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Transgender Boy Wins Wrestling Title; Another Jewish Cemetery Vandalized; Shooting of Immigrants in Kansas; Wrong Award Envelope Leads to Fiasco. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired February 27, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:02] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: OK, so a high school wrestler is now keying us all into a national controversy. Seventeen-year-old Mack Beggs (ph), a transgender boy forced to compete with girls in a wrestling championship because state policy requires athletes to compete in their birth category. So, Mack won the Texas state girls wrestling title. Many now are questioning if the competition was fair. By the way, on both sides, because the transgender advocates say he should be wrestling against boys like he wants to. This, of course, is a window into a larger political battle that is fueled with misinformation and deception.

Let's discuss. CNN political commentator and host of "The Ben Ferguson Show," Ben Ferguson.

First, what's your take on the tournament, my friend?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first off, I think this - take the transgender issue out of it for a second. If you are taking testosterone, which is a performance-enhancing drug in sports, you shouldn't be able to wrestle. And this gave a completely unfair advantage to this participant. You can talk about that whether you are in your age group or in your sex group that you are associated with. If you're taking something that's performance-enhancing, you're not a real champion. You cheated and you won.

Now, the state has, I do think, some blame for this by having it where they're even allowing these testosterones to be used if they're prescribed by a doctor. That's where I think the big fix probably needs to come.

CUOMO: The irony is that if there were acceptance, we wouldn't have had this issue because this kid would be wrestling against boys. But just so we know, and for those as you're learning about this issue -

FERGUSON: But - but - but even then, though, here's -

CUOMO: Let me - just so people know, the -

FERGUSON: Here - even then, though, here's the thing -

CUOMO: Well, hold on, Ben -


CUOMO: Let's just clarify one thing. The science, you have to be very careful about, OK. The amount of hormone that this kid is given is the minimum standard they can give to replicate the output of a boy. So it's not like a super amount of testosterone. It's not like these kids are going to be super human. It is the opposite. They are given the minimum. Scientifically, that is the outcome, if you look and do the research as I have, you'll see that. But that's not really the issue. The issue is acceptance. If this state allowed this kid to wrestle against boys, which is what he wants, we wouldn't be talking about this case right now.

FERGUSON: But you also have to look at, their has to be a standard. And I think it's not insane or crazy for a state to say that you compete with the sex that's on your birth certificate. That is what I would refer to as logical. It is illogical to somehow imply that this kid is a victim because he decided to do something and to change something and, therefore, you change the entire sport around it. That - that is the part that I think many people are sitting here saying, hey, if you want to compete in a sport, period, then you cannot be taking performance-enhancing drugs and do it. But to say that we should change the entire way that sports is done because of one person and their decision to do something -

CUOMO: Right.

FERGUSON: That is unrealistic.

CUOMO: But the premise is flawed because the logic requires you to believe that trans -

FERGUSON: Is disagree.

CUOMO: Of course you do. That's why we're having the discussion - that transgender doesn't count. But it does count and that's why we're having this bigger debate about what you allow transgender kids to have access to and what you don't, the bathrooms, the locker rooms. It's all related. And people who share your idea are using misinformation and mythology here. The idea of, if you -

FERGUSON: It's not misinformation.

CUOMO: Well, of course it is, because the idea that they're going to have gentiles waved in their face.

FERGUSON: No, no, it's not. No, no, no, hold on. But let me be clear -

CUOMO: My 12-year-old daughter, she's going to have genitals waved in her face. That's what you on the left want. You realize that that's an absurd notion, right?

FERGUSON: Well - well, one, I'm on the right. And, second of all, it - that is not the notion that the people on the right have been saying, that you're going to have genitals thrown in your face in a locker room. What we're saying is, it is not abnormal or crazy or unlogical to say that if you are born a boy, that you use the boy's restroom/locker room and if you were born a girl, you go in -

[08:35:06] CUOMO: But what if you identify as a girl? You - but you're oversimplifying - you're simplifying the idea of gender and sex. You're -

FERGUSON: Well, but I - you don't change - I'm not oversimplifying -

CUOMO: Look, we've heard this. This is not a novel concept.

FERGUSON: You - you - you - but even - Chris - Chris -

CUOMO: We have the Fourth Circuit. The Fourth Circuit just said what I'm saying.

FERGUSON: Chris - Chris, all right, and, guess what, sometimes you have judges that are incorrect. You look at what the majority of -

CUOMO: The Department of Education has said it. The Department of Justice has said it.

FERGUSON: The - the majority of Americans, Chris, say that they think the majority -

CUOMO: Courts across the country have said it.

FERGUSON: The majority of Americans, the majority of parents who have spoken out on this issue, and if you look at the actual data behind the polls that have been done on this -


FERGUSON: They say they don't think it's a crazy idea to have girls wrestle with girls, boys wrestle with boys. And if you're taking testosterone, that that is called cheating. And that is the reason why I think it's absurd that we're making this into such a big issue when the majority of Americans agree with me on this, that it is pretty normal. It's been normal throughout history to say that it's best if you're a boy to go to the boy's locker room and if you're a girl go to the girl's locker room. That's not insane.

CUOMO: But what - but what happens - what happens when the girl identifies as a boy and wants to go to the boys locker room or vice versa to play into the fear? And for you to say that there are none on the right who are making about what I'm saying is, is demonstrably false.

FERGUSON: Very few are making the -

CUOMO: Go to my Twitter feed, brother.

FERGUSON: There are very few - hold on, very few.

CUOMO: They are putting pictures of my face on a guy exposing himself to a 12-year-old girl to say, Cuomo's OK with this because he wants transgender people -

FERGUSON: Chris - Chris -

CUOMO: To have the right to go to the bathroom that they feel comfortable in. You're denying that?

FERGUSON: Chris, if your argument - Chris, Chris, if your argument is trolls on Twitter are the majority of Americans, that is insanity. Go look at my Twitter feed after this segment's over. We both should be able to agree there are crazies on the left and crazies on the right. There's trolls out there in the world. That's not the majority of the Republican -

CUOMO: No, right. No, no, no, yes, of course there is. Of course there is. What I'm saying is -

FERGUSON: Hold on, but that's not the majority of Republicans out there. I'm not making the argument that you're implying that somehow that they're saying that people are walking into locker rooms and throwing around their genitals in people's face. That is not the argument of the majority of those that are conservatives, like myself. I've never made that argument. That's a bad argument to be making here.

The argument I'm making, to be very clear is, it is not insane. In fact, it's very rational, logical and traditional, to imply that you should have boys go to the boys locker room, girls go to the girls locker room -

CUOMO: No way.

FERGUSON: Boys wrestle with boys and girls wrestle with girls. And if you're using testosterone, you should be ineligible for that sport.

CUOMO: Well, first of all, as I -

FERGUSON: If you choose to change your identity -

CUOMO: Look, as -

FERGUSON: If you choose to change your identity, that's your decision, but it should disqualify you while you're taking testosterone from wrestling, whether you're a girl or a boy, whether you're wrestling with girls or boys -

CUOMO: Right.

FERGUSON: Because you have an unfair advantage.

CUOMO: Well, what I'm saying is this. First of all, you've got to look at the science because it's not like when somebody is taking it in Major League Baseball because of the advantages it gives. It's done to replicate what a boy would normally have, not to give super power. But we get back to the same point, which is, you should let these kids be where they're most comfortable. This is about accommodation. All the data proves it out.

FERGUSON: And change the entire sport because of one kid? You really believe that? You think every time someone comes in -

CUOMO: This - no, this kid - this kid should be wrestling boys, like he - like he wants to. Like he should be. But the state law is intolerance in practice. They don't want the kid to have what he wants, so they're forcing him to wrestle with girls.

FERGUSON: It's - no, it's intolerant -

CUOMO: You don't want the kid to use the bathroom they want because you don't like it based on your tradition.

FERGUSON: Chris, this - Chris - Chris, it isn't - Chris -

CUOMO: I'm saying, let the kids go where their want.

FERGUSON: Chris, it is intolerant -

CUOMO: Let the kids go where they want -

FERGUSON: Chris, it's intolerant to say -

CUOMO: Yes, last point.

FERGUSON: It's intolerant to say that the majority of people, when they think that boys should go to the boy's locker room and girls should go to the girl's locker room -

CUOMO: Right.

FERGUSON: Somehow not even listening to their idea and saying that therefore I'm intolerant or they are intolerant -

CUOMO: Right.

FERGUSON: Shows you the hypocrisy that -


FERGUSON: Of the intolerant argument you're making here.

CUOMO: No, it doesn't. Here's why.

FERGUSON: This has been traditional.

CUOMO: Here's why.

FERGUSON: You don't change an entire sport because of one individual and their views and how they want to be the opposite sex of what they are.

CUOMO: I get you - I get you on the sport. I get you on the sport. I'm saying the kid should wrestle with boys. That's what he wants. That's what would have been fair here. I get you on that. I'm saying -

FERGUSON: You don't always get what you want. You don't - that -

CUOMO: I'm saying -

FERGUSON: You don't always gets what you want, Chris.

CUOMO: No. Right. That's right.

FERGUSON: If you wanted to go out right now and you wanted to go be in Cross Fit for women, should you be able to apply because you say that you're a woman, that therefore -

CUOMO: But that's a myth. But that's a myth because -

FERGUSON: It's not a myth.


FERGUSON: That's a legitimate argument in the question you're asking me.

CUOMO: No, it's not a legitimate argument and here's why. Here's why it's not legitimate.

FERGUSON: If you chose - if you walked out and you said, I'm going to be a girl today -

CUOMO: I let you make your argument. Now I'll make mine, OK? It doesn't happen. Transgender doesn't happen on a whim. It's a continuum of time and hormones and pain and anxiety. And I challenge you and everybody who's listening to go find me a case of indecent exposure by a transgender person in a bathroom. It doesn't happen. And if you look at the data, the only thing that you accomplish by doing what you say is traditional is that you scar these kids as and other and their rates of depression and suicide and non-acceptance go up.

[08:40:06] FERGUSON: To imply -

CUOMO: And if you let it happen this way -


CUOMO: Nobody gets hurt except your idea of what's right.

FERGUSON: To imply that - no, to imply somehow that - that anybody that believes in actually having boys be boys or looking at a birth certificate and deciding that that birth certificate of male or female should decide what you wrestle and what sports you play, to imply that somehow that suicide or depression is on me, look, I feel bad for - for this young individual because now he's in the spotlight in a way, but the fact is, that it's obviously not fun for him. Getting booed when you win certainly is not an exciting moment. But he chose to be in this position.

CUOMO: Uh-huh, that's true. That's true.

FERGUSON: And the fact is, I feel bad for everybody else that lost to someone that was cheating using testosterone -

CUOMO: Right.

FERGUSON: And not being man enough to admit the fact that you have an unfair advantage. As a former college athlete, when you take any type of performance-enhancing drug -

CUOMO: Right, but this -

FERGUSON: It gives you an unfair advantage.

CUOMO: The state created this -

FERGUSON: And when those kids in high school or college lose, that is unfair to everybody else playing by the rules.

CUOMO: The state created this. If the kid - if the kid was allowed to do what he wants, none of this would have happened.

Ben Ferguson, always appreciate the argument (ph).

FERGUSON: Where do you draw the line?

Thanks, man, good to talk to you.

CUOMO: The law. And it's going to happen with the Supreme Court next month.



A suspect accused of murdering an immigrant faces a judge. Was this a hate crime? We have a live report for you from Kansas City, next.


CAMEROTA: A developing story to tell you about now. Vandals toppling dozens of tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. This comes less than a week after the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in the St. Louis area. CNN correspondent Alison Kosik is live in Philadelphia with more.

What have you learned, Alison?


About 100 headstones here at this Jewish cemetery were knocked over, they were damaged, some even broken into two. About 100 - in fact, that's a conservative estimate - authorities still aren't sure yet just how many headstones were damaged here. Interestingly enough, there is one - another - another cemetery across the street here, a Christian cemetery, that wasn't touched. But this one here, obviously, vandalized on Saturday night.

Now, authorities aren't saying whether or not this was anti-Semitism, whether or not they're calling this a hate crime. They are waiting to see what the motive is on that. But it is causing the Anne Frank Center to put out a statement directly to Donald Trump, to President Trump on Twitter, calling for the White House to take action, calling for a primetime nationally televised speech on combating anti- Semitism, saying, "whether or not your intention, your presidency has given the oxygen of incitement to some of the most viciously hateful elements of our society. Unlike your delayed reaction to hatred in the weeks since you took office, you now need to act fast, boldly and specifically."

[08:45:23] And, of course, the concern here is that there's a trend growing across the country about bomb threats at dozens of Jewish centers in January and then within a week, Chris, there's been already two vandalism incidents at Jewish cemeteries.


CUOMO: Who did it? That's the big question. Alison, we know you'll stay on it. Thank you very much.

The suspect in the deadly bar shooting of an Indian immigrant is due in a Kansas court today. Adam Purinton is the man. He's being held on $2 million bail on charges of murder and attempted murder. The FBI is determining whether it was a hate crime.

Ryan Young live in Kansas with more.

What's the story from there?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're learning more details, Chris, about this one. According to people at a bar, at Applebee's, they say Adam Purinton showed up there after the shooting and actually told a bartender what he had done. And, of course, now police are investigating this case to find out exactly what happened.

This really started normally, two guys go in to a bar, watching a basketball game and then according to witnesses on the inside, this man shows up and starts yelling at them saying, get out of my country. That's according to witnesses at the bar. He then was thrown out, shows back up with a gun and opens fire on the inside. Another man sees this, thought the - Adam Purinton was out of bullets and then tried to step in. He was shot twice as well.

Now this friend has actually stepped forward, one of the men who survived in this says he wanted to come forward to say how much he cared about his friend. This has been troubling for the community. Yesterday, nearly 1,000 people showed up to have a memorial for these two men. We'll see what happens today in court.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, what a terrible, terrible case. Ryan, please keep us updated on that.

Well, it's arguably the biggest mistake ever at the Academy Awards. We'll break down what went wrong, next.


[08:50:29] CAMEROTA: All right, there was a stunning mistake unfolding at the end of the Oscars last night in the biggest category, the movie category. If you're just waking up, here it is.


WARREN BEATTY, ACTOR: And the Academy Award for best picture -

FAYE DUNAWAY, ACTRESS: You're impossible. Come on.

"La La Land."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, guys, I'm sorry, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a mistake. "Moonlight," you guys won best picture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Moonlight" won.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come up. This is not a joke.

This is not a joke. I'm afraid they read the wrong thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a joke. "Moonlight" has won best picture. "Moonlight," best picture.


CAMEROTA: You could see the confusion. Everybody there waiting for the punch line. Steve Harvey, of course, the talk show host who is familiar with mistakes in live awards events, he just tweeted this moments ago. Call me, Warren Beatty, I can help you get through this. So is Warren Beatty to blame?

Let's discuss with "New York Times" deputy culture editor and CNN political analyst Patrick Healy, CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources" Brian Stelter, and "Entertainment Tonight" host and CNN contributor Nischelle Turner.


CAMEROTA: Nischelle, wow, what a moment.

TURNER: Wow is right.

CAMEROTA: Who is to blame here?

TURNER: Oh, well, first of all, I don't think that it's completely Warren Beatty's fault. But I'm with Chris, that moment when he snatched the card out of his hand had me rolling. And every time I see it I laugh again.

You know, I think he was really confused. And it was one of those Bonnie and Clyde moments where he and Faye Dunaway on - on the stage like, whoa, whoa, no, you take it, you take it, you take it, OK, let's do this together.

But I do think that, you know, he was inadvertently given the wrong envelope. He didn't really check it I think before he went out. So there's a lot of blame to go around. Pricewaterhouse did put out a statement saying that they're sorry for all of this and that Warren Beatty was given the wrong envelope. They don't know how it happened, but they're trying to figure that out. So I guess it's the fault of whoever handed him the envelope.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes. I think the best supporting actor prize has to go to that anonymous stage manager who - he's wearing a headset. You see him in the back of the - of the stage. He walks out. he starts to tell the producers of "La La Land" that they actually didn't win.


STELTER: I want to know what that man was thinking.


STELTER: I hope we can find out who he is. He deserves best supporting actor.

PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. You can see him - you can see him sort of bouncing around there -


HEALY: And he's just trying to find the envelopes -


HEALY: Because these envelopes actually said, if you look really closely, they said what category -

TURNER: Right.

HEALY: You know, they were being delivered on. So he's sort of running around, sort of grabbing envelopes out of people's hand. I mean chaos like we've never seen.

CUOMO: But, also, there's one thing that doesn't make sense from the Beatty perspective, which is, if it said Emma Stone on it -


CUOMO: He had to know he had the - had the wrong card.

HEALY: It's - you know, but it's dark back there, Chris, and you're sort of going out of it -

CUOMO: No, I'm saying when he was looking at it.

HEALY: Yes, yes. No, he - so this is what happened. I mean he pulled out the card and it said, Emma Stone, "La La Land," and he was thoroughly confused.


HEALY: And - and, let's be honest, he sort of dumped it on Faye Dunaway.


CUOMO: You see.

HEALY: She kept pushing him. And Faye Dunaway - and Faye Dunaway -

CUOMO: Camerota didn't like this theory when I came up with it. Now it's consensus.

CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE) what did you - no, but I think that you can see the wheels turning and him thinking, what's happening? Do I have the wrong -

CUOMO: And what does he do in that moment?

CAMEROTA: He pauses.

TURNER: Right.

CAMEROTA: And she just -

STELTER: What would you do?

CAMEROTA: She says to him, you're impossible -


CAMEROTA: Like that. Like Faye Dunaway's cute (ph).

HEALY: It's like a cute moment.

CUOMO: Then what does he do?


CUOMO: The bus pulls up and what does he do?

CAMEROTA: He like - he shows her, like, what is this, and she goes, "La La Land."

TURNER: Yes, you're right, Cuomo.


HEALY: You can actually see Warren Beatty's eyes. He's looking off stage for a moment but he's not looking at Faye Dunaway.

CAMEROTA: I know. He's looking for help.

HEALY: He's looking off stage for some kind of help. CAMEROTA: You know what's interesting here? I always thought that it was in the prompter.


CAMEROTA: So I thought that the - the winner was in the prompter, but it is just on the card, I guess.

CUOMO: Three suitcases, two accountants -

STELTER: And it's -

CUOMO: And they still get it wrong.

TURNER: All right -

STELTER: It took a couple of minutes to clean this up. But I'm just glad there's a controversy we can all talk about that's not involving Donald Trump. Isn't this a relief?

TURNER: Right.

STELTER: I mean we had the election surprise. We had the Super Bowl shocking finale. Now we have the Oscars shock. I mean every single, big event in America now there's this surprise ending these days.

CAMEROTA: You're right.


CAMEROTA: You're right.

HEALY: But there were people, though, in the audience, people were tweeting about this afterward. It brought back sort of bad memories about election results, about the integrity of the system.

STELTER: Right, for all the liberal actors in the audience.

CAMEROTA: I keep going to sleep -

STELTER: The integrity of the system. Was it rigged?

CAMEROTA: I keep going to sleep at half-time and missing these things, like the Super Bowl and election night.

[08:55:00] STELTER: I'll call and wake you up next time.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Brian. PricewatershouseCoopers statement says, "we sincerely apologize to "Moonlight," "La La Land," -

CUOMO: They apologize.

CUOMO: "Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered it was immediately corrected." Well, not immediately.

STELTER: Not quite.

CUOMO: I know. And not by them.

CAMEROTA: "We are currently investigating -

CUOMO: Should have been an accountant with like handcuffs on his suitcase running out there.

CAMEROTA: You're right. You're right. "We're investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred."

HEALY: I bet they do.

CUOMO: They lose the contract? What do you think?

STELTER: Oh, I don't think so. They've been doing this for 83 years.


STELTER: They've got a, you know, what, one out of 83 -

CUOMO: You had one job.

STELTER: That's true. That's true. That's true.



CAMEROTA: Despite this being the headline this morning, there were a lot of things that happened during the awards ceremony.

TURNER: Oh, yes.

CAMEROTA: Number one, the most black actors ever won awards.


CAMEROTA: The first Muslim actor was given an award.


CAMEROTA: Do you think that this is a one-off or a trend that Oscars are not so white?

TURNER: Well, I'm hoping that it's a trend. I'm hoping that the diversity continues, and not just for African-American actors. I hope the diversity becomes even more inclusive, Native American, Asian- American, Latino actors. More and more are needed. I think that it's just a better community and better reflection of America when we see these things happen.

But I was pleasantly surprised to see what I thought were the best performances win last night. And I thought that it was really kind of beautiful what we saw. I think we saw a reflection of just good movie making and good acting on that stage last night. So let's hope that it's not a one-off. Let's hope that this train keeps running and not running over people, like Chris said.

CAMEROTA: And you know what - and you know what, Nischelle, you predicted on Friday, when we had you on, you predicted "Moonlight."

TURNER: Thank you, Alisyn. Thank you very much. Thank you for saying that.

CAMEROTA: It's all coming back to me, because everybody kept saying "La La Land" -

TURNER: Keep talking. Keep talking.

CAMEROTA: And you said I think it's going to be "Moonlight." And you were right.

TURNER: Keep talking, Camerota.

CAMEROTA: It didn't feel like you were right for about two minutes there, but you were right on stage.

TURNER: Well, I also predicted Denzel would win and I was wrong about that.

CUOMO: Yes. But what do you - how did that fit in on -

STELTER: Accountability.

HEALY: That's very - that's very honest.

CUOMO: Nischelle, how does that fit in, in terms of you feeling that the best performances were rewarded? Is that controversial or do you think it could have very easily been either one of them and Casey Affleck won?

TURNER: Yes, I think it could have been either one of them. I thought Casey Affleck was very, very good. But I - I really thought Denzel was masterful in that movie. And August Wilson's words in a play are so tough to bring to the screen.


TURNER: And when you saw that film and you saw the boxing match almost between he and Viola Davis, it was something that kind of just transported me. I thought he would take it home. I thought because the academy pool of voters are made up largely of actors, that those actors would then vote for Denzel. I was wrong, but I was right about "Moonlight."

CAMEROTA: You were.

STELTER: There's always next year.

CAMEROTA: You were.

All right, panel, thank you very much. Very fun to break all of this down with you. We'll see who, if anyone, falls on their sword.

CUOMO: What a morning. CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman begins right after this break. Have a great day.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow. At least according to Pricewaterhouse.

[09:00:00] Too soon?

HARLOW: A little too soon.

BERMAN: Any minute now, the White House will release President Trump's first budget outline. And as Warren Beatty might say, what could possibly go wrong?

HARLOW: What could go wrong?

BERMAN: Too soon also, I think.