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Carbon Monoxide Restaurant Death; Penalty for Racial Slurs; Paulina Pinsky: Even Dr. Drew's Daughter Can Have An Eating Disorder

Aired February 24, 2014 - 08:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back. Time for the five things you need to know for your new day.

At number one, Ukraine's ousted president now wanted for mass murder. A warrant has been issued for Viktor Yanukovych. The parliamentary speaker is now the interim president.

Jason Collins is the first openly gay athlete ever to compete in a major U.S. team sport. The new Brooklyn Nets center got 12 minutes of play time in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers last night.

The Pentagon planning to shrink the U.S. Army to its smallest force since before World War II. "The New York Times" says Defense Secretary Hagel is expected to reveal that plan today.

Paula Deen apologizing once again in mounting her comeback after seeing her career fall apart after racist comments she acknowledged she made in the past. The celebrity chef telling fans in Florida that she's back in the saddle and doing great.

And say adieu, so long, farewell, to Sochi. The Olympics are over. Host Russia led the way with 33 medals over all. The games were capped off by an elaborate closing ceremony with the passing of the Olympic flag to South Korea, which will host the games in 2018. It's right around the corner.

We always update those five things to know, as you know, so go to for the very latest.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're following new developments this morning after a father of two was killed inside a New York restaurant because of an apparent carbon monoxide poisoning. More than two dozen people were sickened, including first responders. This is one of multiple incidents just this month that have left many hospitalized from the deadly gas. So is enough being done to keep people safe? What do you need to know? CNN's Alexandra Field is joining us with much more on that.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kate, it seems like common sense that we should all have a carbon monoxide detector in our own homes, but even people who are really vigilant aren't often thinking about it when they're in public places. So if there's anything we can learn from what happened in Long Island over the weekend, it's that more of us need to be able to recognize the signs that there's a problem.


FIELD: This morning, clues in the deadly carbon monoxide accident at a busy New York mall. Steven Nelson found unconscious in the basement of the Legal Seafood he managed. The 55 year old pronounced dead at a hospital. Twenty-seven other people, seven of them first responders, sent to hospitals with symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure.

ROGER BERKOWITZ, CEO, LEGAL SEAFOOD: This is news you don't expect to here. It's almost, you know, unexpectedly losing, you know, a loved one.

FIELD: The restaurant didn't have a carbon monoxide detector. Huntington town officials say New York state fire code doesn't require them in restaurants.

BERKOWITZ: We always assume something's in place, but, you know, the reality is there isn't anything in place. And, you know, this is a -- sort of a sad wake-up call for everyone.

FIELD: Officials say the deadly gas spread through the restaurant's basement because of a leak in the flue pipe of a water heater. Sunday, seven people in Maine were also taken to area hospitals complaining of nausea, headaches and dizziness at their motel.

Responds there found high levels of carbon monoxide. Earlier this month, another water heater leak at a hotel in Maryland sent nine people to the hospital. And, last year, three people died in the same room at a North Carolina hotel almost two months apart. Fire officials traced the carbon monoxide to ventilation pipes for a pool heater that was placed near an air conditioning unit for their room.

The gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless. You won't know there's a leak without a working carbon monoxide detector.

CHIEF JOSEPH PFEIFER, FDNY CHIEF: If it's severe enough, they will actually pass out and go into a coma and die.

FIELD: Risk of exposure goes up when the temperature goes down. In commercial spaces, the problem typically starts in a basement or a ground floor where heating equipment is often kept. Danger follows when it isn't properly ventilated.

PFEIFER: If we hold a match right by the flue, you'll see the flame go up. If it starts blowing out towards you, well, there's something wrong.


FIELD: Great tip there. The Centers for Disease Control says that every year more than 500 people die because of unintentional exposure to carbon monoxide. And, buys, I spoke to firefighters here in New York City. They actually carry on them carbon monoxide detectors and they tell me that oftentimes they'll walk into these medical calls, the alarm will sound. Right away they know what the problem is. It can really - you know, it can be as simple as that.

BOLDUAN: It seems simple, but clearly not everyone is getting the message enough. Thanks so much, Alexandra.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You've got to have one in your house. You have to check the battery. And they have a certain half-life, then they're not useful any more. So you just have to stay on top of it because, again, it's not like smoke where you'll get some kind of warning. It matters. That's why we tell you about it.

Coming up on NEW DAY, something else that matters. What do you think of this? The NFL wants to deal with these problems that have come up about their culture, right, and use of the n-word and bullying. So, here's one of the suggestions that may happen. A 15 yard penalty if you use the n-word or another harm - you know, another offensive word. What do you think? Is that a good way to clean up the image? Is that a good way to change the game? We're going to debate it.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, America's therapist, Dr. Drew, has a family struggle of his own. His daughter is going public with her very personal battle with an eating disorder. Paulina Pinsky will be joining us to talk about why she's coming forward. That's ahead.


CUOMO: Guys are already coming after me on Twitter about this. We haven't even done the segment yet. This should be good. All right, this is no ordinary penalty. The new rule being proposed in the NFL would do this, automatic 15 yard penalty for on field use of the - of an offensive term or the n-word, for example. Is it necessary or is this just the league going too far to clean up its image? Let's debate. Mike Pesca of and NPR, Mike's daily podcast is "Hang Up and Listen," and CNN contributor and ESPN columnist LZ Granderson.

Great to have both of you.

Before we get to you, let's just be clear about what the NFL is saying here. Here's their statement. "It is a potential rule modification being discussed by our Competition Committee. Our game officials already have substantial authority to police verbal abuse/unsportsmanlike conduct and they understand the league's focus on respect." Interestingly someone tweeted me, what about if an official uses one of these terms, what happens to them? Any penalty?

All right, but let's start, Pesca, let's start with you. How do you see it? Is this good, bad, indifferent?

MIKE PESCA, SENIOR PODCAST HOST, SLATE.COM: I think it's what a lawyer would call de minimus. In other words, this is the least they could do. I think that, you know, if the rule was just like, oh, we should enforce - we should have regulations against offensive language, there would be a debate and the debate would go, well, what kind of offensive language?

I mean, of course, the n-word. That would be part of the debate that we would say, of course the n-word should be - if you're going penalize offensive language should be the first word you should penalize.

CUOMO: Should you penalize it though?

PESCA: I think - I think so. I think that the NFL is trying to deal with its PR issues, is trying to deal with some of the stuff that happened in the Jonathan Martin case. But it's also a million dollar workplace. And as such, you can say, we're not going to have our players engaged in this activity. And because NFL players know how to react to rules, I think it will stamp it out. They don't take their helmets off any more because that's against the rules. Why would they have to say the n-word.

BOLDUAN: LZ, weigh in. Do you think it's as simple as that, that if - there should be a rule on it, there should be more done on it, there should - it should be a message to the culture of the NFL, this should to be done?

LZ GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the power of all rules and laws is not just having it written down on paper but the ability to enforce it and the punishment for enforcing it. Let's talk about the first thing, the ability to enforce it. How in the heck are referees going to be able to accurately figure out who said the n-word, especially in a huddle, especially in a srum (ph), especially when the action is going so high. We talk so much about the power of Seattle's fan base and how loud it gets in their stadium. How are you going to tell who is saying the n-word when the Seahawk fan base is going crazy? So --

PEREIRA: So then let me ask you, LZ -

GRANDERSON: I'm just questioning -

PEREIRA: So I agree with you on the enforcement issue.


PEREIRA: That seems like - and I don't even play the game, but that seems to me like a challenging beast to contain. But let me ask you, you think that something needs to be done. Is there a better way?

GRANDERSON: Well, the problem with the NFL is that it's kind of -- it's grabbing for straws, right, because this issue got into the forefront, not because of what really happens on the field. And this is what I mean.

We're focused in on Rickie Incognito and Riley Cooper, two white players who were caught on tape using the n-word. The reality is, is that the NFL is predominantly African-American and it's the African- American players who are using the word mostly on field. How are you going to - how you going to deal with that nuance?

CUOMO: That's a strong point. GRANDERSON: So - and also -

CUOMO: That's a strong point. And it -

GRANDERSON: And there's also the question of -

CUOMO: Go ahead, LZ.

GRANDERSON: Well, I was going to - I was going to say, and there's also the issue of the comfort level of the referees. How comfortable would a white referee be in punishing a black player for using the n- word? How comfortable are black referees going to be?

CUOMO: Outcome of the game also. Right, so you've got --


CUOMO: You have your color politics going on there. You have that this could decide a game in a game that is all about intimidation.


CUOMO: And they say the ugliest things all day long. They try to manufacture them to get an effect. The question comes down to, Pesca, is this PC run amuck where we're focusing on what you say as opposed to what you do, to LZ's point, that we're not going to really change culture, we're just going to punish you for lip service.

PESCA: Not run amuck. I mean it is politically correctness, but - and that's become a dirty word, but sometimes politically correct just means don't be a racist. And I think it's fine for them to act --

PEREIRA: Thank you.

CUOMO: But most of the guys in black in the league, most of the guys that are using the term are black. Are they all racist?

PESCA: Yes, yes. And I understand. I - well, it's a fraught issue and they might be a little bit ignorant and it's also a generational thing. But I'll say this, every day in public schools there are white teachers who have almost all black classes who have a rule (ph). I don't like that rule in my class and they enforce that rule.

And it seems that if discretion is used -- and I can't see referees throwing flags left and right for teammates saying it to each other. But I think if discretion is ruled, used (ph) and one or two penalties are called, it could change the culture a little bit. Not just the NFL culture, the culture.

PEREIRA: Doesn't it just end up making the referees more like a hall monitor? You know, I was thinking about that, they already have a lot that they have to keep their eyes on just on the game.


BOLDUAN: It would have to be (INAUDIBLE), right? PESCA: Yes.


BOLDUAN: I mean, it would have to be blatantly in their face. Which then makes me think aren't there already rules on the books? Can't you just say unsportsmanlike conduct? LZ go ahead.

GRANDERSON: You know, the thing that I find really interesting -- I was going to say the thing that I find really interesting is that so we're really focused in on the n word right, and how you are going to enforce it while at the same time the NFL continues to market the r- word and has a football team in Washington that's based upon a racial slur. So, again, it seems like they are grasping for straws.

I mean how are you really -- what are you really trying to communicate here? What you really need to do is figure out what you're going to do with the football player that's caught on video dragging his knocked-out fiancee out of an elevator or some of the other players who are continually being arrested for DUI. That's really what's impacting your culture.

What's happening on the field, those slurs -- that's a part of it but what's really damaging the culture are the things I've talked about that's illegal.

CUOMO: Imagine the first came that's affected this outcome by this call and what the outrage would be there especially when what LZ and Mike are saying are so true. You have big problems, deal with it in big ways. Who knows if this is a step in the direction.

What do you think? Tweet us with the #newday -- let's keep the conversation going.

BOLDUAN: Thanks guys, great to see you.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: addiction hitting close to home for Dr. Drew. His daughter Paulina Pinsky is opening up about her battle with an eating disorder. She is joining us next to talk about how it's affected her life and also why she's speaking out because she wants to help.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Paulina Pinsky, daughter of famed addiction specialist, Dr. Drew, is revealing a very personal battle of her very own. Pinsky writes in candid articles online that she has fought an eating disorder since seventh grade suffering from what she called the weight of perfection. Now for the first time she's talking nationally about her struggle and she's joining us, of course, on NEW DAY this morning. Paulina, thank you so much for coming in.

PAULINA PINSKY, DAUGHTER OF DR. DREW: Thank you for having me. BOLDUAN: It takes a lot for someone to speak out about it ever and it took a lot for you to speak out about it. I want to just kind of get your take on why it was important for you to speak out so publicly. In part, this is a very thoughtful and long piece you wrote originally. You said this in one part. "I had hit rock bottom four months prior and had put myself into therapy. Purging eight times in one day to cope with the emotional stress of being home during spring break, had finally scared me enough to take action."

PINSKY: Obviously my father works in mental health and so I knew what I needed to do to take care of myself and it got to the point where I didn't want to live like that any more. And I put myself in therapy and I've been in therapy ever since and I'm two years recovered.

Talking about it has been really helpful in my recovery.

BOLDUAN: Has it?

PINSKY: Yes. A lot of people have reached out and talking about it gives me my clarity and I'm comfortable talking about it. I'm not ashamed of it. And I think it's really important to talk about it because it's such a stigmatized issue.

And part of the reason, you know, people don't talk about it is because it's so stigmatized. If we can talk about it, I think it would solve a lot of the problem.

BOLDUAN: With a famous name I'm sure you at least considered that this was going to get a lot of attention. Did you consider that? Were you surprised?

PINSKY: You know, I wrote this in November so when I first published it I was nervous. Obviously, I wasn't ready for it to come out yesterday. I mean, obviously, I'm very open about it and I'm comfortable talking about it.


PINSKY: But it was definitely a surprise, you know, so many months later for it to be published like that.

BOLDUAN: What was the moment? You've been battling with bulimia and anorexia since seventh grade. When was the moment after you'd gone into therapy that you thought that you wanted to speak out so publicly about it?

PINSKY: Only recently -- this fall. I wrote the piece, a friend of mine asked me to write it.

BOLDUAN: Did something happen?

PINSKY: I was just ready to talk about it. There was just a moment where I was like "This is it. This is what I want to do. I want to help people with this." Because I don't want to suffer in silence anymore. BOLDUAN: Your father is a good friend of our show, Dr. Drew. He gave a statement saying in many different ways that he's so proud of you -- I know because you're his wonderful daughter -- but so proud of you in speaking out, so proud of you that you needed help and you sought therapy and you've been active in your therapy and proud of you that you are now using your insights to help others.

But if you read this piece it definitely made me wonder how did your mother react? Because it was your relationship with her --

PINSKY: Right.

BOLDUAN: -- that you point to as part of the problem.

PINSKY: Right. It was hard to write that. But I think that honesty is really important in a relationship. And through writing this, we understood each other better and we had to have a conversation about it and we had to really work out our kinks. And I think that writing has helped her see my perspective. I saw more clarity in writing than speaking sometimes.

And so, you know, the mother-daughter relationship is complicated and, you know, I've had the privilege to be able to write about it and my mom be OK about it and support me throughout all of it. But I love her regardless. And you know, it's hard. It's hard.

BOLDUAN: But you'll be stronger because of that.

PINSKY: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: You know folks are wondering. Many people -- so many people unfortunately battle eating disorders and often do it alone. But folks look at this and say how is it possible that even Dr. Drew's daughter, one of the most famous therapists in the country, how could this also happen to her?

PINSKY: Right.

BOLDUAN: What do you say to them?

PINSKY: I think it's a product of our culture. We've been obsessed and fat-phobic. And you know, it can happen to anybody. My family isn't immune. We're not perfect. You know, we're put on a pedestal to be this perfect family and we're not. And we're just people. And that's an important thing.

Like this can happen to anybody. And even if it's not an eating disorder we're very, very comfortable with disordered eating and you know, we're very obsessive as I mentioned. And so it's a product of our culture and it's not just my family alone. But I think that's a good point to make is that, you know, even Dr. Drew's daughter can have an eating disorder too.

BOLDUAN: Yes. It can affect every family.

PINSKY: Right. BOLDUAN: You seem perfect. How are you -- often the outside does not mirror the inside as we know when people are struggling with things? How are you doing today? Where are you on your road to recovery would you say?

PINSKY: I'm -- I mean it's been a crazy 24 hours.

BOLDUAN: I'm sure.

PINSKY: But I'm doing great with my recovery. I'm organizing a body- positive and eating disorder awareness this week because it's national eating disorder awareness week coinciding. So I'm in a really good place. I'm doing activism for it. I'm really excited. I'm making some lemonade out of these lemons.

BOLDUAN: Best thing you can do. I think everyone would agree. Thank you so much for your strength. Thanks so much for coming on and speaking so openly on such a very big stage about this.

PINSKY: Thank you for having me.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very, very much -- Paulina. Good luck with everything. Good luck with school.

PINSKY: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Only a junior -- you're much wiser than I was in my junior year.

Chris, back over to you.

CUOMO: We need it -- Paulina. It's a problem that affects so many families and so many people out there. So it's great to have you speaking out on the show.

We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY.

When we come back, take a look at this guy. He clearly lost a bet -- right. He looks like one of those lawn Smurfs there that you see every once in a while. But his loss is becoming a big win for charity. We're going to tell you how. This guy, he's the good stuff.


CUOMO: The perfect song for a perfect segment of "The Good Stuff". How ironic that today's "Good Stuff" the guy's name is Betters, Steve Betters to be exact. And as I'm sure you can tell he lost a Super Bowl bet this guy. Take a listen.


STEVE BETTERS, LOST A SUPER BOWL BET: They said OK you can dye it orange. I said well, orange not good enough if I'm going to dye it I'm going to go full boat and do the pink.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: By the way, the beard was already going full boat and that wasn't part of the bet. So Betters decided to make lemonade out of lemons -- a little bit of a theme for us here this morning. He put the pink beard on Facebook and said "I'm going to give a dollar to a nearby children's hospital for each like I get. He thought he'd get about, you know, 500. Guess what? 4,000 -- best part, even the gooder stuff it becomes a rallying point for the community.

Everybody supporting the hospital and as for Steve, he's is starting to like the pink even more than his real hair.


BETTERS: It was a nice beautiful really light, light blonde. The pink just worked so well with it. I mean it just kind of gets you. I didn't expect it to look this great.


CUOMO: You know what? The truth is Steve is absolutely wrong. It looks horrible. But he's raising money for it.

BOLDUAN: It brings out his eyes.

PEREIRA: They have a family wedding coming up in May. I want to see how that --

BOLDUAN: Front on center.

PEREIRA: See what the bride says about that one.

CUOMO: Yes. Somewhere there's some woman with power who is shaking her head like no, no.

All right. Thanks for being with us here. A lot of news this morning -- let's get to you the "NEWSROOM" and Miss Carol Costello.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: He does look creepy.



COSTELLO: Thanks guys. Have a great day.