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CBS Suspends Charlie Rose Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations; LaVar Ball Refuses to Thank President Trump. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 21, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:39] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Veteran journalist Charlie Rose is the latest powerful figure accused of sexual harassment. Rose is now suspended by CBS, PBS and Bloomberg after allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances towards at least eight women outlined in a "Washington Post" report.

Let's discuss it with one of the reporters, contributor for "The Washington Post," Irin Carmon.

Great to have you here.


CAMEROTA: Was this an open secret? Had you heard whispers about Charlie Rose for years?

CARMON: Well, I first learned of this story in 2010 when I was a reporter at Jezebel. And at the time, I attempted to contact some of the women I heard had stories to tell about Charlie Rose. They were not ready to talk. We've now reached a new cultural moment where the fact that these things have been going on as an open secret is now becoming a not so secret thing anymore.

CAMEROTA: So, what are some of the things that these women say that Charlie Rose did?

CARMON: There's a clear pattern that emerges from what these women told us. They described walking around naked, especially leaving the shower.

CAMEROTA: He was walking around naked in front of them at what they thought were business meetings?

CARMON: So, all of these alleged incidents happened either at apartments or homes owned by Charlie where they were called to work, these young assistants and producers, or in cars and airplanes where they were traveling with him on business. These were women that worked on the show or wanted to work on the show and were interviewing for jobs in very specific terms, talking about salary, and references and everything, and then found themselves in a very different context where their boss or potential boss was calling them up to talk about their sexual fantasies in the case of one woman, walking around naked, called around the office at one point the shower trick. CAMEROTA: He would get in or out of the shower in an apartment and be

naked and hope that these assistants would sort of stumble upon him or see him?

CARMON: It was not a hope. He would walk around directly in front of them and interact with them.

CAMEROTA: There was also accusations of groping.

CARMON: There were. We spoke to women who were groped in their private areas in various contexts, including one woman who told us about a very traumatic encounter. She spoke on the condition of anonymity but described about going to his Belford home to interview for a position for which he'd already asked for references. They discussed a title. They discussed the salary.

But that night, he came out with an open bath robe, wearing nothing underneath and she says he sexually assaulted her.

CAMEROTA: How well known were these stories at CBS? I was so struck in your reporting by what his executive producer said that women had tried to alert her at CBS or PBS, you tell me, had gone to her, hoping for an ally and what happened?

CARMON: Look, to be clear, all of the women we spoke to for this piece work for him at Charlie Rose, Inc.


CARMON: Which is a show that aired -- so, they were not employees of PBS. They were Charlie Rose's employees. He owns his show, which also allowed this behavior to continue. The show aired five nights a week on PBS and he also hosted "CBS This Morning".

Now, we are not currently reporting any allegations at CBS. But we're continuing to stay on this story. What happened inside the show is that there was no HR representative. And so, ultimately, they reported to an executive producer who in one of the incidents told the woman we spoke to, she said, that's just Charlie being Charlie.

CAMEROTA: And that's a woman.

CARMON: That is a woman who they thought they could trust.

CAMEROTA: And she's now very regretful?

CARMON: So, she's told us in a statement that she feels crushed that she didn't do more to protect these women.

CAMEROTA: Here is what Charlie Rose said after he learned of your story and your reporting.

It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I'm greatly embarrassed. I behaved insensitively at times and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe all these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings even though I now realize I was mistaken.

That's telling. That was fascinating for me to read. He thought this was a dating opportunity with a young assistant half his age.

CARMON: A third of his age.

CAMEROTA: A third of his age where you were getting no cues that we know of from the women. And you think you can disrobe and walk around naked? I mean, what is this judgment?

CARMON: So, I would say a few things about that. Each of the women told us they were working on the show because they were excited about the work they were going to be able to do there either as employees or as potential employees.

[06:35:09] With regards to him saying that some of the allegations are not true, we did share with him in detail each of the serious allegations made by these women and give him an opportunity to respond. He chose not to. As for shared feelings, for example, one of these women said that she cried throughout the encounter that she had with him. I would say I don't see a shared feeling in that context.

CAMEROTA: One more thing before we go. The reporting is really important. You don't just interview eight women and call it a day and print a story. You also went to 24 different employees to see if they could corroborate that or more, and I believe 24 did. And they also -- these women told people about it contemporaneously at the time.

So, again, these aren't just things that cropped later from eight women.

CARMON: Well, I mean, you used the phrase open secret. I think we should think about how open secrets stay secret. There were people who were warning each other, don't be alone with him. If you go out to Belfort, text me if you don't feel safe. But ultimately, very little was done to protect these women based on what they've told us.

CAMEROTA: Irin Carmon, thank you very much for being with us and sharing your reporting with us.

Let's go over to Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Two federal border agents were attacked in southwest Texas. One of them lost his life. The other is seriously injured. We're learning more about what may have happened. We have that for you, next.


[06:40:39] CAMEROTA: We are followings some breaking news right now. The death toll in northern Nigeria rising to 50 people, following a suicide bombing at a mosque. Authorities say the bomber was about 17 years old. They suspect the attack was orchestrated by the Boko Haram extremist group, which is using young recruits more frequently. CUOMO: We're learning more about the deadly weekend attack on two

border patrol agents in southwest Texas. According to a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Union, agent Rogelio Martinez and his partner were responding to a ground sensor that went off in an area that's known for drug smuggling. There were many of those areas in that part of the country.

Moments later, Martinez was found by his partner unconscious with head injuries, possibly caused by a rock. He later lost his life. His unidentified partner at this point also suffered head injuries and is in serious condition. We'll stay on this story.

CAMEROTA: The Trump administration asking the Supreme Court to let the third version of its controversial travel ban go fully into effect. This, amid reports that the administration is trying to delay the public release of a watchdog report about the fallout from the first version of that travel ban at the time a senior administration official touted it as, quote, massive success story.

But according to "The Washington Post," the Department of Homeland Security's watchdog now says federal agent violated court orders meant to reign in Trump's original directive.

CUOMO: All right. Has the president met his smack-talking match?

For some reason, president of the United States decided to take the bait from provocateur LaVar Ball, who happens to be the father of one of the UCLA players who were caught shoplifting in China. Now, Ball is no ordinary basketball dad, and his interview on CNN last night broke the Internet.


LAVAR BALL, FATHER OF LIANGELO BALL: I'm just stating a point that I'm saying is, there's a lot of other things that's going on.

CUOMO: No question about it.

BALL: Let him do his political affairs and let me handle my son and let's just stay in our lane.


CUOMO: It is a conversation that made my interview with Dennis Rodman look like some kind of profound polemical on the state of humanity. Why Mr. Ball will not thank the president, next.


[06:47:22] CUOMO: LaVar Ball unleashed a tsunami of words that dominated the Internet last night in our interview about why he has harsh feelings toward President Trump. Mr. Ball is still offering no thank you to the president. He happens to be the father of LiAngelo Ball, one of the UCLA basketball players who was caught shoplifting in China. And his lack of gratitude sparked President Trump's fury after

downplaying the president's level of involvement after getting his son and two other players released. Why won't he say thank you? Here is his explanation.


BALL: It wasn't like he was in the U.S. and said, OK, there's three kids in China. I need to go over there and get them.


BALL: That wasn't the thought process. I have to know what somebody is doing before I say thank you. I'm not just going to go around saying thank you.

CUOMO: They were in a place that didn't need to let them go. They could have been held for a long time.

BALL: They were in a place that didn't let them go. He said he got them out of jail.

CUOMO: They didn't need to let them go.

BALL: You heard what he tweeted. He tweeted, because he's mad at me, I should have left their asses in jail. First of all, they weren't in jail. They were in a hotel.


CUOMO: So the president of the United States says he helped, and he say if you didn't see it, you didn't hear it, you don't believe it?

BALL: Hey, if he said he helped, that's good for his mind.

CUOMO: What do you mean good for his mind?

BALL: If you helped you shouldn't have to say anything. If you helped you shouldn't have -- if I helped somebody, I don't walk around saying I helped you now. Come on, give me some love. I helped you. Come on. For real?

Somebody told me about the tweet a couple of days ago. I don't even tweet. Why is that on your mind? All this going on and that's what's on your mind, that a father didn't say thank you? You're the head of the U.S.? Come on.

CUOMO: OK, fair criticism. The president is asking for thanks. You can criticize that.

BALL: What is the criticism about that? I'm just stating a point that I'm saying is, there's a lot of other things that's going on, man.

CUOMO: No question about it.

BALL: Let him do his political affairs and let me handle my son and let's just stay in our lane.

CUOMO: You won't say thank you. Hey, thanks. Your son said thank you. The other guys said thank you. So say thanks. Thanks for helping me.

BALL: I'm not the other guys, though. Come on now.

CUOMO: It doesn't take much to say thank you. Why won't you say thank you to the president?

BALL: It doesn't make -- if somebody does something for you, then you say thank you.

CUOMO: Somebody did something for you. Say thank you.

BALL: That's your opinion that he done for me, OK. I would have said thank you if he would have put him on his plane and took him home. Then I would have said thank you, Mr. Trump, for taking my boys out of China and bringing them back to the U.S. There's a lot of room on that plane.

[06:50:01] I would have said thank you, kindly, for that. What did he do for me?

CUOMO: He helped get your son out of China, where he could have been in jail for a long time.

BALL: What about some other -- why was he going to be in jail for a long time?

CUOMO: Because he stole something according to Chinese authorities.

BALL: How long would he have been in jail for?

CUOMO: Could have been a long time, carries a minimum of three years.

BALL: Chinese authorities was like, you know what, he's OK. He has so much character in 18 years he's allowed to have a pass for that.

CUOMO: That's your son.

BALL: One bad decision at a time.

CUOMO: And he said thank you to the president of the United States, something his father didn't want to do. What kind of --

BALL: Who didn't want to do that?

CUOMO: What kind of example does that give your son?

BALL: Is that to my son? I'll tell you what type of example it is. You know where my boy is at right now? Because of me. Because I spent all that time and love for them. Don't come in one time and think you did something for my son.

CUOMO: LaVar Ball, the best to you and your family for Thanksgiving. The best to your boys and the best to your wife as well, OK?

BALL: Hey, you have a great Thanksgiving. Hey, and I got a message for you.

CUOMO: What is it?

BALL: Tell Donald Trump to have a great thanksgiving, because Big Baller is.

CUOMO: I hope you're thankful for him. Take care.


CUOMO: Can't make it up.

Let's talk more about all that with CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan and CNN political analyst April Ryan.

Christine, I feel like you should have called me when you found out I was going to interview LaVar Ball and said here is what's going to happen. But, look, this man is no fool, LaVar Ball. He knows how to play things to advantage. He clearly saw an opportunity here and he grabbed it with two hands and is holding on like a Jack Russell terrier.

That said, should he have said thank you to the president of the United States?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Absolutely, Chris. And you try to, what, maybe 15, 20 times?

CUOMO: About half an inch of hairline worth of effort.

BRENNAN: Right, 25 minutes of it to try to get him to do that.

No, that was ridiculous. Of course, you thank the president. I mean, your kid is in China. He is shoplifting. He's caught on camera.

We all know that when you go to a foreign country, especially a place like China, especially as you're representing the UCLA men's basketball team, you're also sort of a diplomat. You're representing the country.

Kids -- Olympic -- guaranteed there will be hours and hours of training before the U.S. Olympic committee sends all those kids to the 2018 Olympics in a couple of months in South Korea. That's what happens.

So, of course, you apologize when something like this, this is an international incident. This isn't just a little dust-up. This is a big deal. Of course you apologize. But, of course, he's loving this, right, because he's trying to sell basketball shoes, that $450 shoes. He's trying to sell t-shirts. So, he is loving the fact that he can now attach himself to the president and have air time as he did with you, as you did your best journalistically to try to get some good answers from him. CUOMO: All right. So, now, we get a little bit deeper. LaVar Ball

is what Christine Brennan suggests, April. He is a hype machine. However, however, people are attaching to his resistance to President Trump and they are saying, one, the president shouldn't be asking for thanks. He should be above that. He shouldn't be taking on LaVar Ball either.

And then there is something else, far more pernicious. LaVar Ball actually did not bring it up last night, but it came up in the analysis afterwards. That the president goes after African-American athletes too often and he doesn't not going after white athletes the same way and people are seizing on LaVar Ball's resistance as some type of defiance to that.

Do you see anything in that?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let me say this, Chris. I watched the interview. It was painful.

The pieces that you just pulled out were the pieces that I could understand and I was glad to hear them very put together so succinctly and nicely. But with all of that said, LaVar Ball has a right to feel the way he feels. This is the United States of America.

We also have a president, who went on Twitter saying that he should be thankful. This president is the president of all America. He is also someone who is considered the moral leader. He is above the fray.

And if LaVar Ball chose not to apologize, that's fine. He did what he did. He brought those boys home.

The fact is, the bottom line, those boys are home. LaVar Ball said he gives thanks to the Chinese president because the Chinese president did it. He doesn't know what Donald Trump did. To LaVar Ball's point, he doesn't know if it was something, a stunt to try to fix the other situations that you brought up, you know, like with Colin Kaepernick.

You know, the president does not look so great when it comes to some of these issues with black sports figures. And he changed the narrative of why they were taking a knee. And it wasn't about the flag. It wasn't about the soldiers.

[06:55:00] It was about police-involved shootings.

So, LaVar Ball is personally involved in this. It sounds political. It also sounds like he's standing on matters of race. I mean, I've not talked to LaVar Ball.

But LaVar Ball, one thing we can understand, he is who he is. He has that right not to apologize if he does not want to. But the president also has a right to say what he wants to say on Twitter. But he is the leader of the free world. The president is held at a higher standard than LaVar Ball.

CUOMO: There's no question about that. Whether he decides to live up to that standard is up to the president as well.

But, Christine, net/net. This is good for LaVar Ball. This is good for his brand. And, now, whether intentionally or not, I want your take on this, he has drawn into his sphere of influence people who are resistant to the president.

Now, I don't know that he was looking to be politically relevant. I think he was looking to be relevant from a marketing perspective, but what's your take?

BRENNAN: Oh, without a doubt. This is great for him, because you're right, there are people who don't like the president, many, many people, who are saying, well, OK, this guy is kind of a sports parent times 100, gone crazy in some ways. But at least he's now drawing Trump's ire and is a thorn in Trump's side. So, yes, of course, now I'm on his side.

So, that's also great for LaVar Ball. Now, whether they're going to buy the shoes or pay any attention to him after next week, probably not. But, yes, for the time being, he is the resistance so he is the latest person to go up against Trump.

And I agree with April, of course, on this. I think we all do. The fact that the president of the United States can be drawn in to a fight with a sports parent is just an extraordinary statement about where we are in today's -- in our history and in our culture.

CUOMO: Kind of like LaVar ball trumped Trump in terms of playing his own game.

What great minds to have on this story. Thanks to you both. As Thanksgiving approaches, we are thankful to both of you for helping make NEW DAY so special. Be well.

BRENNAN: Thank you.

RYAN: Thanks.

CUOMO: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Hard to trump Trump. But it might have happened.

CUOMO: Might have.

CAMEROTA: A big blow for tens of thousands of Haitians protected in the U.S. They now have 18 months to leave the country or face being deported. What's behind this move?