Return to Transcripts main page


Hijacker Threatens Ceremonies; U.S. Claims Its First Gold of Winter Games; Woody Allen's New Op-Ed; "Loud Music Trial" Resumes This Morning; DMX in Talks to Fight George Zimmerman

Aired February 8, 2014 - 07:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A hijacker demands his plane be diverted to Sochi just as the Olympic ceremonies get under way. The threat, the response and the fear of worse to come, next.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): New this morning, Woody Allen's latest defense against molestation accusations. Why he blames Mia Farrow for the accusations and suggests she may have lied about another child.

BLACKWELL: He's been called the most hated man in America and now, he's taken his infamy to the ring. Promoter David Feldman joins us live to explain why he's helping George Zimmerman fight.

Your NEW DAY continues now.


PAUL: All righty. Well, just sit back and prop your feet up for the morning, to last a little bit. It is Saturday, your day. I'm Christi Paul. And we're glad you're sharing it with us.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. That's if they swung their feet off the bed. Some people were still in bed.

PAUL: Good for you.


BLACKWELL: -- you were up since last night.

You know, if you were up late last night, you saw the spectacular show in Sochi.

PAUL: Yes, I mean, everybody, obviously, was watching officially as they opened the 2014 Winter Olympics. Look at some of the pictures that we're getting from it.

BLACKWELL: Amazing images here. Tributes to Tchaikovsky, an honor and nod to the Kremlin, majestic ceremony here watched by -- and this is the estimate -- 3 billion people around the world.

Team USA, you see the grand and happy entrance here. PAUL: And one of the iconic rings at one point failed to light which is one of the things a lot of the things people are talking about today because, you know, snafus happen. The Olympic flame burned as always, though, sent racing up the cauldron by two of the host nations' most famous Olympians.

BLACKWELL: Elsewhere, a would-be hacker -- hijacker, rather, stole fears. Turkish authorities helped land a jet safely and neutralized the suspect who threatened to set off a bomb if he weren't flown to Sochi.

PAUL: So, CNN is live actually in Sochi with Rachel Nichols, the host of CNN "UNGUARDED" and senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh, as well, who's keeping an eye in security there.

BLACKWELL: Rachel, the opening ceremony, of course not without controversy. We showed one of the snafus. Let's talk about the controversy here. What was it about?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS: Yes, one of the people who lit the Olympic flame figure skater Irina Rodnina, she's a hero here in Russia, and she's also now a member of parliament, so you would think she'd be a common sense choice to light the flame except last year, she tweeted out a photo of the President Obama and the first lady with a banana superimposed over it.

The U.S. ambassador to Russia, of course, condemned this. But Rodnina refused to apologize for it. She was picked to light the flame last night. Afterward, the head of the Sochi organizing committee scoffed at any questions about this, that politics don't belong in the Olympics. I'm not sure that's going to satisfy people in Washington, but, hey, there you go.

As for the other controversy, the spotlight on Russia's anti-gay laws -- part of the U.S. delegation present at the ceremony was Brian Boitano who is, of course, the former U.S. Olympic champion and is openly gay. I asked him when I caught up with him this morning, whether he felt he had to make a statement. This is what he said.


BRIAN BOITANO, FORMER U.S. OLYMPIC CHAMPION: I feel like our delegation is the statement. I mean, everybody in Russia knows why we're here. Everybody in America knows why we're named for the delegation. And sometimes, the things that you don't say are more powerful than the things that you do say. So, I think that everybody knows just by seeing us what we stand for and equality is the word.


NICHOLS: Boitano, of course, knows Rodnina from figure skating circles. I asked him about the selection of her. He said that nobody in the U.S. delegation was aware of her racist tweet in the past. So, it wasn't a topic of conversation. He didn't even know about it until I spoke with him but he was very surprised, guys. PAUL: All righty. I have to ask you, Rachel, because we're getting word that America has clinched its first gold medal. What do you know?

NICHOLS: Yes, they have a gold medal in slopestyle. Certainly, a fun thing for the Americans since this is a uniquely American-style sport. They also are going to be threatening in the U.S. moguls tonight. We expect to get a medal there as well.

Also some -- some activity, let's just say at the Olympic Village today. One of the bobsledders had to break himself out of his hotel room just to get to the venue. They've had problems with the door locks here.

And so, he actually had to punch his way out. Good thing the doors aren't steel here, guys, he would have been trapped. We might have missed some important stuff here in Sochi.

BLACKWELL: Yes, good thing, it's cardboard. Next time, we'll give a spoiler alert when we're announcing the medals in case people want to watch the actual event.

Rachel, thank you very much.

PAUL: So, amid all of, obviously, the hoopla of the opening ceremony and the excitement of the competition, obviously, there's been a lot of worry about the safety.


PAUL: Not just at Sochi itself but even the surrounding area.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the entire area. And that ramped up the frightening hijacking attempt on a Turkish airliner while the opening ceremony was under way.

So, let's bring in CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh.

So, Nick, ahead of the games saying Sochi will be the safest place on earth. It's calling the apparent hijacking a hooligan incident. Tell us more about that.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've guaranteed, they say, that they can keep the games safe but the problem is you've got the location of them in the most volatile part of Russia. But let's talk about the hijack attempt. I should say it's over, there don't appear to be any terrorist motives in this at all or political motivations that we're clear about at the moment.

But a plane leaving east in Ukraine, the city (INAUDIBLE) was flying towards Turkey, the capital Istanbul. Mid-air, the pilots put off a hijack signal. Of course, this is happening in the middle of the opening ceremony at Sochi, so there was a lot of panic about it.

What happened on the plane, the man, apparently the Ukrainian national said to the pilot or crew there's a bomb on board and I'll detonate it unless you fly to Sochi. That, of course, is where the panic began. The plane didn't fly to Sochi. Whether they didn't take him seriously enough or simply tricked the Ukrainian man from continuing on to Istanbul. That's where it landed.

Turkish security forces went around the plane, searched it for a device. Found no device at all. Took the 110 passengers off and arrested the man himself. Now, it's not clear what caused him to make that statement to the pilot or to the crew. There's no suggestion that he was drunk. Although one Turkish official said there may have been a substance involved.

It appears to be a case of erratic behavior. Some Ukrainian officials suggesting that there might have wanted some sort of vengeance perhaps against the Russian president or Ukrainian president. There's a lot of political unrest Ukrainian no, but there's no confirmation that was his motivation, at all.

This could simply be a case of high jinks in the air. But actually happened was that panel in the middle of the opening ceremony. That's what got everybody concerned. But I should say it's over. There's no link to Islamic extremism that we're aware of at the moment.

But still, it had everybody on their seat because of the consistent drama and anxiety we've had over security threats in the past three days.

PAUL: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, thanks so much for getting us caught up there.

BLACKWELL: Now, there's a new op-ed from filmmaker Woody Allen. And it is scathing. It's actually a response to an op-ed written by Allen's adopted daughter Dylan. This was published last weekend in "The New York Times", accusing him of sexually abusing her as a child.

PAUL: Yes. And now, Allen is speaking out. And this time, he's taking aim at his ex, actress Mia Farrow.

Alexandra Field is for us in New York.

Alexandra, what have you heard this morning?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor.

We all remember that 20 years ago, the bitter breakup between Mia Farrow, and Woody Allen was making headlines. Most surprising at that time were these allegations that he had sexually abused the couple's seven-year-old adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. Those allegations have resurfaced now. And this time, Woody Allen is speaking out publicly, blaming Mia Farrow for fueling what he calls false claims. We'll read you part of the letter that he's written.

Here's what he says. He says, quote, "Not that I doubt Dylan hasn't come to believe she's been molested but if from the age of 7 a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who has abused her, is it so inconceivably that after many years of this indoctrination, the image that Mia wanted to establish have taken root.

Those are his words in an op-ed will be published in "The New York Times" tomorrow. The op-ed coming just a week after Dylan Farrow released her own letter in which she details the alleged abuse.

Allen is categorically denying these claims. He goes on to say, quote, "Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father."

Police investigated the allegations at that time, but there were no charges filed against Woody Allen. Allen, of course, went on to marry Soon-Yi Previn, the other adopted daughter of Mia Farrow -- Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Alexandra Field, with the controversy for us there in New York -- thank you.

PAUL: So, at the Olympics in Sochi, protests over Russia's anti-gay policies now have some U.S. companies and Olympic sponsors sending their own message of inclusion.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and it's on television. We're going to have that for you. We'll show you some of the ads, next.



AD NARRATOR: Like the old love, the new love starts with a kiss.


BLACKWELL: That's the new ad for Chevrolet. It ran last night during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. And while the carmaker says it's not intended to be political, it features a gay couple, several gay couples and really celebrates them. At the same moment the Olympics is drawing new criticism over Russia's anti-gay policies.

And, you know, Chevy is not the only company in the U.S. sending a message of equality.

Erin McPike has that story from Washington.

Erin, which other companies are making their positions known on this?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, we have seen three corporate sponsors of the Olympics. DeVry University, AT&T and Chobani Yogurt specifically come out and condemn this anti-gay law there in Russia, that punishes people for what they say is gay propaganda during the games specifically.

And I spoke yesterday to Ty Cobb, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, who says they're applauding those three companies but they say other corporate sponsors are not doing enough.

Take a listen to what he says.


TY COBB, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: I think that Coca-Cola and McDonald's, several of the IOC corporate partners have been leaders in the movement here in the U.S., but they've been silent when it comes to defending LGBT rights in Russia.


MCPIKE: Well, in general, both McDonald's and Coca-Cola have responded in statements and I want to read some of those to you. McDonald's says, "McDonald's stands for inclusion and we welcome, respects and value the diversity, culture and unique differences of our 69 million customers and approximately 2 million employees. We support the IOC's belief that sport is human right and the Olympic Games should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and athletes."

Coca-Cola also responded, as one of the world's most inclusive brands, "We value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LBGT community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices. We do not condone intolerance or discrimination of any kind, anywhere in the world."

Now, I will say though that these gay rights groups want to bring attention to this issue throughout the next two weeks as these games go on. And so far, they think they've been successful just because there has been such a large response throughout the country and really throughout the world already this week, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Erin McPike, thank you so much.

We want to bring somebody else into the conversation here. Olympic diving gold medalist Greg Louganis is with us now.

BLACKWELL: Yes, he's also the author of "The New York Times" bestselling autobiography, "Breaking the Surface."

Greg, good to have you with us this morning.

GREG LOUGANIS, OLYMPIC DIVING GOLD MEDALIST: Great to be here. A little early.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's a little early.


BLACKWELL: Yesterday, Russian police arrested gay activists protesting in St. Petersburg. And I wonder, Greg, with the entire world watching and many world leaders critical of Russia's policy, do you think we're going to see more of these arrests in Russia over the next two weeks?

LOUGANIS: You know, I have no idea about how many arrests are actually going to happen, how much protesting is actually going to happen over there. It's not a safe time to be an LGBT individual in Russia.

So, you know, what -- I'm working with -- really pushing the idea and concept of P-6, Principle 6, which states from the OIC charter, International Olympic Committee charter that there's no discrimination that's a part of the Olympic movement. Having the Olympics in Russia goes totally against Principle 6 with the anti-propaganda laws.

And, you know, the fallout of those laws are that, you know, there's young people who are being victimized. And my contention is, that there's a gay child born in Russia every day. And who's there to protect those children, because I know that Putin did this to try to protect the young, you know, you know, the young people. You know, their youth. But it really doesn't protect all of the youth.

PAUL: So, Greg, let me ask you. I know that you say people should not boycott the Olympics. What do you suggest they do, regular folks like us and athletes themselves?

LOUGANIS: Yes, and you have to understand my history, too. I mean, in 1976, I was an Olympic silver medalist in Montreal. In 1980, I made that Olympic team. But that was boycotted by President Carter because of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. And then in 1984, a lot of the United States, you know, Americans, forget that the Eastern bloc countries were not here.

So, the results could have changed. I don't know. But I was also blessed enough to be able to fight on and compete in the 1988 Olympic Games.

So, what my feeling is, Olympic boycotts don't work. If you're talking about boycotting sponsors, you know, commerce and business, those work. Those send a message because the dollar speaks volumes.

BLACKWELL: You know, we brought up the sponsors and the companies right we talked about these ads. Chevy's ad, McDonald's, Coca-Cola as well. And Google -- Google on its home page on the first day of the opening ceremonies. They placed up the rainbow there and they put from the charter there.

I'm going to read it, "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport without discrimination of any kind. And the spirit, the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with the spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. What do you think the impact, is this preemptive to kind of prevent those protests? Or do you think that this is really having some value, even in Russia?

LOUGANIS: Well, I mean it is adding value, just in the awareness. I mean, to bring light into something, you know, this very dark issue. And, you know, it's wonderful to see that type of support.

And you know, it's -- you know, it's heartening. You know, because not only is sport, you know, a human right. But love is a human right. You know, it's a human right to be able to be loved and be loved.

And as a gay man, I was born gay. I mean, I didn't choose to be gay. I mean, well, did you choose to be straight?

So, it's not a choice. We are who we are. We should be celebrating who we are, and being allowed the human decency and right to be able to love who we love.

BLACKWELL: Greg Louganis, thank you so much for speaking with us this morning.

LOUGANIS: My pleasure.

PAUL: We appreciate you being here.

Now, I'm going to talk about Justin Bieber. There's no way to turn from one to the other.

We're just talking about Justin Bieber, in trouble again. Not with police at this point, with the FAA investigating this time. And wait until you hear about some of these details.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we'll explain those.

Also, baseball star Alex Rodriguez deliberately strikes out, in court. Hear why Major League Baseball is praising his latest move.


PAUL: Oh, Justin Bieber.


PAUL: His legal troubles are reaching new heights here, people. Seriously, the FAA is now, quote, looking into a flight that he took from Toronto to New Jersey. And sources say Bieber and his father were verbally abusive to the flight attendant who kept insisting that they stop smoking marijuana.

BLACKWELL: Apparently, there was a lot of weed on this plane. This is what the sources are telling us that the pilots had to wear an oxygen mask so they wouldn't get a contact high.

PAUL: What the hay is that?

BLACKWELL: What the hay.

CNN's Nick Valencia is following the developments here. I mean, this is unbelievable.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you took the words right out of my mouth. This is just like -- you hear Justin Bieber, you're like, man -- you know, we all kind of cringe when we hear his name now because we never talk to him when he's singing, actually. It's always stuff that he's doing outside of his actual profession.

So, if they weren't serious for Justin Bieber already, they're about to be. The FAA, as Victor and Christi were talking about, looking into whether or not they interfered -- his entourage interfered with the flight attendants' duties. That, of course, is illegal, both criminally and civilly.

And this is what he's facing here if he is found to be guilty of interfering with the flight attendant's performance, it could lead to $11,000, $27,000 fine. That's probably pocket change for the singer. Or this is where it gets really serious, guys, 20 years in prison and up to $220,000 in fines.

Now, he's also got this potential federal charge coming up, this egging incident. So, it's like mounting up on him guys. You know, one case after the other after the other. The D.A. is still looking into whether or not they're going to bring felony charges against him there in that egg throwing incident. It's one thing after the other, guys.

PAUL: Oh my gosh. Nick Valencia --

VALENCIA: He needs some help. Something needs to change in this guy's lifestyle.

PAUL: Obviously. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

VALENCIA: You got it.

BLACKWELL: You know, it's a family feud that is playing out in the national spotlight. Allegations of molestation against filmmaker Woody Allen resurfaced after his adopted daughter writes a controversial open letter.

PAUL: Well, Woody Allen has something to say about that letter, too. Can a suggestion that he is making be pretty powerful? This after we're talking -- he's bringing Frank Sinatra into the picture.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Frank Sinatra in the story. We'll tell you how.


PAUL: Mortgage rates dipped this week. Take a look.


PAUL: Trying to make sure you're on time today. So, let me tell you, it is 7:30 right now. I'm Christi Paul. And we're glad to have your company.

BLACKWELL: And I'm Victor Blackwell. I hope you don't have to rush off too this early in the morning. Hope you have a little time.

Let's start this half with five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

Up next, the U.S. claims its first gold in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Spoiler alert. Spoiler alert. Look away if you need to. Turn down the volume if necessary, just for a few seconds.

We'll tell you that earlier today, Sage Kotsenburg won gold in the men's slopestyle competition. He's one of 230 American athletes in the U.S. delegation.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Number two, Woody Allen is speaking out about allegations of molestation, in a fiery op-ed released by "The New York Times". Last night the 78-year-old filmmaker says he never committed a crime against his adopted daughter Dylan. Remember, a week ago, she wrote her own letter accusing Allen of abusing her when she was a child. Allen says his ex-wife actress Mia Farrow coached their daughter after their highly publicized split in 1992.

BLACKWELL: Number three now, Alex Rodriguez has dropped his suit against the Major League Baseball. The New York Yankee was fighting his doping suspension of 162 games. And MLB is, of course, praising A-Rod's withdrawal, calling it, quote, "prudent." It means the slugger will sit out the 2014 season and lose $25 million in salary. A-Rod is yet to explain why he dropped the suits.

PAUL: Number four, Google is now the second largest company in the United States by market value. Google booted Exxon for the spot. Now, the tech mega giant's market capitalization when you multiply the price of one share, $395 billion. Apple's value topped the list.

BLACKWELL: Number five, if California's extreme drought continues conditions. So, the conditions there will cost Americans a lot of money. The price of fruits, veggies, meat, dairy, wine could all go up maybe 10 percent over the next few months. California is seeing some needed rainfall now. But drought is expected to continue there and possibly intensify through April.

PAUL: This morning, a so-called loud music trial is continuing, and with it, of course, a dispute over what actually happened.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Michael Dunn is accused of murdering 17-year-old Jordan Davis after an argument at a gas station over the loud music in Davis' car. But the suspect's story and the victim's story are not matching up -- or the story of the victim, or from the victim rather.

CNN's Tory Dunnan is covering this case and is live outside the courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida, this morning -- Tory.

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Christi, it's up to the jury about whether or not they wanted to work today. They told the judge they did. So, the court will get back in session in about 9:00 this morning. But they've already called some key witness, including the three teenagers who were with Jordan Davis in the red SUV.


LELAND BRUNSON, WITNESS, FRIEND OF JORDAN DAVIS: When I reached in and touched him, blood appeared on my fingers.

DUNNAN (voice-over): Michael Dunn, the man charged with first degree murder in the Jordan Davis case looked on as witnesses relived the night the 17-year-old was shot and killed. Davis' best friend, Leland Brunson, among those who testified. He was sitting next to Davis in the back of a red SUV when an argument over loud music broke out at a Jacksonville gas station.

CORY STROLLA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's fair to say he asked as a courtesy to lower the music, correct?


DUNNAN: Kevin Thompson, another teen in the SUV, says Dunn who was in his parked car next to them asked them to turn down the music. Everyone agrees that the music was turned down. But that's when things escalated between Davis and Dunn.

STROLLA: But isn't it true that Jordan Davis said to you (EXPLETIVE DELETED), turn it back up?


DUNNAN: Thompson testified he did exactly that, and that he turned The music back up. It's at that point the time line gets fuzzy. Dunn told investigators he heard threats and saw a weapon.

MICHAEL DUNN, ACCUSED OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER: I saw a barrel come up on the window like a single shot shotgun or barrel. And I didn't see this part of barrel, I saw that part of the barrel. It's either a barrel or stick. But, sir, they're like, we're going to kill you.

DUNNAN: Dunn by his own admission says he pulled out a gun that he kept in his glove compartment. And he says in self-defense --


DUNNAN: -- fired multiple times.

Jordan Davis was shot. As for Michael Dunn's claims for being threatened with a weapon first, police said they never found a weapon inside the teen's SUV.

In court, all three teens maintained they never had a weapon.


DUNNAN: All right, so Victor and Christi, as far as who's going to be testifying today, what I can tell you, we don't have the exact list at this point.

But the key figures who are set to testify at some point over the next few days would be Jordan Davis' father. Also Leland Brunson's mother. Again, Leland Brunson is Jordan Davis' best friend.

And then, of course, a ballistics expert. That's going to be big, because so many shots were fired. So, you can expect that both sides of the aisle are going to have lots of questions.

PAUL: All righty. CNN's Tory Dunnan, thank you for walking us through what's happening there.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Tory. George Zimmerman is back in the news. This time because he may be go into the boxing ring with rapper DMX. Next, the debate over whether anyone should profit from a, quote/unquote, "celebrity" boxing match between these two.


VICTOR: Welcome back.

Thirty-nine minutes after the hour now.

We are in the E-block. That means it's time for entertainment news. But this morning, we're looking at a different kind of entertainment. Rapper DMX says he is considering a deal to jump into the ring and fight George Zimmerman. You recognize the name. He's the man acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin.


DMX, RAPPER, ACTOR: Well, I was -- I was challenged. I was challenged. And then I still haven't really decided what I was going do. But if I did do it, the money that -- whatever money that was going to suppose to him would have to go to charity.


BLACKWELL: OK. So, no contract has been signed, but the idea is creating a lot of buzz. People are asking, what's the motive here? It's shameless exploitation on the part of Trayvon Martin's family. There's a petition being circulated online to stop the fight.

So, let's talk about it with the promoter to answer the questions by the man behind the event, boxing promoter Damon Feldman.

Damon, good to have you.


BLACKWELL: So, Damon, the first question is, is this -- has this deal been signed? Is it going to go forward? And if so, why is this going to go forward?

FELDMAN: Well, yes, everything -- you know, with DMX, we picked him out of 15,000 people. We offered it to the game, the rapper and all kinds of celebrities, all kinds of people. It was just getting to be too crazy.

So, DMX did challenge George Zimmerman on TMZ. It was up in the air who we were going to pick. We figured DMX would be the most -- best one because he's controversial. We have a contract to both attorneys, we're waiting for these guys to get back to get paid as well.

And, you know, basically, why it's happening? I'm entertainment, man. It's my career. It will be boxing. They came to me, asked me if I'm interested. I took a shot at it, and that's what we're doing. BLACKWELL: So, let me ask you this, you say celebrity boxing. And the question that I've received from people on Twitter is, is George Zimmerman a celebrity? I mean, are we celebrating the man who is only known for shooting and killing an unarmed teenager?

FELDMAN: Well, I get what you're saying. We just signed, you can watch (INAUDIBLE). That's where you're going to be able to watch it live.

BLACKWELL: Beyond promoting the event, why celebrate George Zimmerman?

FELDMAN: Well, it's not celebrating. It's like I've worked with Rodney King. I've worked with Tonya Harding. I've worked with Jose Conseco, on and on. Even O.J. Simpson was interested in doing a celebrity boxing match. So, you've got to put it in there.

I'm not looking at the trial. It's not my job. I'm a celebrity boxing promoter. You know, it came to me. I took a shot at it. And --

BLACKWELL: When you say it came to you, how did this come to you? How did this come to fruition?

FELDMAN: Well, we have a mutual acquaintance, a friend, I guess, Zimmerman got in touch with me. (INAUDIBLE) Michael, they said would you be interested in putting him on the card. I told him I'd have to get back to him. I'd think about it. I got back to him. We put the word out, TMZ did and Radar Online got it out there.

And we had an opponent that wanted to take on George Zimmerman. We got, right away, it started blowing up, 15,000 people. It's going to be a great event. That's all it is. It's entertainment. I'm excited about it.

BLACKWELL: But there are some people not excited. Janet Dickerson, a woman who started a petition on to stop the fight. So far it has more than 84,000 signatures.

She released a statement. I'm going to read a portion. She says, "The overwhelming response say clear demonstration to attempt to financially gain from the pain and tragedy of others -- the pain and tragedy of others is deeply offensive and displays extreme insensitivity."

What's your response to that?

FELDMAN: Well, you know, look, I feel terrible about the situation. I didn't follow the trial. I didn't know it until the verdict was read and so forth. You know, it's a terrible situation that happened.

I'm celebrity boxing. It's entertainment. I'm a whole different item here. I'm going in the direction that's going to be for the career. I'm not hurting anybody.

I'm not a judge. I do what I had to do. BLACKWELL: But you are choosing -- you are choosing to implicitly endorse this man by promoting a celebrity boxing match with him. And the definition of celebrity is someone who is celebrated. He's only known for killing an unarmed teenager.

Let me ask you this, when Dickerson, the woman who started his petition released it, she says she's appealing to your moral high ground. Is morality one of the criteria you consider when choosing a fight to promote?

FELDMAN: I hear what you're saying there. Look, it's always going through my mind and so forth. But this is -- look, this san entertainment event. I'm not trying to hurt anybody here.

This is part of what celebrity boxing is. The biggest fights, the one I've worked for to get to this opportunity, I'm sorry it had to be this one. But it's nothing. I'm not hurting anybody here.

BLACKWELL: Not very sorry, because you're moving forward. Beyond the Web site --


FELDMAN: Well, hold on, why should I -- why should I stop it? You tell me why I should stop it? I'm not telling you not to do your job.

BLACKWELL: I will tell you what the people on twitter and people who have contacted me have said.

George Zimmerman is only known because he killed an unarmed teenager in the middle of the night. He said is many types during his controversy during the trial that he could not fight. And all of a sudden, instead of pulling a gun, he wants to get into a boxing match and fight someone. If he could fight, he should have fought that night in February a year ago, or more than a year ago two years ago now.


FELDMAN: That's theory. And I don't know what happened. I wasn't there that night. You weren't there that night.

I have no clue, I feel terrible about the situation.

BLACKWELL: Do you care, though. You said you feel terrible. But do you care?

FELDMAN: Let me talk.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

FELDMAN: Do I care? Hey, I feel terrible about the situation. What happened, I don't want to see anybody die like that. That's not my problem, though.

So, you know, I feel terrible. This is entertainment and we're -- this is a whole different entity. I'm not in a -- you know, a murder trial myself.

This is -- I'm working Rodney King, is he celebrity? Is Rodney King a celebrity?

BLACKWELL: Are you asking me, is Rodney King a celebrity?

FELDMAN: Is Rodney King a celebrity? Yes.

BLACKWELL: Rodney King is not responsible for someone's death.

FELDMAN: No, but God rest his soul. He changed the world, Rodney King.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but he's not responsible for somebody's death.


FELDMAN: All the media -- listen, guys, all the media made Zimmerman the celebrity. You guys made him the celebrity. And the bottom line is -- listen --

BLACKWELL: I don't think anybody in news media celebrated him. Is George Zimmerman being paid?

FELDMAN: Why is it bringing -- he's -- we're working a business deal out. Whatever he does with the money, it's up to him. It is going to some charity. I don't know he's working a deal. It's not my business.

My attorneys are handling that. That's where we're at.

BLACKWELL: All right. Damon Feldman, promoting this fight that still is in the works between DMX and George Zimmerman.

FELDMAN: Remember, I'm not hurting anybody. You watch on --

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much -- Christi.

PAUL: Well, this is a family feud that's playing out in the national spotlight as well. Woody Allen fighting molestation allegations in a "New York Times" op-ed, blaming his ex, Mia Farrow, for turning their Dylan against him.

So, this is what I know a lot of you are wondering. Is it possible for a parent to convince a child that the other parent molested her if it never happened? And if so, how long does that belief system last? Lots of questions that we're going to ask a doctor, next.


PAUL: I know this is really sensitive, but we want to talk more about the controversy surrounding filmmaker Woody Allen, because in this op- ed that was released by "The New York Times" just last night, Allen says he never molested his adopted daughter Dylan. Rather, he is accusing, actress Mia Farrow of coaching Dylan after a bitter breakup. This, of course, coming after, you know, her update last --

BLACKWELL: The letter published in Nick Kristof's column.

Let's bring in clinical psychologist, Jeff Gardere.

Jeff -- first, Dr. Gardere, I want to bring in the quote from the letter. It is from Woody Allen. He writes, "Not that I doubt Dylan comes to believe she was molested, but from the age of 7, a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who abused her. Is it so inconceivable that after many years of this indoctrination of the image of me, Mia wanted to establish had taken root?"

What's your reaction to that?

DR. JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PYSCHOLOGIST: Well, there are cases where we have what's called false memories, where there may be a family divided as we see with this particular family, and the situation where a parent may say that you were abused when, in fact, maybe they were not abused. All it takes is that one suggestion and then the mind just accepts it and runs with it and over the years, has all sorts of cognitive reconstructs to make it real for that individual.

So, it's not even a situation where the parent would have to continually coach. We see with therapists sometimes because of positive regard for a patient, the patient may say I think I was abused. The therapist continues to work with that patient around the memory and it just solidifies a memory which may not be true in fact.

PAUL: OK. So, Dylan's letter last weekend, as you know, was incredibly graphic. Almost in times she was speaking like a 7-year- old --

BLACKWELL: In detail.

PAUL: In these details. She talks about the alleged abuse with a toy train and talks about where the abuse happened in the house. Can a parent coach a child with those kinds of details if it didn't happen?

GARDERE: Yes, absolutely. This can be a situation. We see it happen all the time. Again, the false memories where a parent -- and let's be clear here, when there is a divorce situation, where there's a custody battle, we what's called a parental alienation and a parent will choose a child to be on their side, the worse thing a parent can do, and they will coach them and memories become very real.

PAUL: Jeff, I've only got a couple of seconds. But I want to get this out. In 1997, A Connecticut magazine article said that there was probable cause to bring charges. They chose not to do so because of the fragility of the child.

Is that common?

GARDERE: That is really common if you don't want to retraumatize the child if in fact something did happen with this child. And let me be clear here. I don't know what happened in this particular case, but it is a family divided and people have been irreparably hurt here. It's a horrible situation for everyone involved.

PAUL: Yes. OK. Well, Jeff Gardere, thank you for walking us through that. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

GARDERE: Pleasure.

PAUL: That was some of our research we found. A lot out there saying no charges were brought because there was no evidence.

BLACKWELL: Many misconceptions.

PAUL: Yes. There was evidence apparently. There was probably cause, but they didn't want to further hurt this child.

Still to come, a mystery at sea -- my goodness are people fascinated with this, because there's a lot of skepticism.

BLACKWELL: There is. The castaway claims he drifted in the pacific for more than a year, living on turtles and rain water. But no one knows how he could have survived so long.


PAUL: Well, his story of being lost at sea for more than a year, that is captivating, isn't it? Some people are saying did this really happen? A mysterious castaway could go home within days from the hospital.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is in the Marshall Islands following this story for us.

Hi, Miguel.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, there has been a lot of skepticism about Jose Alvarenga's story, whether or not he actually spent more than 13 months floating in a boat more than 6,000 miles from Mexico, to the Marshall Islands, here, out in the middle of the South Pacific.

One local we spoke to has knowledge about this. He spent three days after trapped in the ocean himself says he just doesn't buy it.

How tough is it to be on the ocean for a few days?

JERRY KRAMER, 3 DAYS LOST AT SEA: It is very tough.

MARQUEZ: You thought you were going to die?

KRAMER: I thought I was going to die. You start hallucinating without fresh water.

As far as birds -- well, there aren't any birds until you get close to land.

And turtles? We didn't -- I mean, we have turtles in the Marshall Islands. But I never heard of a turtle coming up and bumping our boats.

MARQUEZ: Despite the skepticism, perhaps Mr. Alvarenga's story speaks for himself. He did speak to CNN exclusively. We're the only network that's talked to him.

And he told us how he survived on turtles and birds. Turtles that bumped up against the side of the boat to capture and consume and then capturing water on the plastic on the boat. Just unbelievable facts.

But the fact that that boat made it from Mexico to here. CNN also has pictures of that boat and the boat he says he left on in Mexico, there's just no other way around it. No matter what skepticism you may have about the story, that boat clearly got from Mexico to this place here.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Majuro, Marshall Islands.


PAUL: It is something, isn't it?

Miguel Marquez, thank you so much.

And thank you for sharing part of your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: We've got a lot coming up in the next hour of your NEW DAY. It starts right now.