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California Wildfires; Will Donald Sterling Fight NBA?; Gender Wars: Sexual Politics in America; Allegations of Teacher Misconduct at Texas School

Aired May 15, 2014 - 22:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This is a CNN SPECIAL REPORT. I'm Don Lemon. Tonight, breaking news on two big stories.

There are reports from "Sports Illustrated" and from "USA Today" that Donald Sterling through a new lawyer has told the NBA that he will not pay his fine, and he will sue.

Plus, fires burning out of control in Southern California, threatening homes and generating firenados. CNN is on the scene.

First, though ,we are going to get to CNN's Gary Tuchman. He is in San Marcos, California, where fierce wildfires have forced at least 23,000 people out of their homes.

So, Gary, there are multiple houses burning in something called firenados. What is going on where you are?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, I can tell you, this has been a scary, frightening, volatile day here in San Diego County, particularly north of the city of San Diego.

And this is the city of San Marcos, California. Up on top of this here right here, you see fire trucks there. They have just put out a blaze that was on top of the hill. Perhaps we have reached a turning point. You can see the helicopter dumping water right there. Perhaps we have reached a turning point because the winds have now calmed down. The weather has gotten cooler.

But many homes have been destroyed, Don. And you're talking about those firenados. Basically, it's a fire tornado, the combination of the wind, the combination of the heat. And we saw it today swirling and it literally looks like a tornado. And what happens, it propels ashes and embers hundreds of yards away and areas that were completely not touched by any fire within seconds erupt in flame.

It is very dangerous for the firefighters, dangerous for outsiders like us who are in the area. But we saw it many times today and that's why people here know it's been a very perilous day here in northern San Diego County.

LEMON: Gary, do you know anything about the cause of the fire?

TUCHMAN: Yes. There's a lot of speculation, because at least nine major fires are burning, that it's arson-related. So coincidental that there would be nine fires. One man was brought in for questioning.

He was released. So, they don't know for sure just yet, but they certainly are looking very hard at the possibility that it was arson- related. The good news, Don, tomorrow is supposed to be cooler, even cooler over the weekend. So perhaps as we stand here right now talking to you, the worst might be over.

LEMON: Gary Tuchman. Gary, we will get back to you through out the hour. Thank you very much.

Other breaking news tonight, Donald Sterling reportedly gearing up to sue the NBA, refusing it pay the fine.

Joining me now is CNN's Sunny Hostin. She is our legal analyst. Nischelle Turner is CNN's entertainer correspondent. And on the phone is Rick Reilly, ESPN columnist, and Stephanie Elam, CNN correspondent.

Thank you all for joining us.

Sunny, "Sports Illustrated" reporting this, "USA Today" as well. This is a bombshell.


Can I say, game on? I said it from the very beginning. This is a guy who is litigious by nature. He sues for sport. He's not going down without a fight. And I might add the move that he just made, hiring an antitrust lawyer, means the game is on. That is his strongest legal argument. He is saying that the team will have forced him to sell his team like sort of below market price. So it like an illegal restraint of trade, not to get too legally wonky, the legal nerd that I am, but it's a strong, strong showing initially right out of the gate by Donald Sterling.

LEMON: OK. So, the fine was $2.5 million. The fine was already overdue. And not just antitrust attorney, prominent antitrust attorney, it's litigator Maxwell Blecher.

He wrote a letter to the NBA vice president and council saying he should not have been fined. There was no reason for any sort of punishment and he should keep his team.

HOSTIN: He is not only saying I'm going to sue you if you take my team from me. I'm not going to honor the suspension and I'm not going to pay the fine. That is huge. That is a huge statement by Donald Sterling.

LEMON: Sterling does not warrant any punishment at all for his comments and also saying that it violates his due process rights.

HOSTIN: I think that's the weaker argument, because we he know that he signed on to these franchise agreements. He signed on to sort of allow the NBA's rule of law to sort of subsume everything.

But I do think the antitrust argument is serious. I do think that he is serious. And bottom line is, I told you so. We all knew he was going to do this.

LEMON: Yes. Again, this is "USA Today"'s today's reporting and "Sports Illustrated" reporting. CNN has not been able to independently confirm this information entirely, but it is not entirely unexpected.

Rick Reilly, do you think it is entirely unexpected?

RICK REILLY, AUTHOR: This guy, I have known since '81. He will sue over a bowl of soup. This guy sues for everything.

To me, what he is doing here is buying time so he can figure out how the divorce will go down, trying to find a way to save taxes on the capital gains he is going to make. He bought the team for $12 million. It is going to be worth at least a billion dollars.

My question is, who does he think is going to advertise in his arena? What players do you think are going to want to play for him if he remains as the owner?

What I think maybe he is trying to do is get a position for both he and his wife to be completely silent owners of this, and the new -- NBA would bring in the new ownership team and they would be -- these two people would be -- from having anything to do with the team while he tries to put his money ducks in a row.

LEMON: I should add that Rick Reilly is sports columnist.

Rick, stand by.

I want to get to CNN's Stephanie Elam.

Stephanie, you have been following the team very closely. And you know the sentiments, how they feel. They also have been following public sentiments in the Los Angeles area. What's happening with the team?

Stephanie Elam?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don -- yes, Don, I can barely hear you. It is so loud inside here at Staples Center.

But just to give you an idea, the people that I talked to so far are saying that if there is any Sterling ownership, that is going to be a problem moving into next season. Right now, I think they are focussing on the playoffs.

But for a lot of fans here tonight -- obviously, we weren't able to ask any of the players, and this came out after the presser with coach Doc Rivers. But, all in all, it's again a major distraction at a time when this the team is trying to focus. And fans are really behind this team, but obviously I don't think anyone is surprised by this, that he is digging in his heels. But at the same time, I think some people were hoping that this just wasn't going to happen, Don.

LEMON: That he wasn't going to drag this on. Nischelle Turner, Stephanie Elam is right on. A lot of people were hoping that this was not going to happen. News does travel fast here in the Los Angeles area. What is the reaction area so far, if any, in Los Angeles, with every -- players, celebrities? Almost everyone, they have been speaking out against Donald Sterling.


I kind of lean towards what Sunny was saying. I don't think it is a shock or a surprise to anyone that Donald Sterling is choosing the litigious route in this situation.

But I do think it's interesting, Don, you know, we were just getting this information, but in the letter, in the reported letter that his attorney sent to the NBA, he says, Donald Sterling did nothing wrong, but in Donald Sterling's own words to Anderson Cooper in his exclusive interview, he said, I made a terrible mistake. I did wrong. So which is it?

LEMON: Yes. He said I made a terrible, terrible mistake, to make a specific quote there.

TURNER: Exactly.

LEMON: Sunny, let's get back to you. Stand by, Nischelle.

According to the "S.I." letter, it's said the controversy -- quote -- "will be adjudicated and we reject your demand for payment."


HOSTIN: That's lawyer-speak for, I'm going to sue the pants off of you if you maintain your current course.

Lawyers make threats all the time in these letters. I used to call them fire faxes, because I would get them when I was practicing by fax. And it really is sort of a veiled threat. If you continue on your course, NBA, we will have no other choice but to sue.

LEMON: Can he sue the NBA and win?

HOSTIN: Well, you know what, he has sort of flouted the NBA rules before. Remember, when he bought the Clippers, they were not in L.A.


LEMON: ... moved the team, right?

HOSTIN: He moved the team, even though the NBA told him that he couldn't. The NBA then sues him. He sues them back for more money. And guess what? The L.A. Clippers are in Los Angeles. Right?

LEMON: Right.

HOSTIN: So this is a guy who sued the NBA before. He will do it again. And he can do it again. I think what's interesting about the argument, everybody has always been sort of talking about this NBA constitution and flailing it around.

Bottom line is, this is unprecedented in sports law. I have spoken to so many sports attorneys that are sort of throwing their hand up. They're saying, I just read the NBA constitution. This thing was private. It just became public. No one has ever interpreted the conduct sort of portion of it that says you can be terminated for unethical conduct.

Is this unethical conduct? Well, I don't know. And so I think he is on descent legal footing. And a court needs to interpret it. That's why we have the laws, right, to sort of make things make sense when they are unclear.

LEMON: Rick Reilly from, columnist there, you know, sportswriters from all over the country, I'm sure, are scrambling to get information and write about this now.

And the big question is, what will the owners do, the team owners do? Because it is really up to them, and I think they will be asking, what does this guy have to lose? He has a lot of money. Should we just settle up with him? What do you think?

REILLY: I don't think they can settle up. He is worth $1.9 billion. I don't think he wants to settle.

I think he now -- this seems to be his course of action, which is incredible, because he told Anderson Cooper, what good would it do me to sue?

Hey, by the way, Don, there is something else. I remember this guy now that is representing him. He's the guy that represented the L.A. Coliseum again the NFL when the Raiders moved between L.A. and Oakland, and won.



Well, Rick, he's also the same guy that represented Sterling back in 1982 when the Clippers, when they were planning to move the Clippers from San Diego to Los Angeles. So, he has worked with Donald Sterling before.

You see -- and there was a settlement.


HOSTIN: And he is a winner.

LEMON: Right? They settled out of court.

Didn't Donald Sterling end up getting like $4 million from that or something?



HOSTIN: I think he paid...


REILLY: In a nutshell, what just happened tonight totally screws the pooch on this whole thing.

We are going to be in this now for a couple of years. And if the players think they're going to boycott over this long, complex web of legal maneuvers, I don't think that's going to. I just don't know how he's ever going to get a free agent to go there or get anybody to advertise in his arena. He has got -- it is a mess now.

HOSTIN: No, Rick is totally right about that, because we have been talking about the players and how they have banded together and that LeBron James has said that they will boycott.

But the bottom line is they are also under contractual obligations. I spoke to someone that is familiar with those contracts. That person told me, look, bottom line is, they are under contract. They can get sued or they would have to be traded.

LEMON: What about a conservatorship? Can a team be placed into a conservatorship, where no one -- where Donald Sterling or his family really doesn't have control of that, someone else is watching over it? Dick Parsons is already the new CEO of the team. Is it sort of in that place now?

HOSTIN: Who knows. That's really the answer, because, again, this is sort of unprecedented.

LEMON: It's unprecedented.

HOSTIN: But I do think that is sort of ultimately what well see. I have said that about Shelly Sterling. I think he we will see the Sterlings keep a piece of it, whether it is Donald or Shelly or both and have this passive relationship.

LEMON: What next, Rick Reilly? Do we know? You said this is going to take years in your estimation, in your experience?

REILLY: Well, I covered Marge Schott and the Cincinnati Reds, who said absolutely the same kind of horrible things. And it took Major League Baseball two years to untangle all the Web site and get her to sell. So, yes, I could see two years, easy.

LEMON: All right. Stephanie Elam, I know that you're at the arena. If you get any information, will you get back to us? And we will you get on the air.

Thank you, Rick Reilly.

Nischelle and Sunny will stay with me, because coming up, we're going to talk about some celebrities behaving badly. Jay-Z, Beyonce speak out about their elevator battle caught on tape. What's their explanation? That's next.


LEMON: Welcome back, everyone.

The elevator battle caught on tape. Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Beyonce's sister, Solange, they release a statement, so what happened there? We're going to talk about that. We have it. You're going to hear it for yourself.

I want to bring in my guests, so before I read it.

Michael Levine, a celebrity publicist and founder of Levine Communications. Mark DiCowden is the attorney for the photographer who is currently suing Justin Bieber. Nischelle Turner of course is CNN's entertainment correspondent and Sunny Hostin is with me, right with me, and she is in the hot seat tonight.


So Jay-Z, Beyonce and her sister Solange release a collective statement today about that elevator battle.

And here's what they say.

It says: "Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred. They both acknowledge their role in this private matter" -- notice they said private matter -- "that has played out in the public. They both have apologized to each other and we have moved forward as a united family."

Nischelle, I have been saying everywhere I could that was going to be it. We're family. We're just like everybody else. We worked it out. But it doesn't actually tell you what happened inside that elevator, does it?

TURNER: And they're not going to tell you what happened inside that elevator, Don.

It's funny because you must have known that Sunny and I were having this conversation in the hallway today. We stood there and were bumping our gums. So, that's probably why you have the both of us here tonight.


HOSTIN: We have been obsessed with it.

TURNER: Exactly.

But the interesting here, I do think that they are saying, listen, this stuff happens in families. We're not different than any other family. We're just like you.

I think they are trying to be a little more relatable to people. But my point here is, what else could they do? I mean, look at this video. We all watched this over and over and over again. They had to say something.


TURNER: They are known for being tight-lipped about everything. But in this case, this was so bad and so incendiary, they had to say something.

HOSTIN: You know he what my problem is with this, though, Nischelle, and we're talking about it a little bit in our -- along our CNN hallways.

LEMON: I know what you're going to say.

HOSTIN: My family can be a little cray-cray, they can be a little crazy, but we don't beat each other up in elevators.


LEMON: My sister doesn't hit my brother-in-law. They may have a disagreement about something, but not like that.


HOSTIN: That was wild.

LEMON: I got to read the rest of the statement.

The statement goes on to say: "The reports of Solange being intoxicated or displaying erratic behavior throughout that evening are simply false. At the end of the day families have problems and we're no different. We love each other and above all we are family. We've put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same."

My gosh, I feel like I wrote this. I knew that was exactly what they were going to say.

TURNER: Guys, can I tell you something, though?

I heard you guys say, I heard you guys say, oh, my family didn't do this. And, literally, my family, we have had some knock-down, drag- out arguments, too, not to where it comes fisticuffs.


TURNER: But I tell you, I got in such a bad argument with my uncle one time, I made him pull over on the highway and put -- I got out on this highway, the side of the road. Stuff happens.


LEMON: But not like that.

TURNER: But this -- this was an assault in an elevator.

LEMON: Michael, is that would you have advised them to do, this statement? MICHAEL LEVINE, CELEBRITY PUBLICIST: Oh, yes, exactly, because the best defense is an offense. And the only offense today is a relentless one.

You just have to stay on offense. If you don't define -- as I said last week with you, if you don't define the narrative, history will define it for you and you are not going to like it a lot. The whole thing, Don, is just nutty as a squirrel's breakfast.



HOSTIN: That's a good one.

LEMON: Nutty as a -- what is it?

HOSTIN: A squirrel's breakfast. I like that.


LEMON: All right.

Mark, you represent the photographer. We are going to move on now to Justin Bieber. Photographer Michael -- Manuel Munoz, who filed a lawsuit last night against both Justin Bieber and one of his bodyguards.


LEMON: He is suing Bieber for battery and false imprisonment. This is from an incident back in January that transpired just before Bieber's DUI arrest. Explain.

DICOWDEN: Well, just before Bieber was arrested, he left a nightclub.

Manuel Munoz is a professional photographer. And he took a picture of Justin Bieber. He was about 20 feet away. He wasn't in his face. And all of a sudden, Justin had his bodyguards come over, chase my client down the block, into a subway restaurant. They locked the door, they beat him up, they tried to take his camera and they hurt him very bad.

There is a 911 call which tells a lot of what happened. There are a lot of independent witnesses who have given sworn statements about what happened. It's a very serious matter for my client.

LEMON: We have the 911 tape.

TURNER: Let's hear it.


911 OPERATOR: Hello, sir, did you say that they left or are they still there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They are waiting outside. I think they are waiting outside.


Are you inside the restaurant still?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I'm inside the restaurant. They're Justin Bieber's bodyguards.


LEMON: And we have to tell you that the lawyer provided us with this tape. We did reach out to the Miami Beach police. We haven't heard anything.

The 911 call was made and a police statement issued.

So, why no criminal charges filed here?

DICOWDEN: There is a criminal investigation that is pending right now. Whether or not charges will be filed is up to the state attorney's office in Florida to see what they will do.

But my client is looking for this not to happen it somebody else. This is happening in a day and age where we are all paparazzi, as I believe you said last night on the show, Don.

Everybody's got a camera. Everybody's taking pictures. And people like pictures of celebrities. Justin Bieber is the one celebrity that is sending his bodyguards individuals that take his picture.

LEMON: All right, let's put Justin Bieber's statement up on the screen, and then we will read it.

It says: "The new lawsuit filed by a paparazzi is yet another shakedown for money from Justin Bieber. The paparazzo admits that Justin is not -- wasn't present at the alleged assault. The paparazzo gave a totally different in his statements to police, including admitting that he was demanding $10,000 from the security guard for pictures he took. Paparazzo told him he had only scratched his knee when he was allegedly tripped, but claims he was beat. The attorney for the paparazzo is the same lawyer who represents another paparazzo suing for millions of dollars in the incident where Justin was not present and in which there are no damages."

So, Mark, what gives here? Was this a shakedown?

DICOWDEN: That is something that any celebrity would say when they get sued.

Justin Bieber is -- bodyguards are supposed to protect the celebrity. What Justin Bieber is doing is using his bodyguards as a tool to go after people that take pictures. We have seen Justin Bieber who has personally attacked individuals himself who have taken his picture.

There's two incidents in the last week where he has had altercations with other individuals who have taken his picture. And he also sends out his bodyguards. In fact, the bodyguard that is involved in this incident was arrested in Hawaii last year for attacking another photographer.

LEMON: OK. For those of us who are not that famous, we wonder, isn't that the tradeoff of being famous? If you don't want to do it, then don't be famous.

HOSTIN: In a sense.

LEMON: What would you advise Justin to do, Michael?

LEVINE: A lot of celebrities refer to this kind of thing that you're talking about as a luxury tax, exactly what you're saying, which is the price of stardom. It is a luxury tax. And it has become the way of the world right now.


LEVINE: Everyone has a cell phone. And it has just become a luxury tax.

TURNER: Can I play devil's advocate here?

LEMON: Of course. By all means.


And I'm not taking sides because I'm an entertainment reporter. I will say the attorney for the paparazzo said that all the time the celebrities say that the paparazzo do this. Well, paparazzo a lot of times say I wasn't doing anything at all.

And let me tell you, I have been on a lot of scenes and a lot of situations where I have seen some pretty darn aggressive and really downright vicious and mean paparazzo.

I was just a couple weeks ago at a hotel in Los Angeles. There were paparazzi that were trying to sneak into the hotel to try to get a picture of Gwyneth Paltrow inside, going through all these means. Let me just take the other side and say, not all paparazzo are just, I wasn't doing anything.

LEMON: All right. All right.

All right, Nischelle Baldwin, that is going to have to be the last word.



HOSTIN: That's a good point.

LEMON: That's a good point. All right. We will move on. Thank you very much, Michael and Mark, gentlemen. And Nischelle and Sunny, make sure you stay with me, because coming up, it's a battle that begins in the playground soapbox, and continues up to the high school levels in corporate America, the gender war. That's next.


LEMON: As media pioneer Barbara Walters gets ready to call it quits on a 50-year career in journalism, another female power player in the industry is asked to leave. And the gender war continues.

Jean Casarez has more.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In one day, proof of how far women have come and how far some say they still need to go on the job.

TV trailblazer Barbara Walters retiring after over 50 years in broadcasting, but as the first female network co-anchor, she wasn't always welcome.

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: I had great, great difficulties and it was a very difficult and unhappy experience.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: She has talked about how she was a flop as the first female co-anchor of a nightly newscast and how the male co-anchor undermined her every chance he got. And there were those kinds of barriers that she was breaking down decades ago.

JILL ABRAMSON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I'm honored to be the first woman to serve as executive editor.

CASAREZ: At the same time, another female pioneer gets the axe, Jill Abramson, executive editor of "The New York Times" since 2011.

The speculation as to why, a national conversation, with some wondering, does America have a problem with powerful women and female bosses? It turns out that female CEOs are forced out of their jobs more often than their male counterparts. A recent study found 11 percent more.

(on camera): "The New York Times" says the decision was made because of an issue with management. NPR's media reporter says some who worked with her found her to be brusque, even to the point of rudeness. And close associates are telling "The New Yorker" that she confronted top bass after finding out that she was making less than her male predecessor.

(voice-over): The speculation became so rampant, the publisher of "The Times" issue an internal memo, saying, "Compensation played no part whatsoever in my decision that Jill could not remain as executive editor." Abramson isn't talking about publicly about her ouster, but her daughter posted this picture of her on Instagram, referencing criticism of her mother's character with the hashtag #pushy.

Another female first, Hillary Clinton, close to clinching the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, but not close enough. In her concession speech, she referenced the struggles even the most powerful women face.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it.


CASAREZ: But cracks in the glass ceiling may be replaced with a glass cliff for women who do break through., begging the question whether, for women, getting to top is only half the battle.

Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.


LEMON: All right. Thank you, Jean.

I want to bring in my guests now. And I think I'm going to be trouble, Hilary Rosen, CNN political contributor. Naomi Wolf is a co- founder of and author of "Vagina: A New Biography," Christina Hoff Sommers, host of "The Factual Feminist," and back with me in the hot seat is Sunny Hostin.

HOSTIN: I love that you have so many women.

LEMON: Yes. And I'm very aware of what I just said on television.


LEMON: So, welcome, ladies. Go easy on me.

Naomi, what is your take on, seriously, what happened to Jill Abramson at "The Times"? Some see the hand of gender bias here. Others say that she was treated just like a man would be treated.

NAOMI WOLF, AUTHOR, "THE BEAUTY MYTH": I think with a departure story, there is never any way to know exactly what happened behind the scenes.

But what is clear from reading the "New York Times" story is that it is the same old horrific stereotypes trotted out in a way that really I'm shocked by, actually, that no one had the editorial eye to say, you know, words like "aggressive management." Sorry, my hair is out of control. You know, "pushy, abrasive." I mean, I may not be quoting directly. But it was that same story we've read, you know, dozens and dozens and dozens of times about a strong, powerful woman.

And I know Jill Abramson in passing. You know, she's an investigative reporter. You don't get the story if you're not persistent...


WOLF: ... and pushy and abrasive. And, you know, it is that obvious sexism in the handling of a departure.

LEMON: All right. We'll talk more about that, and I want Hilary Rosen in here.

Hilary, reports emerged that Jill Abramson had found out that she made less money than her predecessor, Bill Keller, and asked about that. And "The New York Times" says that her total compensation was actually 10 percent higher than Bill Keller's, and compensation had nothing to do with it. So that idea really blew up. Why is that?

And when they say compensation, that could be investments; that could be retirement. It doesn't mean that's what you take home.

ROSEN: Well, and Panoletta (ph) an update of his story after "The New York Times" published that, but questions some of those numbers, in the "Times" response. So let's just say it's still not clear exactly what the numbers were.

But there's another point here which is, you know, Jill Abramson's manner was well known to everyone in "The New York Times" newsroom. That she -- the paper in many respects has never been better. It's never been more powerful. The stories have never been richer, by all accounts.

And yet, it really wasn't until the last few weeks, you know, a few days after Jill Abramson asked her lawyer to talk to management about this comp issue, that all of a sudden the hater (ph) that she had had for several years, became a tremendous problem.


ROSEN: Now there was one other issue, Don, though, that's important to raise. Which is that she has a deputy, who's a guy, Dean Baquet, who is now the -- now managing -- now the chief editor. And a great guy. And a fantastic journalist. So this is not against him.

But, you know, it appears as though he might have had his feelings hurt during this process, and then he went and complained.

LEMON: OK. I've got to get Christine in.

ROSEN: This is all really a terrible story for "The New York Times."

LEMON: Christina, conservatives don't buy that there is any pay disparity between men and women. They say that women gravitate towards lower paying jobs, leave to get married, have babies.

HOSTIN: That's B.S.

LEMON: They deny any existence of any war on women. Any truth to that, Christina?

SOMMERS: Well, conservatives, libertarians have different opinions about that. I think that simple claim that women earn 23 cents less than men has been disputed quite effectively. There are just differences in how men and women behave once they're in the workplace. Different hours. Different jobs.

But the question about Jill Abramson is complex. We don't know all the details. I think that we should take a deep breath and not rush in and immediately impose a narrative of that it's the pay gap. Remember when Mary Barra became president -- became CEO of General Motors, people said, "Oh, she's being paid less than predecessor." It turned out not to be true. And so I think in this case, it probably -- it could have been the old boy network. It's possible, but there were probably other things as well.

LEMON: Sunny is sitting here, waiting.

HOSTIN: I'm holding my tongue.

LEMON: Hold on. I want to read this to you, and then you can speak, because I want our viewers to see this.

We saw the photos of Jill Abramson that her daughter Instagrammed today. And here it is, boxing. It says, "#pushy." Why does the word pushy seem to have a female gendered connotation? Do we call men pushy?

HOSTIN: No, we don't. And this is just making me seethe. Because as you can imagine, I was a federal prosecutor. I was a managing director. I've been in charge of people. Guess which adjectives were used for me? I was pushy. I was mercurial...

LEMON: The "B" word.

HOSTIN: ... which means, you know, I'm moody. I was abrupt. All the things that they are calling this woman.

Well, guess what? If I were a man, I would have been called decisive. I would have been called assertive. And I am quite sure that, in many of my positions in my life, I have been made less than men. I want to know how much Jeff Toobin gets paid, right. I'm sure he gets paid more than I get paid.

LEMON: Devil's advocate, though. Devil's advocate. I would call a lot of male bosses "A's" and jerks.

WOLF: That's different. Completely different.

LEMON: All right.

HOSTIN: Women are treated differently. They're -- ah!

LEMON: We've got to take a break. We'll take up with this right after the break. Don't go anywhere. Don't go anywhere.


LEMON: We're back now with my guests. We're discussing how gender makes a difference from paychecks from Washington all the way to Hollywood. Sunny Hostin was hogging the conversation, and so she says, "I want the same money," right?

HOSTIN: But that's the thing. They're arguing, you know -- it's "The New York Times," so of course, they're word smiths. And what they're arguing is maybe her total compensation was different. But guess what: if the "New Yorker" article is accurate, apparently, when she was executive editor in 2011, she made 475. What did the man get paid in the same position...

LEMON: Keller.

HOSTIN: Keller, in 2011? Five fifty-nine.

WOLF: Whoa!

HOSTIN: Yes. I want some money. I don't care about the benefits.

LEMON: I don't disagree with that. Let me tell you why, Naomi, I don't disagree with it, because it depends on experience. If someone comes right out...

HOSTIN: The same job.

LEMON: Sunny, listen to me. If someone comes right out of college, right out of law school, CNN hires them as a legal analyst, I do not think...

HOSTIN: They wouldn't get my job.

WOLF: Don, Don...

LEMON: I do not think they should get the same amount of money...

HOSTIN: If they got the job.

WOLF: No, no, no.

HOSTIN: ... as someone who is an accomplished former prosecutor.

ROSEN: Don, here's the issue.

LEMON: All right, Hilary. Go ahead.

ROSEN: If you -- if you are held accountable for a responsible implementation of the same job as a guy, you have been hired for that job to do that job. You're not going to do it 20 percent less. You're not going to say, "Oh, you know, we're giving her a break because we're paying her 20 percent less."

HOSTIN: Thank you.

ROSEN: Sorry. It doesn't work that way.

LEMON: I think that's -- for me -- for me, that's not that big a difference.


ROSEN: Statistics show that women do not ask for raises.

HOSTIN: Eighty grand?

LEMON: It is not that big a difference when you look at $475,000. And you don't -- hang on. Can you let me...

HOSTIN: That's more than families make.

WOLF: Only a man would say that.

LEMON: Hang on.

HOSTIN: Eighty grand?

LEMON: Will you please -- guys, please listen to me. I'm talking about men and women. I mean, even if a man came in, I think the same thing. He should not get paid as much as you if he does not have the same experience level.

HOSTIN: Equal pay for equal work.

LEMON; No. Experience counts. Go ahead, Naomi.

WOLF: Well, I was just going to say, I find it extraordinary that, you know, you would make this argument. And if it was two men that we were discussing in exactly the same position, I think it would be a much harder thing to say.

LEMON: No, I think the same thing. I feel the same way.

WOLF: Let me move on to a another subject, which is that the article in the, like -- in the main section of "The New York Times" was a hatchet job. And it will destroy that woman's career. Well, it actually won't, because she will be hired by many people who are, you know, seeing this as the massacre that it is.

But the point is, you never see, when a man leaves a senior position, especially a powerful white man leaves a senior position, you never see that hatchet job on his way out. It's always covered over with some kind of P.R. that they spin, that they agree in advance, that doesn't leave blood all over the newsroom floor. And you only see it with women.

And you see it in -- I wrote a project about this for Project Syndicate. You see it in the coverage of women in senior positions. And that kind of journalistic lethality actually does dial down the value of women, because that's the face that shareholders see. That then becomes the commodity. It dials down a woman's reputation.

SOMMERS: I just think that they're...

LEMON: Christina -- Christina -- go ahead, Christina. SOMMERS: ... they're reading far too much into a case we barely understand. We don't know the details.

WOLF: I read the paper. I'm talking about the "Times."

SOMMERS: Oh, you read an article in the newspaper.

LEMON: We weren't fair. She brings up a very good point. We were not fair.

SOMMERS: It's much too soon.

LEMON: Go ahead, Christina.

SOMMERS: I will just say that when competent economists review men and women in the workplace, there are pockets of discrimination. But evidence is systemic discrimination is very hard to find. So I think that we should settle down to reality based analysis and not just carrying on...

LEMON: Hang on, everyone. I've got to go. But I have to say, I don't understand the argument, the experience argument. Experience counts. You are an accomplished...

HOSTIN: Then why hire the person for the same job?

LEMON: Hang on. You are an accomplished former prosecutor. Someone right out of law school who does not have your experience should not get paid...

WOLF: Jill Abramson wasn't right out of school.

HOSTIN: But they wouldn't get my job.

LEMON: You bring talent to the job.

HOSTIN: They wouldn't get my job.

LEMON: Yes, they might get your job. This is a job about cuteness. A lot of it.

WOLF: Oh, my God.

LEMON: And about being able to look -- I'm just telling the truth.

WOLF: On national television. That's, like, actionable.

LEMON: It's the television business.

WOLF: Oh, my God.

LEMON: I'm just being honest.

WOLF: That's unbelievable.

ROSEN: That is unbelievable what you just said.

WOLF: If somebody had said that about you, Don, you would go ballistic and not let anyone go off air.

LEMON: No. Sunny sits here and says -- Sunny, what do you say? What's the response from you?

HOSTIN: Well, I say that oftentimes the viewer response, rather than responding to what I'm saying is how I look. But that doesn't negate the argument that I am qualified for what I do.

LEMON: I agree.

HOSTIN: And someone should be paid for...

LEMON: And when -- and when someone says, Don Lemon, you look great. I go wow, thank you. And I don't think twice about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you aware that men and women in television journalism...

LEMON: I got to go. My producer says you're killing me. I love you guys. I relent.

HOSTIN: Thank you, ladies. Thank you, ladies.


LEMON: I'm going to do something very sexist. Yes, dear.

HOSTIN: Oh, my God.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, is the setting for the best-selling book "Friday Night Lights," which then turned into a movie and a TV series. But the school's been hit by scandal. Five staff members have been accused of having improper relationships with students. In the last week, one of the teachers allegedly involved took his own life.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has a report now.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the surface, the candlelight vigil looks like a tribute to a beloved teacher. For 17 years, Mark Lampman taught and coached golf at Odessa Permian High School, yes, the football-crazy Permian of "Friday Night Lights."

But lurking at the edges of this vigil is something no one is talking about, the controversial end of Lampman's life. The married teacher and father of two children committed suicide last week after he was suspected of having an inappropriate relationship with a female student.

(on camera): But Lampman case isn't an isolated story at Odessa Permian, the famed high school which inspired the book "Friday Night Lights." In the last 13 months, school district officials report that four teachers and one school employee have been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a teenage student.

(voice-over): The string of incidents brings unwanted attention to this iconic high school in the middle of the west Texas oil patch. So far three teachers have been arrested.

April Collins' attorney says she's not guilty. Kathryn Maples' says the allegations were made by her husband, who she's divorcing. Alisha Knighten was arrested Thursday, and we haven't been able to reach her attorney. And another unnamed school employee resigned after allegations were made against her.

A current teacher, who didn't want to speak on camera, told us around town, some started calling Permian "Predator High."

We asked the school system superintendent simply what is going on at Odessa Permian.

TOM CROWE, SCHOOL SYSTEM SUPERINTENDENT: Honestly, if I knew the answer it that, we would have stopped it by now.

LAVANDERA: When you ask the same question around town, you discover another layer to this story. Some who blame the students just as much as the teachers.

ERIN WILLIAMS, FORMER PERMIAN STUDENT: There is a problem, I believe, but I'd also like to put some of the blame on students. Because they are receiving no punishment or even anything whatsoever. It is all going on to the teachers.

LEMON: Most of the accused teachers are young women in their 20s and not that much older than their students. Superintendent Tom Crowe says it is still no excuse. Teachers must know where to draw the line.

CROWE: People said, "Well, sometimes the kids are flirtatious." Well, the educator is still the adult, and they've got to be able to turn to their principle or their supervisor and say, "Hey, this isn't right and I need help handling this."

LAVANDERA: As he watched students gather for Mark Lampman's vigil, former teacher Chuck Eisner struggled to make sense of it all.

CHUCK EISNER, FORMER TEACHER AT PERMIAN: I don't understand it. I can't grasp how a teacher allows themselves to get in those positions. Whether it happened or didn't happen, I don't know. And five times in 13 months is just completely baffling to me.

LAVANDERA: Football brought the rallying cry of mojo to Permian, but right now, some say the school is struggling to regain its mojo.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Odessa, Texas. (END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Ed Lavandera, thank you very much.

I'm joined now by Gina Martinez, a reporter at KWES News West 9 in Midland, Texas. She is with us on Skype. And then Joe Nick Patoski is an author of "The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America. That's some title, right? And then Dr. Michael Overschneidel -- Oberschneider, excuse me, is a psychologist at Ashburn Psychological and Psychiatric Services.

And back with me in the hot seat is Sunny Hostin. Thanks to all of the guests who are just joining us.

Gina, it is surprising to hear that some people there place the blame on the students. Why is that?

GINA MARTINEZ, REPORTER, KWES: Well, Don, a lot of people -- some of these students are around 18, 19 years old. And a lot of people feel they're adults. They know what they're doing. But like you heard the superintendent say, the teacher has to be the one to know when to draw the line. And something a lot of people may not know, that under Texas law, it is illegal to start a relationship with a student. no matter their age.

LEMON: Dr. Oberschneider, why would there be so many instances of this in one town in just 13 months?

DR. MICHAEL OBERSCHNEIDER, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I mean, I guess there are a couple thoughts. The first would be that there are a lot. The second would be that there aren't.

These are five reported cases, meaning that these were five teachers who got caught. Maybe this is happening more frequently than we want to think it's happening, and people aren't getting caught.

LEMON: Well, that's the question then. How prevalent are these types of relationships? Is it -- are they more common than we think? Is it just at this school people are being caught? Or are we not taking good statistics of them, what?

OBERSCHNEIDER: Yes. I think that what happened at this school is a real tragedy. But I don't think it's an uncommon occurrence. I think teachers across America and perhaps worldwide are sleeping with their students more than we'd like to think they are.

HOSTIN: I'd like to think that isn't true, although I will say when I was a prosecutor, prosecuting child sex crimes, one of the cases that I remember very well was this kind of case. A coach basically, you know, I think molesting one of his students.

I do think, though, that it doesn't really matter what age the student is, because we're talking about this disparity in a position of power. We send our children to school, whether or not they're, you know, 10 or 18, to learn from a person of authority. And that person does have authority. And there is no way that this should be happening in this school or any of the schools. And I think you have to prosecute someone to the fullest extent of the law.

LEMON: Absolutely. Joe, you know, Permian High School was the inspiration for the book, TV show and the movie "Friday Night Lights." What is this -- what is this school like?

JOE NICK PATOSKI, AUTHOR: It's really one of the best examples of community supporting athletic programs in -- in the state. The reputation is well-deserved. Buzz Bissinger wrote a pretty hard, critical book about it, where football seemed to just, you know, soak up the culture.

And a few years ago, when I was curating an exhibit on Texas high school football, I went to a Permian game against their crosstown rival, Odessa High. And on the level of Texas high school football, this was one of the most intense participatory events that I witnessed.

LEMON: There is a different...

PATOSKI: Football is a big deal.

LEMON: Yes, absolutely, in the south especially. You know, you mentioned they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But why the difference in perception between a male teacher and a relationship with -- you know what I mean?

HOSTIN: For me, there is no difference. I think that if a female -- you know, I'm the mother of a boy and a girl. And I think if a female teacher has sex with a male student, that is child sex abuse. Pure and simple.

And we've seen it in history. I mean, we saw the one teacher, the one woman. Lafave, was it?

LEMON: Letourneau. Mary Kay Letourneau.

HOSTIN: Letourneau?

LEMON: The one, she got married. She married.

HOSTIN: She got married, but...

LEMON: They've still -- it's been like seven years they've been married.

HOSTIN: That's a child sex abuse case. No question about it.

LEMON: They're still married.

HOSTIN: It doesn't matter.

LEMON: So you see it that way, but the public didn't always see it that way.

HOSTIN: I know. They should, though. I remember when I was prosecuting these cases. People were saying, well, isn't that every boy's dream, to have sex with their teacher? I think that's really antiquated, and I think it's really despicable.

LEMON: Gina, we saw the images of the candlelight vigil for the teacher, Mark Lampman, a well-liked teacher who committed suicide after the allegation about him. What happens to the investigation now?

MARTINEZ: Well, right now, ETI (ph) and state police and Ector County Independent School District, they say they're still looking into those claims. They want to do a full investigation to see if those accusations were, in fact, true. But as of right now, they have not finished their investigation.

LEMON: I appreciate all of you. We'll be right back.


LEMON: Let's continue our discussion of allegations of misconduct at the Texas school that inspired "Friday Night Lights." I'm back now with my panel.

Hey, Gina, I want to get to you. How is social media playing a role throughout all this? The school district tweeted, "Out of respect for the families involved in today's tragedy, we are asking all to refrain from inappropriate hateful posts on social media."

MARTINEZ: Yes. It got very heated once word first got out about what had happened. People were defending Mr. Lampman, like we have mentioned. He was teacher for 17 years here in ECISD, so obviously, he had a lot of current and former students. Again, those people were defending him.

But then there was another half who were -- who felt that, by the way that he took his own life, it proves his guilt. And people were even calling out the victim, again blaming her. It was just very emotional, very heated, and even ECISD had to step in and send out that statement.

LEMON: So Michael, talk to me about the dynamic among students when something like this happens.

OBERSCHNEIDER: Well, sure. It's a tragedy, of course. And the dynamic, I'm sure, is upsetting. I'm not surprised that there was a split on both sides. Just because he did what -- Mr. Lampman did what he did doesn't necessarily mean he's a bad person. I'm not going to surmise to know why he did it. Perhaps he was abused himself as a child. The research in this area would support that predators are abused at higher rates. Perhaps he had some other psychological or personal issues going on.

But he sounds like he was a very well-respected and well-liked teacher. On the other hand, what he did was wrong. And I'm very sorry that he chose a solution to end his life. It's a real tragedy all around. And I feel sorry for the school and everyone involved.

LEMON: Yes. So but I mean, we don't know because he ended his life exactly what happened, right, the outcome because he didn't admit to anything.

You know, the school, Joe, is known for football. Now it may be known for this. I mean, to a degree does Permian High School still have the football identity that it once did?

PATOSKI: It still does. It keeps that identity, despite the fact that they haven't won a state championship since 1991, and that's longer than the Dallas Cowboys being out of the Super Bowl. But people still -- it really matters, and athletics matter.

And but I've got to say, I've been on the high school campus. And I've been inside the Ector County administration building. And...

LEMON: Quickly, Joe, we have to run.

PATOSKI: ... these are good people and good programs.

LEMON: Yes. All right. We appreciate you. Thank you all for joining us tonight.

Thank you for getting my sense of humor, Sunny.

HOSTIN: You're very welcome.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it. All right. I'm Don Lemon. That's it for us. "AC 360" starts right now.