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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Thousands Stranded on Crippled Ship; Interview with Jane Fonda

Aired February 13, 2013 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBIN MEADE, GUEST HOST: Hell on the high seas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I promise you none of my family members that are on there will probably ever, ever take another cruise.

MEADE: The Carnival Cruise nightmare. Four thousand stranded on that crippled ship, slowly being pushed ashore. Family members anxiously awaiting for its arrival join us tonight.

And I'll talk to a doctor about the real health threat on that ship.

DR. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, INTERNAL MEDICINE: This really is a floating Petri dish.

MEADE: Also guns in America. The president's big push for a sweeping new ban.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: From the two months since Newtown, more than 1,000 birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

MEADE: I'll talk to the husband of the school psychologist who died at Sandy Hook.

Plus, the legendary Jane Fonda on life, love, and her message for women everywhere.

This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MEADE: Good evening, I'm Robin Meade. And normally you're going to find me on HLN's "Morning Express," but I'm here tonight and thank you to Piers and everyone who normally watches him for allowing me to sit in. It is an honor.

We have a lot of news to get to. We start with that 900-foot, 14-story cruise ship that is adrift this hour in the Gulf of Mexico. And the growing desperation and anger for the thousands trapped on it.

The ship is called the Triumph and it's slowly being slowly towed to land. It should arrive in Mobile, Alabama, tomorrow afternoon. What it means, though, is another long night of suffering for the people who are enduring deplorable conditions.

A fire knocked out the ship's propulsion system that was on Sunday. That was Sunday. And what began as a four-day vacation is turning into an absolute nightmare for them and for their family members.

Now Carnival is giving passengers $500 in return, but is that really enough? Now they're giving some other things, too, that we'll get to. But with me right now from Mobile, Alabama, are Kim McKerreghan and Mary Poret, and their daughters are good friends. Their daughters are on the ship together. They are stranded passengers with their mothers on the shore.

This must be driving you crazy.

KIM MCKERREGHAN, DAUGHTER IS ON CARNIVAL TRIUMPH: Very much.

MARY PORET, DAUGHTER IS ON CARNIVAL TRIUMPH: Very much driving us crazy. We're ready to see our babies.

MCKERREGHAN: Ready.

MEADE: I bet you are, Kim. So, Kim McKerreghan and Mary Poret, your daughters have known each other for years, and did you have any concerns about them going on vacation together?

MCKERREGHAN: Oh, not at all. They -- you know, their fathers are very good friends. You know, and they're -- they hang out all the time. The kids get to hang out all the time. So it was not a question of a doubt of letting them go on a trip with their fathers. We know they're in good hands.

MEADE: So when was the last time you guys heard from your daughters and what did they say? What was the communications?

PORET: The last time and the only time I've heard from my daughter was on Monday. And that was about 30 hours after the fire. And she called me at work. I'm a teacher. I pulled my phone into my office. And when I spoke to her, she was hysterical, crying hysterically. She was scared. She didn't know what was going to happen next. And what broke my heart the very most was her saying, mommy, I don't know if I'll ever see you again. That's really hard to hear from your 12-year-old daughter when you're trying to hold it together for her.

MCKERREGHAN: And they called us at the same time, so I could hear Rebecca over my daughter, you know, through her phone talking to her mom, and I've got mine, you know, just this gut wrenching crying, momma, please just come get me. Just come get me. It's so hot. I don't want to be here, momma. Just come get me, please.

MEADE: What --

MCKERREGHAN: You know, and just to hear that.

MEADE: Yes. MCKERREGHAN: Your heart stops. Your stomach just knots up and you just want to fall to the ground. But you don't. You pick yourself up and you get to your kid.

MEADE: What information do you guys have about what they are putting up with as passengers? I mean, we hear, OK, that there's very little sewage, there's very little running toilets and very little food. But what did they tell you?

MCKERREGHAN: Monday I told --

PORET: Monday -- right.

MCKERREGHAN: I talked to Carmel, who's my ex-husband, and he told me that they had just eaten onion sandwiches and that they were asking to use the red plastic bags to use the restroom in, and they had some fruit. They did have some water, but it was warm bottled water. And the conditions were just getting worse.

PORET: What my daughter told me, I tried not to focus on the negative, I tried to focus on the fact that I was her momma and I loved her and I missed her and I was going to do everything I could to make sure she was OK. But what she did tell me is she said that very first night, that Sunday night after the fire, they slept in the hall with no power, no air, no air circulation, in the total and complete darkness, dark -- so dark that you can't see your finger in front of -- in front of your face. The darkest dark.

MEADE: How scary.

PORET: And that bothers me to sleep -- you know, for my 12-year- old daughter to sleep on the floor.

MEADE: Yes. I --

PORET: In the hallway when she's supposed to be on a pleasurable vacation. It was very hard to hear that.

MEADE: You know, I actually interviewed a man who said that his wife told him she had slept in the lifeboat, the lifeboat outside because she wanted the air and don't want to be like your daughters in the hallway because the smell was so sick.

Now Carnival says --

MCKERREGHAN: Right.

MEADE: New information was that they were going to offer $500, as well as a refund, as well as a replacement trip, and I think an extra trip, if I have that correct, a full refund, you can see it on your screen, nonrefundable transportation costs, prepaid shore excursions, gratuities, government fees and taxes. Is any of this enough? I mean, what do you want to make it better?

MCKERREGHAN: Right now I think we just want them home and want them in our arms. PORET: Right.

MCKERREGHAN: Just like everybody on that ship wants to get off that boat. You know and --

PORET: There are 4,000 people on that boat that are -- that have someone waiting for them out here, just like we're just two.

MCKERREGHAN: And I think after they get settled on land and they get it behind them a little bit, I think it will start to settle and they're just going to realize it's probably not going to be enough for what they've gone through.

MEADE: Did you guys hear anything about --

(CROSSTALK)

MCKERREGHAN: And they have survived at sea.

MEADE: Yes, yes. They did.

MCKERREGHAN: They did. They opened the bar up and they were serving alcohol.

MEADE: Wow.

PORET: We did.

MEADE: Wow. OK, which one of you brought --

(CROSSTALK)

MCKERREGHAN: Bunch of drunk, angry, starving people.

MEADE: Yes, right. Drunk --

(CROSSTALK)

PORET: Yes, I did. I --

MEADE: Did one of you bring antibiotics?

MCKERREGHAN: I sure did. I -- we both did actually. We contacted our doctors and told them what was going on with the situation, that our daughters were on there. And they went ahead and they gave us an antibiotic to go ahead and take with us to get our daughters started on, because we weren't sure we were getting them off.

MEADE: Right.

MCKERREGHAN: When we were going to be able to bring them up to the doctor's office.

PORET: You know, we don't know what kind of conditions they're in. I mean, we're dealing with staph infections and hepatitis and Norovirus and any of a number of other things than they walk off the ship with.

MEADE: Better safe than sorry. Kim McKerreghan and Mary Poret.

PORET: Better safe than sorry.

MEADE: Yes, what a nice Valentine's it's going to be when you have those your daughters in your arms.

You guys, thank you for talking with us.

(CROSSTALK)

MEADE: Yes. Thank you.

PORET: Thank you.

MCKERREGHAN: Thank you.

PORET: Thank you very much.

MEADE: You bet. Are cruise ships worth the risk? Let's ask our expert here joining us tonight. Jason Clampet is the co-founder and the head of content for Skift.com.

I didn't want to say when the moms were on here, but there were reports too that the stabilization system on the boat, that takes power. So the boat is listing.

JASON CLAMPET, CO-FOUNDER AND HEAD OF CONTENT, SKIFT,COM: Yes.

MEADE: I can't imagine the thought of your kid out on the deck sleeping -- you know, or whoever out there and the boat is listing.

CLAMPET: And when the power goes out, as it did, they have backup systems that can back up generators, but they only manage the most important functions.

MEADE: Yes.

CLAMPET: That's the navigation and keeping lights on --

MEADE: Wow.

CLAMPET: Up on the -- up top.

MEADE: The reason we had you on tonight, I wanted to know what rights do you have as a traveler? Who buys a cruise? So you're paying and you're probably hitting I agree on something that you signed your life away on a boat that is probably flagged in the Bahamas. So as an American traveler, what do you got?

CLAMPET: You don't have a lot. You know, there's a ton of fine print kind of whenever you travel. You know, not to pick on the cruise industry but whether you're flying or whether you're on the cruise, you don't have a lot of rights. You turn those over. And so the passengers who are on the ship aren't going to have a great deal of recourse when they get home.

Those who purchased insurance, insurance doesn't really cover this type of thing, because it's not -- their trip wasn't interrupted and they aren't incurring extra expenses mainly because they don't -- they can't spend any money because there's nothing to buy.

So they can't be compensated that way. Travel insurance doesn't typically cover inconvenience, it covers lost money.

MEADE: So, I mean, how do you protect yourself before taking the cruise knowing that? Does insurance really help you?

CLAMPET: It does a great deal.

MEADE: And you can't insure against --

CLAMPET: Yes. You can't insure against that.

MEADE: What they might tell you as an act of god or whatever.

CLAMPET: Right. And so in Carnival, you know, the decisions they're making about how to reimburse people is the same thing that your insurance would do, you know, covering the cost of the trip, any additional travel expenses you have to incur, and those are covered through what the Carnival is doing.

MEADE: It wasn't that long ago, I remember a different engine fire on a ship, and I remember obviously the Costa Concordia, the horrible accident off the cost of Italy, and now this. Don't we have to have some perspective here about how many thousands and thousands do go out on the waters and it's OK?

CLAMPET: Yes. And you know --

MEADE: Can you give us that?

CLAMPET: Yes. It's safer than driving your car down the highway.

(LAUGHTER)

You can say that clearly. But you know it's -- you know, there has been a number of these fires on boats that have knocked out the power system. You had -- in 2010, you had another Carnival ship, the Splendor, where it happened, a similar thing in the Pacific, off the coast of Mexico. And this time last year, almost a year to the day, on the 12th, the Costa Allegra, a sister ship, which is also owned by the Carnival Corporation, lost power in the Indian Ocean. Not as many people on board, but they also have the problem of pirates there. So you have the additional worry.

MEADE: Yes. I remember that now. Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CLAMPET: Not having power and having to worry about pirates in the neighborhood.

MEADE: Is this going to impact the industry? Are we going to have to see a lot of sales for people to go OK, I'll board again?

CLAMPET: It's a terrible sight thinking of people trapped on a ship with limited food. And in filthy conditions. And so I think people will think twice.

MEADE: Yes.

CLAMPET: About taking a cruise. So you will see deep discounting which the cruise does well.

(CROSSTALK)

MEADE: And Carnival, it's trying to communicate obviously with the people.

CLAMPET: Right.

MEADE: Who have loved ones on there. And the spokesperson said, let me assure you, no one at Carnival is happy about the conditions on board the ship.

CLAMPET: Of course not, yes.

MEADE: We're obviously very, very sorry this taken place.

In your opinion, are they doing enough?

CLAMPET: Yes, I think what -- you can judge that once everybody is back home and see how they actually react to the complaints, react to any oversight the government tries to impose or any --

MEADE: Yes.

CLAMPET: How much information they give about the accident and how it actually happened.

MEADE: All right. Jason Clampet, co-founder and head of content at Skift.com. Thank you. Appreciate it.

CLAMPET: Thanks for having me.

MEADE: Thank you.

So now being on board the Carnival Triumph can pose a huge health risk, you might think. You know, family members are anxiously waiting on the shore and some of them as you heard brought antibiotics with them just in case for the passengers at the direction of their own doctors.

Well, joining us now is a doctor, Dr. Jorge Rodriguez. He's a doctor of internal medicine.

Is that wise to do to come armed with antibiotics even though you don't know if anyone is sick?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, I don't think so. And for the simple reason that not all antibiotics cover everything, and taking antibiotics preventively for something that someone may not even have is not a smart idea. So I personally would not recommend that. If someone comes on shore and they have a problem, they can go straight to their doctor.

MEADE: Tell me a little bit about what you think the biggest health risk some of these folks on the boat are facing if there is in fact, you know, sewage, raw sewage around, and no air conditioning, and not proper food. It can be a number of different health problems. So which is the most pressing?

RODRIGUEZ: Absolutely. And you hit on -- you hit on the three mayor ones. One is the respiratory one. The fact that if anybody there has a cold or flu, and there's such -- so contained, that can spread easily. The second one, you know, if it would have been up to me, I wouldn't have been giving people Ziploc bags to, you know, to defecate into because first of all --

MEADE: Can you imagine?

RODRIGUEZ: -- that's not very -- no, I can't. But you know what, it -- you know, you can get things on your hands and you don't have proper water to clean yourself. And that's where you could spread things like Hepatitis A or B. And Hepatitis is most easily spread from people that don't even know they have it. So I think that's just one of the major concerns.

You know, the second one is that if there isn't enough electricity, a lot of that food could spoil, and you could easily get a break -- you know, some sort of outbreak of E. coli, salmonella or, you know, staph food poisoning. So those are the three main things. Respiratory, contaminated food and feces that's --

MEADE: Yikes.

RODRIGUEZ: Just being transmitted from person to person. Yikes.

MEADE: Yes. Even hard to talk about. But certainly could be a reality.

I wonder, too, about -- you know, you think about the love boat and there's always one doctor on board. But I do wonder for a ship with 4,000 people on board, how many medical personnel you do have there on a regular basis and can they handle what their -- what is presented to them?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, they usually have just one physician on board, at most two physicians. And honestly, how could they handle, you know, anything that's going on now? From what I've been reading, and you tell me if there's something different, I heard so far there hasn't been an outbreak, you know, of anything. But this is really a floating Petrie dish. You know, it's in the Gulf, it's warm, you don't have sanitary conditions. So hopefully they'll get back to shore within the next day or two before anything breaks out. But people that are on that cruise really have to be careful for the next day to couple of weeks. You know, they may have contracted something that's sort of just festering under the surface and won't come, you know, to full blown infectious status for the next couple of weeks.

MEADE: Yes. And last checked they are supposed to be home sometime tomorrow. So Dr. Jorge Rodriguez --

RODRIGUEZ: That would be great.

MEADE: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

You know, I want to get to this --

RODRIGUEZ: Hey, my pleasure. My pleasure.

MEADE: Thanks.

I want to get to this right now. We have some just incredible and heartwarming photos to share with you of a young boy freed from the underground bunker in Alabama. And these are pictures just released tonight of 6-year-old Ethan and his mom meeting the governor of the state and they show Ethan smiling and playing and, you know, it just looks like Ethan is having a good time. Thank goodness.

He was rescued last week after spending days as the hostage of the gunman who murdered the boy's bus driver. The kidnapper was killed in the raid to free Ethan. So glad to see a smile on that little boy's face.

When we come back, we're going to talk about the president's proposals regarding gun control in the state of the union last night and the reaction we're getting today.

And then Miss Jane Fonda joins us. She has a cause that she's talking about. We'll ask her about different things. For one, is she still going to be on "The Newsroom" in the next season? You know, on HBO?

Announcer: Did you know there are secret black market websites around the world that sell stolen identities?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence, they deserve a simple vote.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MEADE: An emotional plea there by the president last night to Congress in his state of the union address. He's pushing lawmakers to pass a sweeping gun control plan, and he mentioned Newtown. Tomorrow marks two months since the Sandy Hook massacre.

And joining us now is Suzy D. Young. She's the co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise. We'll talk about that later. And also with us is Bill Sherlach. His wife, Mary, was the school psychologist there at Sandy Hook Elementary. She died in the gunfire. But she is going to be honored with a presidential citizens medal on Friday.

Bill, I just want to check in first to see how you're doing as, you know, a grieving loved one who lost his dear wife, Mary. How are you?

BILL SHERLACH, WIFE DIED IN SANDY HOOK SHOOTING: We're fine. My daughters and I are -- we have our moments. Good moments, bad moments, good days, bad days. Two days ago would have been Mary's birthday, so that was a little bit of a rough slide that day, but we're doing it day by day.

MEADE: I bet. Did you, by any chance, hear what the president said in the state of the union regarding gun control and did you have an opinion about what he said?

SHERLACH: I did watch the state of the union address last night. And again, one of the reasons why I put my efforts behind the Sandy Hook Promise, as well as the foundation for my wife, is because I believe that a multifaceted approach to this whole situation is what is warranted. And that's what the Sandy Hook Promise is all about. Talking about not just gun control, talking about mental health, talking about school safety and talking about parenting. I think it's something that needs to be fought on all fronts.

MEADE: And interesting that you say that, because Mary, your late wife, was the school psychologist. So obviously mental health of her students and the well-being of people at her school would be paramount to her. Remind us of how brave she was that day, what information you have about what she did.

SHERLACH: I still don't have all the information. I do know that she was one of a number of people in a room holding a Ppeet - sorry, PPT that day. And she and Dawn and Natalie went out into the hallway at the sound of the gunfire, and Dawn and Mary did not make it back.

MEADE: So sorry as we come up on that two-month mark. When you hear about gun control, and obviously this is a huge issue -- it was before, but even more now, did you feel a certain way before the shooting and now drastically different or no -- regarding that issue?

SHERLACH: I wouldn't say drastically different, and I'm not an expert in any aspect of guns. I'm not a gun owner, never have been, and probably never will be.

But I do think that I am a deep believer in the Constitution, as well as the Second Amendment. But I do also believe that we're in a little bit of a different day now than it was when the Second Amendment was drawn up and it was a matter of reloading and refiring a musket versus the amount of shots that were fired off in a very short period of time at Sandy Hook. It's almost incomprehensible even in today's modern age.

MEADE: So your issue is more about the types of guns that we are allowed to have legally, not about the people who are getting weapons illegally?

SHERLACH: Again, I think it's a much broader topic than just that. I think we need to have a little bit of a cultural change here. And I think a grassroots movement is the way that's going to get done, because it is really more of a marathon than a sprint. And I realize there's forces on either side that would like to see something done and done very quickly. My experience and my observations is that doesn't last very long.

MEADE: You know, two months is not very long at all after something so horrible happening to a town. Now, Suzy De Young is with the Sandy Hook Promise. That bill was mentioned before here. And the Sandy Hook promise was supposed to be a discussion about what to do, but also you guys have an idea about how to let people in Newtown, even on Valentine's Day know that the rest of us are thinking about them?

SUZY DE YOUNG, CO-FOUNDER, SANDY HOOK PROMISE: Exactly, Robin, yes. Newtown received such an outpouring of support after the shootings. Cards and letters by the thousands. Our town hall is filled with boxes and boxes of them. And this was meaningful not just for here in Newtown and the families that were impacted, but the people who sent them.

So this is an opportunity to continue feeling like they're doing something. And it's called One Million Hearts for Newtown. If you go on the SandyHookPromise.org Web site, you can choose from a variety of Valentines and share them via Facebook, via Twitter, a multitude of ways. And it's a way to keep the conversation going, to extend that support. You can also take the promise, the Sandy Hook Promise, which is on the Web site. And it's a way to just continue that support.

MEADE: And you know what? You certainly still are on the minds of many of our viewers and people in America. Bill, we're thinking about you, and thank you so much, Suzy De Young, for letting us now how to let people in Newtown know they're still on our minds. Appreciate you both.

Coming up, does America need more females in charge? We'll talk to Hollywood legend and Oscar winner and activist Jane Fonda.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANE FONDA, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST: I'm rising because I work with young girls, most of whom are poor, most of whom have been victims of sexual abuse, and I'm rising because I'm over it. We have to stop violence against women, and when that happens, everything in the world will change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MEADE: You're seeing Jane Fonda there in a tape talking about what's called the 1 Billion Rising Campaign. And now, you're seeing Jane Fonda live as she joins us to talk about that from Los Angeles. Jane, it is an honor. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.

FONDA: Thank you, Robin, for having me.

MEADE: Yes, I just want to tell the audience, yes, Jane obviously has won two Oscars. So we'll talk to her about the Oscars race. And I warned her ahead of time I'm going to ask her what is the one thing maybe every man should know for Valentine's Day - hint, hint, tomorrow. Don't forget. And then whether she's coming back to HBO's "The Newsroom" which she's so good on.

But first, what is the 1 Billion Rising campaign? So go ahead and hit me with that, Jane.

FONDA: Okay. Well, about a year ago, a woman named Eve Ansler, an author and an activist who founded an organization called V-Day: Until the Violence Stops, which is a global organization that's raised over $90 million to stop violence worldwide. I'm on the board as is Anne Hathaway and Kerry Washington and Sheryl Sandburg. It's an amazing board.

About a year ago, Eve was told by the United Nations -- we were all informed that one out of three women in the world will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. Eve did the math. That comes to about a billion women.

MEADE: That's ridiculous.

FONDA: So she is calling for a billion people around the world tomorrow, Valentine's Day, the day where we express our love and appreciation for women, a billion people around the world will rise. In fact, already people are rising, Samoa, Australia. The prime minister of Australia has called for the entire country to rise.

It's going to start spreading like a tsunami around the word, 25 million in Bangladesh. What -- this has never happened before, that on one day, all around the world, this many people will stand up and say no to violence against women and girls.

And not just women doing it, there are women and men and boys and girls, labor leaders, presidents, the queen mother of Bhutan, the Dalai Lama, the United Nations, the French parliament. It's all over the world it's happening.

MEADE: So when you say rise up, you mean what, demonstrate or dance or?

FONDA: No, dance. I'm sorry, it's dancing. Dancing is the opposite of violence. Dancing makes your heart expand. It's full of love. It's empowering. You take up space. You express yourself. So people all around the world are, in fact, dancing in the streets. MTV tomorrow in New York has asked everyone from their office to go out into Times Square. They've taken over some of those big screens in Times Square to publicize it.

I mean, I was just in Berlin. And all of these magazines are telling their journalists, go out in the street and dance. There is a specific dance that's been choreographed by Debbie Allen, but people can do anything they want, dance, sing, chant. I'm doing events here in --

MEADE: Can I show you a picture that we just got in from Manila, where we have a school apparently. It's a prep school, and there's like 200 girls. And they are being encouraged to rise up and there is a picture of that actually happening. So when you see that, how does a one-day event where people are moving -- how does it have the potential to impact, first of all, those young lives in that picture and the others in the 205 countries taking part?

FONDA: In the weeks and months leading up to this date -- I didn't in the beginning. When eve first told me this, I thought there's no way, it's impossible. And yet what I'm seeing is the impossible actually happening, where the government of the Philippines is calling for a national holiday that it's not just this year, but every Valentine's Day.

Nuns, bishops, steel workers -- there's going to be an action taking place 24-seven. It's all day in the Philippines and it's live streaming all over the country. How can it change things? It's already changing things in France, in Germany, in England, in India. In so many countries, people are asking the government and people in the government are saying, we are going to introduce legislation addressing the issue of violence against women and girls.

MEADE: One in three, that's amazing.

FONDA: Yes, It's epidemic. It's epidemic. And people don't talk about it enough.

MEADE: You know, a bunch of celebrities I know are also helping with this campaign. That includes Anne Hathaway. You've mentioned how much help people are lending to this. Now we're going to take a break, but as I said before, since she is a two time Oscar winner -- speaking about Jane -- right after the break, I'm going to ask her outside of this subject, things like what she thinks the Oscar chances are for "Les Miserables," Anne Hathaway, and your piece of advice for men or women everywhere for Valentine's Day. So that is right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FONDA: What happened to human interest stories? Obesity, breast cancer, hurricanes, older women having babies, iPhones? He was great at that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was sleeping during that (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

FONDA: And whose idea was it to wake him up?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MEADE: That's Jane Fonda there, as she's playing no-nonsense CEO Leona Lansing on HBO's "the Newsroom." Jane, I love you in that. And that character, I swear I've worked for that person before. Are you going to be back?

FONDA: It's kind of Rupert Murdoch that's been marinated a long time in Ted Turner.

MEADE: And that's who you base it off of. I love that.

FONDA: I love the character. And yes, I've already filmed the -- it won't air until the end of June, but the first episode of the second season.

MEADE: I wonder, were you able to use some of your past relationship experience with Mr. Turner --

FONDA: Ted?

MEADE: Yeah, Ted --

FONDA: My favorite ex-husband? What that did for me, having been married to Ted for 10 years, it just made it not scary. I know the world, I know the universe. I know Rupert Murdoch. I know John Malone. I know people who have media empires like my character, Leona Lansing, does in the movie. So it just -- it brought me into that world with no fear.

MEADE: Yeah, I love the intensity with which you play that. Speaking of the intensity that people are playing different roles, the Oscars are coming up here. I would like to hear from you what movies did you watch this year, and of the ones that are nominated? Do you have some picks?

FONDA: Well, I'm a voting member of the Motion Picture Academy, so I see everything. I'm very conscientious about that. And I'm not going to tell you my favorites are. There's a lot of very, very good movies there. And I have very close friends that are in leading roles like Anne Hathaway, like Kerry Washington, for example. And I'm really proud of them. They do a wonderful job.

I am still stunned at how few women directors are represented at the Oscars. There's even fewer this year than last year. I mean, one. That's something we have to do something about. Where are the women in Hollywood?

MEADE: Why is that? Why do you think?

(CROSS TALK) FONDA: I'll tell you why it is. It's because- - because women are not in positions of decision making power any more than they are in television, as you know well. You're a woman on screen, but the people who make the decisions are men. And they're all upstairs. The men who run the studios, for the most part, they want to hire people that look like them. It's a familiar, safe thing.

It's not they don't take chances. They -- very often a big studio will hire a man who has never made a feature film before to make a 200 million dollar film. But women don't get hired. They do documentaries. They do feature -- they do independent movies. When men and women graduate from UCLA Film School, the men get agents and managers right away. The women don't.

It's not a level playing field and it has to be. And the reason it has to be is because we can't just be looking at stories and looking at the world that movies represent through the eyes of men. Women see things differently. We're touched differently. Our issues are different. So since we represent 51 percent of the population, it's just a healthy thing that we get women creating this major part of our culture, because this is the culture that creates consciousness. It tells me who we are or we feel left out.

MEADE: That makes me want to think about the president's cabinet. Now you were Tweeting a lot during the State of the Union. And since you did an op-ed piece, there is a female nominee I think for the secretary of the Interior. But other than that, some people are complaining about the lack of diversity that they see in the leadership.

FONDA: There's a lack of diversity. We wanted -- Gloria Steinem and myself and Robin Morgan, we co-founded the Women's Media Center six years ago. And we were writing to President Obama suggesting that the head of the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission should be a woman. That's an extremely important position. It would be great to have a woman there.

Pressure, we have to keep pressuring. That's why a billion people rising is so important. Talk about pressure. You know, you have a lot of people speaking out. And we have to keep speaking out. And I think the president wants us to speak out. We have to pressure, pressure, pressure, so that there's change.

MEADE: You know, I had promised the viewers that I would ask you about whether you're coming back to the "Newsroom." You said yes. I said let's ask Jane about her one piece of advice on a totally different subject here, for Valentine's Day. You mentioned Ted, your favorite ex-husband, you put it. Now I know that you are dating Richard Perry. And so tell me about how you guys are going to spend Valentine's Day, the G-rated version, and your advice for everybody else.

FONDA: I'm going to be dancing in the streets as part of one billion rising. And I start at 10:00 in the morning and I finish down at the L.A. Live. And he's going to be with me. And we're going to be dancing with thousands of other people. But in terms of one bit of advice for men, Valentine's Day is a day that's supposed to represents our love and respect for women. So one really important piece of advice would be for a man to say to his partner, I will now pledge to you that I will assume half of all the responsibility in the household, so that you don't have to work two jobs.

You don't have to go to work and come back and deal with the house and the cooking and the food and the kids. It's --

MEADE: Survey says, all the women here like that answer.

FONDA: We need a division of labor here.

MEADE: Survey says, all the women here liked that answer.

FONDA: I know they did.

MEADE: That would be a very good Valentine's Day gift. There you go.

FONDA: It would be the gift that keeps on giving. It would just continue.

MEADE: It's true. Hey, you know what, thank you so much for being with us this evening. We really appreciate it. I do hope that you get some time to spend with your love in addition to promoting the cause of one billion rising. By the way, how can the viewers take part if they wanted to?

FONDA: Well, tomorrow, but in some places tomorrow is already today -- starting on the 14th, which has already happened in Samoa, where they're rising, and the Philippines and Australia, where they're rising, go out in the streets and join your fellow country people and dance and pray and chant and sing and say no more, no more violence against women and girls.

And it isn't just a one-day thing. We will pledge to do everything we can to take some action to stop violence against women. That could be as simple and very complicated as when a child tells you they're being molested, report it. Believe the child. The worst thing you can do is not believe the child. Report perpetrators.

Talk about it. And don't ever, ever, ever elect anyone to office that trivializes issues like rape, like there's a legitimate rape, for example. Don't vote for men who trivialize violence against women. We have to put an end to this. And that's going to start tomorrow. It's going to be great.

MEADE: It will be nice when you come back and you're able to say no longer say one in three, that that number will be obsolete or a whole lot less.

Jane, thank you so much.

When we come back, from breaking hearts to protecting the rainforest, big talk from the man that fans still call Mr. Big. Hello, lover. Actor Chris Noth. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MEADE: Actress Daryl Hannah was among 48 people arrested after they handcuffed themselves to the White House gates today, protesting the Keystone Oil Pipeline. That comes one day after President Obama made climate change a priority issue during his State of the Union Address. Protecting the environment has long been a Hollywood issue, as you know.

And joining us is actor Chris Noth, who stars in "the Good Wife Now." And we must mention that Chris was not involved in that protest, because that isn't necessarily your cause. But the environment may be one of them, yes?

CHRIS NOTH, ACTOR, "THE GOOD WIFE": Oh definitely. No, I wasn't there but the organization that I'm involved with, Rain Forest Action Network, their people were there. And --

MEADE: So when you heard the president speak last night about climate change and that we must do something about climate change, was that enough for you?

NOTH: You know, no, no, no. I mean, look, I'm a huge supporter of Obama's. It's the first president I ever donated money to. But I think in terms of climate change and the environment, he's been at best disappointing. I thought it was decent rhetoric, you know. And I don't know if there's any teeth to it.

But, you know, look, it's complicated. He can't -- I think politicians feel like it's political suicide to be talking about the environment when what they want to be talking about is growth and jobs. But the time has come when we're in a planetary emergency here. I think he could be using the bully pulpit a lot more, frankly. I hope he does. We've got four years to find out.

MEADE: In last night's State of the Union, Chris, he said "for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy and the worst drought in decades and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgement of science and act before it's too late."

(CROSS TALK)

NOTH: Well, that's great. But let's not drill in the Arctic, which he was promoting. I think -- you know, I think that he could be doing more for regulations with the Environmental Protection Agency. Some of the things that have come up, they've ignored. I just think he could be doing a lot more.

It takes a lot of political courage. I realize that. Again, we're at a time where, when it comes to jobs and growth, people don't want to hear about it. But we've got a cancer going on in this planet. You don't always see it, but we're starting to see the fingerprints of it now. That's why, though, if we can't depend on the government, we have to start looking to the kind of groups likes Rain Forest Action Network, and there's many of them, who go in there and talk sense to governments and corporations.

I mean, Rain Forest Action Network just got $40 billion company called Disney to stop using old growth rain forests for their paper and everything else. That's a huge victory. And it has teeth. And it matters. Rhetoric isn't enough. We've heard a lot of rhetoric. We've got to be acting radically now. And we just don't seem to be able to get governments to have the kind of courage to do that.

MEADE: So their job is to make the laws. And you are taking action in your own way with that network that you talked about. So tell me about you and Whoopi Goldberg and the big event this weekend.

NOTH: Yes. I've had three fund-raisers for Rain Forest Action Network. At my rock 'n roll club the Cutting Room, on Sunday the 17th, we're having a huge benefit for Rain Forest Action Network.

MEADE: Also in New York, for the folks who are watching.

NOTH: New York City, yes. Come on up anyway. We're going to have food, wine, entertainment. Sean Colvin is going to be playing. I'm going to be bringing my friends from "The Good Wife" and other actors and actresses and people. And we're going to have a live -- crazy live painter from Cirque de Soleil. And we're going to auction off the paintings right from there. I mean, you want to have a good time, but you also want to talk about what's going on and find a way to get people involved, wake them up.

We're having a great auction.

MEADE: Here's the cool thing about that auction, for our friends who are watching like in the mountains or something right, they get online and be a part of that. They can actually bid.

NOTH: All over the country. We've got stuff from -- I donated my "Sex and The City" -- the last episode, which was like -- when we got it, it was like "private, do not let anyone see this." So I'm auctioning that. Sarah Jessica has graciously donated a purse from the show. And --

(CROSS TALK)

NOTH: Please say that for me.

MEADE: Hello, lover.

NOTH: Very good.

MEADE: The shoes.

NOTH: The shoes. How do you pronounce it?

MEADE: I don't know.

NOTH: Blaneks (ph), signed. MEADE: What is Mr. Big doing for Valentine's Day, on another point, before I go ahead and tell --

NOTH: I haven't figured that out. I better figure it out fast.

MEADE: You better.

NOTH: Right.

MEADE: Yes.

NOTH: I've been working that out. I've been sort of like very involved in this. I'm kind of like, oh, yes, right, Valentine's Day.

MEADE: You know, when your wife says nothing, nothing, honey, you know not to fall for that, right?

NOTH: I fall for that.

MEADE: Don't fall for that. That is a ruse.

NOTH: I know that Valentine's Day is super important to the ladies. So you can never fall for that.

MEADE: OK, you better go shopping. "The Good Wife" airs Sunday on CBS. For information about the Rain Forest Action Network, the tickets and if you want to take part in the auction online, it's PiersMorganTonight.com, and we'll link you up then with where you can go to actually do the bidding.

NOTH: Please come.

MEADE: Chris Noth, thank you so much. Have a great Valentine's Day when it arrives. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MEADE: Finally tonight as we cue the cheesy piano music, I want to wish you a happy Valentine's Day, once it comes tomorrow. So from your Auntie Robbie, who is trying to overlook you, make sure that you don't forget that it is Valentine's Day tomorrow, and not to believe the person in your life who says, no, no, you don't have to get me, I don't want anything.

Maybe you don't have to buy something, but you do have to do something. Trust me. Trust me.

And speaking of you don't have to do anything, Piers Morgan, I don't know if he's off not doing anything, but Happy Valentine's to you, my friend. Let us ask you on Valentine's Day, how many times have you been properly in love? Do you not have another question to ask people? What kind of question is that? What do you mean, how many times have I been properly in love? Is there an improper way?

Maybe I should ask you that. That's all for us tonight. I'm Robin Meade. Normally you can find me in the mornings -- that's where I get the energy from -- on HLN. But thank you so much for allowing me to sit in here with you tonight. Enjoyed your company. In for Piers Morgan.