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Exclusive Sexual Assault Allegations At The UN; #Askmoreofhim Asks Men To Stand With Women. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired March 30, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, our exclusive expose. Sexual assault allegation at the United Nations. A whistleblower speaks out
publicly for the first time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was holding on to the elevator and I was pleading with him and I was just bracing with all that I could just to never leave
the elevator and that's how I escaped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Holding the UN accountable. Plus, holding men everywhere accountable. I talk to the actor/director David Schwimmer and the anti-
sexism activist Jackson Katz about their #AskMoreOfHim campaign.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The United Nations is a massive organization with tens of thousands of employees stretched all across the globe. It dedicates so much of its work
to lifting up the most vulnerable through programs on security, health and human development.
But with all the good, there have been some major problems. We have brought you the story before of sexual exploitation at the hands of UN
peacekeepers and employees in the field.
And tonight, we want to take a closer look at what goes on within the organization, when employees feel that they've been violated by their own
One woman, Martina Brostrom is coming forward for the first time publicly to tell her story. She says that she was sexually assaulted by her
superior, the deputy executive director of UN UNAIDS, Luiz Loures, and that the internal investigation into the matter, which later cleared Loures, was
CNN has talked to two other women who recount similar experiences with Loures. And Loures tells CNN that he denies the allegations and that he
cooperated fully with the investigation which found Brostrom's claims were unsubstantiated.
Martina Brostrom herself is frank about her own experiences, which she says have made her feel diminished and deeply anxious, but she says the problem
is much larger, requiring major reform of the system.
We talked about all of this when I sat down with her here in the London studio.
Martina Brostrom, welcome to the program.
MARTINA BROSTROM, POLICY ADVISER, UNAIDS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, obviously, this is very difficult to talk about publicly. Describe to us the event which I believe was in a hotel in Thailand during
a UN conference in May of 2015.
BROSTROM: That's correct. I was asked by the UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Luiz Loures - I was invited for a work-related conversation with
him in a quiet corner of the hotel.
I had some trepidation about meeting with him one-on-one.
BROSTROM: Because he had a reputation because of his behavior towards me, which had been ongoing for several years.
AMANPOUR: And what was that behavior?
BROSTROM: That was sexual harassment. His mannerism in the workplace.
AMANPOUR: It was remarks about looks. It was unwelcome touching. Touching your hair, rubbing your shoulders. And I wanted to present myself
as somebody who was very serious and integral. And I had hesitations about being seen.
But I was put at ease when I saw that the other deputy executive director, Jan Beagle, who is now the under-secretary-general for management, that she
was also there with two colleagues.
AMANPOUR: So, you felt safe in that environment?
BROSTROM: Yes, I did.
AMANPOUR: And then, what happened?
BROSTROM: As we had wrapped up the work-related conversation and we were both leaving the meeting location, we're joining in the elevator to go down
to our respective rooms.
And as I'm standing in the elevator, he's launching at me and he's attacking me. I'm pushed towards the wall. He sort of shoving his tongue
into my mouth, trying to kiss me and he's groping my body, including my breasts.
The elevator doors open and he tries to forcefully pull me out of the elevator, drag me towards the corridor of his room.
AMANPOUR: And how did you manage not to be dragged out? I mean, you're quite little. You're very petite.
BROSTROM: I was holding on to the elevator and I was pleading with him and I was just bracing with all that I could just to never leave the elevator
and that's how I escaped.
It took me a while to report it formally within the UN system because of my fear that they wouldn't be taking my allegations seriously or that they
would be retaliating against me.
[14:05:02] AMANPOUR: Indeed. It took you more than a year-and-a-half.
BROSTROM: Before I formally reported it in writing.
AMANPOUR: Got it.
BROSTROM: But I had been informing the Chief of Staff and the Executive Director Mr. Michel Sidibe ahead of time.
AMANPOUR: You describe a pattern of alleged assault. Was this the worst of what you say you experienced from him?
BROSTROM: There had been several instances in the lead up, which have been more of a harassment nature. I think in terms of what I have faced from
Luiz Loures, that was the worst.
But I think the assault - sexual assault that I experienced, I have also experienced moral and professional assault by UNAIDS Executive Director Mr.
Michel Sidibe and, of course, as I have launched my complaint, humiliation.
AMANPOUR: As you know, Luiz Loures denies all of this. And as you also know, there was an internal investigation after you filed the complaint and
you say that you filed a formal complaint about a year-and-a-half after this incident.
The report by the Internal Oversight Services says that, "Dr. Loures reported behavior in kissing and engaging in physical contact with staff
may be viewed as inappropriate, especially given his senior position. However, there is insufficient evidence to support Ms. Brostrom's
allegation that she was sexually harassed by Dr. Loures. And the IOS concludes that there's no evidence to corroborate Ms. Brostrom's
allegation that she was sexually assaulted by Dr. Loures at the Dusit Thani hotel in Bangkok 8th of May, 2015."
What's your response to that?
BROSTROM: Well, I am devastated and deeply offended that that is the conclusion of a 14-month, very protracted and deeply flawed and irregular
AMANPOUR: Why do you say that? Tell me what you're saying about the investigation process itself? Why was it deeply flawed?
BROSTROM: There was demonstrative evidence in support of my claims.
AMANPOUR: Such as?
BROSTROM: Such as documentation of retaliation. There was a witness testimony. There was a formal complaint which I logged immediately with my
own government after I came back from Thailand that were just disregarded.
I think more material in the raw transcript that was provided, they were left out of the report. The report was spun in such a way that it freed
him seemingly from any wrongdoings.
There was, for example, as I was just telling you, the opportunity to have investigated and inquired about the incident at the meeting where I was
seen having a meeting with him, which he denies, by the other deputy executive directors.
There were bills from the location where the meeting took place, all of which was disregarded. In fact, there was never an investigation that took
place. And I haven't even touched on the irregular involvement of UNAIDS executive director.
AMANPOUR: Well, you've mentioned him once already and his name is Michel Sidibe.
BROSTROM: That's correct.
AMANPOUR: And you say that he tried to broker an apology at some point between yourself and the Loures, that Loures would apologize to you in
return for discussing your promotion.
Now, Sidibe denies that was on the table. No apology, but that, yes, you did have a conversation about the situation. Tell us what your view of
this is? What's your position on this?
BROSTROM: That happened during a work commission in Sweden and there were witnesses whom I immediately told about what had happened.
After that, he tried to bribe me with a promotion. When that didn't work, he then tried to threaten me by sending me outside of my work location.
And, finally, he tried to humiliate me by informing me that Luiz Loures had been exonerated through a UNAIDS press conference at their website.
AMANPOUR: And what does that mean, threaten you by sending you outside of your work location?
BROSTROM: That means he was trying to phase me out of the organization, moving me out of headquarters to a less desirable duty station, with the
ultimate aim of trying to oust me.
AMANPOUR: What is your recourse now? Where do you think you're taking this?
BROSTROM: Well, in terms of the internal UN system, I have exhausted all mechanisms for recourse, which is also part of why I'm here speaking today.
I think that what has happened to me, how the situation has been mishandled, it mustn't happen to any other woman. Every single accusation
needs to be fairly, independently and robustly investigated. That hasn't happened to me. And so, I am trying to seek my recourse outside of the
AMANPOUR: You say you don't want what happened to you to happen to anyone else?
[14:10:00] AMANPOUR: But CNN has already spoken to a number of people who say that it did happen to them, the same or similar pattern of aggressive
behavior that you're describing? Had you known that this was - I mean, you said he had a reputation. Did you know specifically?
BROSTROM: No. I mean, I knew that his - the behavior of UNAIDS deputy executive director has always been an open secret in UNAIDS. And I don't
think that there is a single woman staff who hasn't been subjected to a remark or some touching that has been inappropriate.
I never anticipated that I would be sexually assaulted. And I blame myself because I think that that's where I just - I didn't see the danger coming
in sharing an elevator with somebody mistakenly.
I believe that the systems in place are just inadequate.
AMANPOUR: He said that you spoke to him about sexual matters, your sexual preferences.
BROSTROM: Yes. That's absolutely incorrect. I mean, prior to which he had also alleged that he was my medical doctor and I was his patient. So,
that was just another way in which he was trying to obstruct the investigation.
AMANPOUR: What has to change?
BROSTROM: Well, I think we need two things. I think we need exemplarity and I think we need reform.
In terms of exemplarity, I think we mustn't let the few rotten apples ruin the whole basket. Clearly, what has been done to me, the sexual assault by
Luiz Loures and the coverup by Michel Sidibe, it mustn't happen and the secretary general must make an example out of them.
But beyond that, I think we need reform. And the reform is a complete overhaul of the system and ensuring that every single investigation to not
run into situations such as has happened with my case.
Stop the conflict of interest. Every single accusation must be thoroughly investigated, taken outside and given to an independent mechanism that can
allow for a thorough and fair investigation.
AMANPOUR: Because the investigation was internal, right?
BROSTROM: Absolutely, yes. System in place today - and I can say that having lived this nightmare for almost three years now, there is an
inherent bias - conflict of interest where the reputation of the United Nations triumphs the experience of the victims in such a way it favors the
AMANPOUR: Why do you suppose, if this is all true, they favor that personality over you?
BROSTROM: I think it's about hierarchy. And certainly, in UNAIDS, it's a system of patronism. There is a system of cronyism (ph). It is the boys
club as it has just been described to be. And I think that people are afraid of speaking out.
In my experience, I have colleagues that stopped talking to me, friends that have turned their backs on me just because I have been speaking out
about what has happened.
AMANPOUR: Even women?
BROSTROM: Even women and very close friends.
AMANPOUR: How has it affected you emotionally, physically? I mean, you're still employed by the UN.
BROSTROM: Yes, I am.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you're at work?
BROSTROM: I'm on sick leave for a year now. I have been diagnosed by posttraumatic stress disorder, and so in terms of my professional career,
it has been a sad experience. I mean, my dream job turned into a nightmare. I have lost touch with colleagues, as I just told you. Lost my
On a more personal level, it's impacted my family life. Just a couple of months ago, there was - at my daughter's school - she's 10 - there was the
opportunity to accompany your parent to work. I couldn't go because of the hostile environment and because of being on leave. And it was very, very
AMANPOUR: Would you ever go back to your job?
BROSTROM: Well, I have asked that, for occasions, the Secretary General Guterres to intervene in my case. I'm still hopeful that he will decide to
be part of the solution rather than the problem.
And I think if the rules that already are in place today would just be appropriately implemented, I would love to take back my position because I
think it's my calling - you know, the response to HIV, the sexual and reproductive health and rights aspects of it.
I think this experience have made me stronger, understand the vulnerability of some of the people that we aim to defend in aids response.
AMANPOUR: So, you mentioned the Secretary General Antonio Guterres. You have showed us four emails that you sent to him. And you have not heard
back apparently, right?
[14:15:03] BROSTROM: No, I have not.
AMANPOUR: The UN apparently has made some changes, though. He himself has said that the UN will not tolerate sexual harassment anywhere, launched a
gender parity strategy, established a task force of leaders across the UN to step up efforts to tackle this kind of harassment, boost support to
victims, say they're strengthening the protection of whistleblowers such as yourself and there is a new hotline since February.
If that's not enough, is it a step in the right direction?
BROSTROM: Sadly, I don't think so. I mean, already from the perspective of process, I think that these are plans almost pulled together overnight
as response to the media outcry and the backdrop of the #MeToo movement that has touched every single sector. They've been pulled together by the
senior leadership. Now, that's process.
In terms of the content, it's a cut-and-paste of documentation and policies already in place. And, for example, the hotline, during a discussion at
UNAIDS, staff revealed that they don't trust the anonymity of the hotline and how can such an anonymous hotline actually work and be used.
And, finally I think it's about the implementation once again. I think if the moral and political will is not there to affect change, then no matter
how good the plan, it will not make a difference for the victims.
AMANPOUR: And I do actually need to ask you a question because it goes a little bit to the heart of what Loures is suggesting that you're now in a
personal relationship with the person who is your boss at the time of that assault. He was interviewed in the investigation and Loures and the others
say that this is a conflict of interest. Do you understand that position?
BROSTROM: No, I don't because I think that our personal relationship has evolved as a consequence of what has happened to me and the support that he
has offered me throughout this process.
I think it's a curve ball to draw attention to the absolute wrong thing. I think we're all entitled to a private life and I believe that it's just yet
another opportunity to obstruct due process and to draw attention away from what really matters, which is his assault on me and the coverup by UNAIDS
Executive Director Mr. Michel Sidibe.
AMANPOUR: Martina Brostrom, thank you so much for coming in.
BROSTROM: Thank you so much for inviting me.
AMANPOUR: We offered her superior, Louis Loures, an on-camera interview. He declined. But in a statement, he said "I deny the allegations. I
cooperated fully with the independent investigation and provided proof of my innocence. The claims against me were unsubstantiated."
He also denied allegations made by a second woman who spoke to CNN, Malayah Harper. A spokesman for UNAIDS deny that its executive director, Michel
Sidibe, offered Brostrom a promotion. He reiterated that Sidibe recused himself from the investigation and had no role in its outcome. And he said
that while the inquiry followed due process, UNAIDS has a zero tolerance policy and Brostrom is welcome to appeal the decision.
Finally, a spokesman for the UN secretary general told us that Antonio Guterres spoke with the UNAIDS chief and asked him to "lead by example."
The UN, as we said, is implementing new ways for victims to report harassment and the spokesman said Guterres has made it his personal
commitment to eliminate it.
And now, to a surprising corner that's championing women's fundamental right to feel safe. Men! Specifically, David Schwimmer. The actor, who
along with the cast of "Friends", defined the turn of the millennium for hundreds of millions of viewers all around the world. That sitcom shot him
Now, a career renaissance has taken a turn few might have expected. He has made a series of short films that highlight the insidious nature of
everyday sexism and harassment. Here's a clip of the one called, "The Boss".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SCHWIMMER, PORTRAYING THE BOSS: It's a big responsibility.
ZAZIE BEETZ, PORTRAYING A YOUNG EMPLOYEE: I know. It's huge.
SCHWIMMER: And the salary.
BEETZ: Oh my, God. Yes. I was about to move in with my parents right before this. So, this saved me.
SCHWIMMER: I really believe in you.
BEETZ: Thank you. It's nice to hear that.
SCHWIMMER: These are cool. Did you -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The sleazy boss is not quite the Ross that we knew and love from "Friends". And now, the real David Schwimmer is getting behind the new
campaign, #AskMoreOfHim, along with anti-sexism educator, Dr. Jackson Katz, who has long called for men to use their power and their privilege to
encourage other men to get with the picture and they join me from New York.
[14:20:04] Gentlemen, welcome to the program.
DAVID SCHWIMMER, ACTOR AND CAMPAIGNER: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: How did you feel about taking that leap from a character who is known and loved around the world to doing this in this cause and making
yourself one of the least attractive types that we can imagine today.
SCHWIMMER: Well, part of the appeal, the idea of actually acting in one of the six films was exactly that. I knew that the character I'm most known
for is actually quite trustworthy. So, I thought that I could kind of leverage that in a way that would benefit the power of the films and what
we're trying to articulate.
AMANPOUR: So, this happened, David, pre-Harvey Weinstein, right? You made these films a long time, many months before the Weinstein floodgates were
open. How? Why did you do it then?
SCHWIMMER: Well, I've always been an advocate for women's rights and also the rights of victims of - child victims and adult victims of sexual
assault and sexual abuse.
And having grown up with many, many stories of my mother enduring countless sexual harassment as a young attorney in California and then my sister when
she joined the workforce and so many women in my life, whether they are girlfriends or colleagues, I thought - well, this was always something that
I felt needed to be addressed and I would kind of act privately in my own way when I could.
But this was an opportunity presented by a dear friend of mine, a colleague, a writer and director named Sigal Avin who had the idea for the
films and wrote and directed them.
And I thought, well, yes, this is the time. The time is right in this country to actually do something about it. So -
AMANPOUR: And Jackson Katz, you have been doing this, so to speak, for a long time as well. And you have a really interesting point of view. It's
almost sort of like turning syntax on its head in order to really identify the issue.
For instance, you have said in regards to domestic violence and rape, for instance, we talk about how many women were raped last year, not how many
men raped women.
JACKSON KATZ, AUTHOR, "THE MACHO PARADOX": Right. Well, I think a big part of my work both as a writer and a scholar and an activist has been to
try to reframe the issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment and domestic violence and related matters not as women's issues that some good
men help out with, but as men's issues.
And part of that is the reframe of the language. And so, using passive voice and talking about how many women were assaulted, even the term
violence against women, there is no men in the term. It's a passive phrase.
And if we want to energize men and we want to get men involved and we want to hold men accountable at all levels of powers - socially, culturally,
politically, economically - for addressing the issues of gender equality and preventing gender violence, we have to be direct and accountable in our
very use of language. And active voice is a big part of that.
AMANPOUR: We've heard a lot of complaints from men, who say that it's a one-size-fits-all, that there's no differentiation between the scale of the
crime, so to speak, that if your targeted as having said something offensive, it's the same as if you had leapt on somebody and forced
yourself on somebody. Do you feel that there is that problem, David, that it's one size fits all?
SCHWIMMER: I mean, I think that is a problem in the current climate. There's very - look, we're not very good at nuance and context and
complexity in the current culture. Everyone is just shouting and very few people are listening.
But there has to be degrees of wrongdoing. So, without excusing anyone, there is a great difference between the Harvey Weinsteins of the world and
say the Al Franken. There's a huge difference.
Just as you would not sentence someone for a crime of stealing a bicycle, you would not give that same person the same sentence as a murderer or a
serial rapist. There has to be room for complexity and context and a varying range of inappropriate and illegal behavior.
AMANPOUR: And, Jackson, finally, the films do show this sort of nefarious, insidious, everyday sexism. What do you think - what have you heard from
the men out there who have listened your speeches, who are watching these films, who you're trying to reach? Do you feel that there will be some
kind of tipping point of men coming together to address this?
KATZ: Clearly, women in a multicultural, multiracial and global sense are the driving agents of the social transformations that are happening, but I
think there is an awful lot of men who are ready to join them. I think a lot of men are trying to figure out what to do, what to say. Of course,
some men respond defensively initially.
[14:25:06] And I understand, as a educator, a lot of guys, a lot of men come into rooms where there is a sexual harassment training or a gender
violence prevention training with their arms folded, they think they're going to get bashed, they think they're going to get criticized.
But, really, engaging education on these matters is dialogic. People talk and discuss and debate and throw around ideas and challenge each other.
It's not just sitting in a room and listening to a PowerPoint presentation about don't do this, don't do that.
And young men have a direct self-interest in - men who care about men and boys as well as women and girls have a direct self-interest in changing the
social norms that equate manhood with dominance, power, control and all these other unpleasant characteristics.
SCHWIMMER: Part of the problem also is that typical HR training in this area, typical sexual harassment training is kind of antiquated and it's not
really up to speed and up to date and often is really there to protect the company from any liability.
What we're interested in is a new kind of training that really invites men to the table, provides an atmosphere in which they can really ask the kinds
of questions and really try to understand the gray area that frankly is quite nuanced and complex and confusing.
David Schwimmer, Jackson Katz, thank you so much for joining me tonight.
SCHWIMMER: Thanks for having us.
KATZ: Thank you so much, Christiane.
And so, our whole program tonight has been focused on women's plight regarding sexual harassment and actions that men are taking to support
And that is it for our program. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online anytime at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook
Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London. .