to give an opinion, and it created great thought, and I appreciated that. And he really was becoming somebody I had dear admiration for.
And wish he could be here today. It`s very sad. Our thoughts go out to his family. He left some children behind and a wife. This is a terribly, terribly sad story. I`ll leave you with a quote from his website. It states, "I love my job, I love fighting for what I believe in, I love having fun while doing it, I love reporting stories that the mainstream media complex refuses to report, I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and famously, I enjoy making enemies."
Oh, my goodness. We are thinking about Andrew`s wife and his four children and we wish them the best. And, I will think of him fondly. And I think I will adopt some of that text as a policy for my broadcasting. We`ll be back after this.
PINSKY: All right. Now, tonight, it is time to discuss some of the topics, the hot topics that have everyone talking. I`m going to try to help everyone sort of make sense and understand what is really going on with these stories.
We`re going to talk about a California teacher who resigns, leaves wife and kids, and moves in an 18-year-old student he met while teaching. We`ll talk about when that relationship actually started.
Lindsay Lohan, we`re going to talk about her. She said she`s sober. She`s on the "Today" show. Well, we`ll talk about that.
Also, a lesbian couple says they were kicked out of a fancy restaurant on their anniversary after sharing a quick kiss. Were they kicked out because of sexual orientation?
Joining me now to help me make sense of these stories, criminal defense attorney, Darren --
PINSKY: Host of "Deadly Sins" on Investigation Discovery. I`m just going to stick with first name. Radio host and activist B. Scott. I`ve also got Judge Penny Brown Reynolds who`s the hose of "Family Court with Judge Penny," and relationship and celebrity commentator, author of "The Yoga Club, Cooper Lawrence.
Cooper, I`m going to start with you with the Lindsey story. She was on "Today" show. She says she wants to get her career back on track. What do you think? Is that likely?
COOPER LAWRENCE, RELATIONSHIP AND CELEBRITY EXPERT: Of course, she does. She`s broke. Wouldn`t you want to get a job if you are broke?
The thing that`s interesting is, you know, nobody wants to insure her, because they`re afraid she`s a risk, because, you know, if she`s a drug addict, if she ends up on the set drunk, any of that kind of thing, she`s really in trouble, and she`s going to cost them money.
Thing is when she was there talking to Matt Lauer, only addicts I know, when you say, when did you get sober, they go, February 23rd. She wasn`t quite sure on the date she got sober. So, as much as I`d like for her to do well, I like her as an actress, I don`t have high hopes for her.
PINSKY: Darren, you`re making the same assessment?
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, well, that`s a tell- tell sign. People with the sobriety date know their sobriety date.
PINSKY: What you call a tell on sobriety.
KAVINOKY: Yes, exactly.
PINSKY: Somebody goes 23 days and -- 23, 16 hours.
KAVINOKY: Right. And 12 minutes, but who`s counting.
KAVINOKY: But, you know, on the "Today" show, I think she talked the talk, and the question is whether or not she`s going to walk the walk.
PINSKY: Well, I`ve got some footage. Here she is on "Today" show with Matt Lauer. Let`s take a look at this, talking about her sobriety and her thoughts on Whitney Houston. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, HOST, TODAY SHOW: When you heard the news of her death, did any of it register on a personal level with you?
LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: I don`t -- not really. I don`t -- I wouldn`t like to -- I don`t want to go there.
LAUER: You clean and sober?
LOHAN: Yes, I`m good. And I`m clean and sober.
LAUER: Yes. How long has that been?
LOHAN: It`s been awhile. It`s been a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Now, I want to give her a (INAUDIBLE) little break. Doing the "Today" show. Give her one little break, which is when you come from the west coast and do the "Today" show at seven or eight o`clock in the morning, it`s tough.
PINSKY: But B., you have something to say about that?
B. SCOTT, RADIO HOST, SOCIAL ACTIVIST: You know, for me, I always am rooting for Lindsey. She`s so talented. She`s a great actress, but in the clip I just saw, she seemed like she was kind of under the influence of some drugs.
PINSKY: And the scary thing is it`s probably a sleeping medication she took while traveling or something. And for somebody like her, that is a loaded gun. Judge Penny, do you think the courts were too lenient with her or do you think they`ve got her, perhaps, they`ve helped her in some way and got her on track?
JUDGE PENNY BROWN REYNOLDS, HOST, "FAMILY COURT WITH JUDGE PENNY": Well, I think, I can understand what the judge did initially, understanding that this is a disease, and she was trying to give her somewhat of a pass. But she never quite understood that probation was a privilege and not a right.
And I think had the judge, I know personally, I would have taken a little tougher stance with her, because she never suffered the consequences for her actions. And she always thought she could get by. And at 25 years old now, and this took place back maybe when she was 19 or so, it just kept going on and on.
I think had some boundaries been set, particularly by the court, this could have helped to curtail some of this behavior. But you know for yourself, Dr. Drew, this is something she has to want. And we could sit down and play the blame game all we want.
But I think that -- until she comes to a realization that she`s valued and that her life is worthy of more, then nothing is ever going to change.
PINSKY: Penny, well said, well said, judge. Now, another story in the news, very disturbing. This is a teacher, a 41-year-old teacher, leaves his wife and kids for an 18-year-old student. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think I look at her as a student at all. I think we, I mean, we are sharing life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People don`t agree because of the age difference and because he was a teacher and I was his student, but I think it`s a normal relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAVINOKY: His daughter is a junior at that high school.
PINSKY: Darren what was that now? The daughter --
KAVINOKY: His daughter is a junior at that high school.
PINSKY: Was that her we were watching? That`s the girl he`s --
KAVINOKY: That`s the girl he`s now dating.
PINSKY: Why isn`t this guy go to jail?
KAVINOKY: Well, here`s the deal, as a criminal defense lawyer, I`ll say this. When that girl turned18, she was old enough to fight and die for her country, she`s old enough to choose who she wants to date. As the father of a ten-year-old girl --
PINSKY: Thank you.
KAVINOKY: -- the ick factors off the charts. I expect Chris Hanson from "Date Line," NBC to walk out with a pitcher of sweet tea at any moment --
SCOTT: But it`s terrible.
SCOTT: The issue, for me, is that you don`t know when this relationship started. She just turned 18.
KAVINOKY: Oh, she was in high school when the relationship started, because she`s still in high school. And now, she may be the step-mom to somebody who`s just a year behind.
PINSKY: Just any 41-year-old guy dating somebody under 30 --
SCOTT: It`s creepy.
PINSKY: Creepy, that`s right. Wait until this girl is 40 herself, looks back, oh, my God. This is the kind -- my peers did something like this with a high school age kid? It`s disgusting.
SCOTT: And just looking at that clip, she looks like she`s 12.
PINSKY: I absolutely --
KAVINOKY: He`s cutting the crust off of her PB and J sandwiches, and she`s taking the lid off his Geritol.
PINSKY: But he left kids, left the family, it makes me nuts. Cooper, you have any comment about this?
LAWRENCE: I was going to say there`s a great deal of research that shows that girls that get involved in this relationships and the moment they go, he`s so great, he`s so much older, he treats me well. And then, in retrospect, later on, like the longitudinal studies, they look back, and they say, God, what was I thinking like that guy was so creepy, and he`s sewing his oats with me, and I can`t believe he was almost like a pedophile, and they realize later --
LAWRENCE: At 18, you don`t realize the consequences of your actions.
PINSKY: He`s taking advantage of a kid that has some vulnerability. She was abandoned in some way.
LAWRENCE: He`s a teacher. Exactly.
PINSKY: He`s a teacher. He has a boundary to maintain. Big people take care of little people, they don`t exploit them. Now on to two ladies booted out of an Arizona bar for kissing. Is kissing a crime or was a crime committed against them. B., what do you think?
SCOTT: I was totally disgusted by that. you know, two people in love have the right to express it in a way that`s not like -- it wasn`t like they were fondling each other and touching each other`s privates. They just kissed.
KAVINOKY: I can`t believe that it`s 2012 and we`re really still talking about this. I see it as a civil rights issue. Where do you draw the line? Is it Black people kissing White people? At some point, this gets eroded. And it`s offensive.
PINSKY: Your honor, that`s the logic that was used in the gay marriage controversy, and it stood up in the Supreme Court, then in California, a referendum overturned it.
SCOTT: It really goes to show that, you know, in terms of discrimination basing your sexuality, it`s still acceptable in some places. And the thing is --
REYNOLDS: And what can you do about it is if I was in that place and someone was trying to kick them out, I would have stood up and said something about it.
PINSKY: Like loud?
SCOTT: Yes, loud, like don`t kick them out because they just kissed. You know, that is unacceptable.
KAVINOKY: The silver lining, though, is that we`re talking about it now, and hopefully, from that --
PINSKY: We are talking, but I have to stop talking, because coming up, I have a reality TV star who is pregnant or maybe not. What does this mean for upcoming episodes of MTV hit "Jersey Shore." Stay with us. We`ll talk about that and more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONAN O`BRIEN, HOST, CONAN: It`s being reported that Snooki is pregnant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-oh.
O`BRIEN: Have you heard this? Yes. Yes. When Rick Santorum heard the news, he immediately came out in favor of birth control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And it just became national news. Thank you for making it as such by hooking in Rick Santorum. Earlier this week, MTV reality star, Snooki, caused a stir when she denied being pregnant, but it turns out the "Jersey Shore" star may, in fact, be pregnant after all. I don`t know why she would be denying it if it`s true.
Cooper, you had Snooki on your show last week. Any new info you got for us?
LAWRENCE: Yes, you know, this is like the movie, "Idiocracy." It`s like the smart people go, you know, I`m not mature enough to have kids yet, and the dumb drunks just have sex and have as many kids as they possibly can without abandon. It reminds me of that. And, you know, she`s certainly sweet enough, but not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.
And I guess, if you get drunk enough, eventually, a condom is not going to work, you`re going to forget to use birth control. And I just wish she was more mature, and I wish she made this decision because she was ready to have a kid. I worry for that child.
PINSKY: Yes, no kidding. Well, I mean, listen, what`s the new data that half the kids are born with a single parent now? We`ve exceeded -- we`ve surpassed a two-parent family as the most common place
KAVINOKY: Two words here, Dr. Drew, Rosemary`s baby. We`re going to have -- or a bright orange fist pump (INAUDIBLE). But I want to know, from a medical stand point, as a doctor, how old does that child need to be before they can go inside the tanning bed. That`s the critical issue.
PINSKY: Just so you know, he or she has already been there, I`m sure.
KAVINOKY: Or maybe was conceived there.
SCOTT: And reportedly she`s working on a spinoff.
PINSKY: We were saying, I guess, there`s going to be a Snooki series or something. So, Snooki is to "Jersey Shore" as teen mom is to "16 and Pregnant."
SCOTT: And I just can`t bear to watch her. I mean, hopefully, she does a great job, and she`s a great mother, but I can`t watch her being a train wreck on, you know, on reality TV.
PINSKY: It`s hard to watch.
SCOTT: Seeing her with a child will be too much for me.
PINSKY: And we don`t know. Maybe she was drinking while she was pregnant. (INAUDIBLE) show on fetal alcohol syndrome. Who knows?
SCOTT: Oh, my goodness.
PINSKY: Judge penny, I want to go out to you one more time. I didn`t get a chance to get to you on that couple being having been kicked out of the restaurant for kissing. Did you have any opinion about that? That really troubled us here in the studio.
REYNOLDS: Yes, I sort of agreed. And I`m just happy that it gave -- if anything that a silver lining that can come out of it is that it gives us an opportunity to talk about it. So, all the people who are so judgmental, you know, everything doesn`t revolve around New York and California. You know, I`m here in the south and Atlanta.
And I just think it`s a wonderful opportunity to be able to talk about it. But let me weigh in on the Snooki thing, please. Let me be able to say as a parent and grandparent, and to all of the young people who are looking at her as a role model, she`s not a role model. She`s not someone you should be emulating.
And what it just talks to me about, it says to me that our society, where`s the moral outrage in what we put up as a role model? And so, it`s just in a long line of not having -- having babies before your time. And I just think it`s ridiculous. So, I wanted to be able to say to all the teenagers out there, this is not behavior you want to use as something to emulate. Thank you for letting me weigh in on that.
PINSKY: We completely agree with you, but I want to emulate Judge Penny, because I want to look as young and good as she does when I`m a grandparent. I can`t believe you`re a grandparent.
PINSKY: That is stunning, stunning.
REYNOLDS: Keep talking, Dr. Drew. Keep talking. I love it.
PINSKY: OK. I want to thank my panel. I want to thank Cooper, I want to thank B. Scott, Judge Penny, and of course, I`m not going to attempt your last name again, Darren, but one of these days I will learn it.
Thank you all for watching.