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Former Fox News host on sexual harassment; Cate Blanchett: Rohingya plight "deeply upsetting." Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired August 8, 2018 - 14:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST, AMANPOUR: Tonight, as we look back at some of our favorite interviews this year, in this edition, the former TV anchor

who started the whole #MeToo ball rolling by blowing the whistle at Fox News. My conversation with Gretchen Carlson on where the movement that she

started is headed now.

Plus, one of Hollywood's biggest stars, Cate Blanchett, warns of a race against time to protect Myanmar's desperate Rohingya refugees.

Welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York. The "Me Too" movement caught fire last year, but before "Me Too", there was Gretchen

Carlson. The former Fox News anchor, made headlines a full year earlier, when she sued her former boss, the powerful CEO, Roger Ailes for sexual


The case was settled for $20 million. Gretchen Carlson is with me now. Gretchen, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: You are most welcome, because this is a massive - a conversation and a movement that is, really some say, at a delicate stage right now. Do

you think that there is sort of a tipping point moment right now, sort of come to Jesus moment about how this is going to go forward?

CARLSON: So, I'm calling it a cultural revolution, and I don't think we really put the genie back in the bottle at this point. So many women and

men have felt encouraged, inspired to find that bravery and courage to come forward that I really feel like we're going to continue down this path.

My great hope is that it will trickle down to the women who work in all of these industries that are not Hollywood, television, or Capitol Hill, where

they're not famous necessarily, but they're still enduring the same type of harassment and abuse.

AMANPOUR: So, let's talk about that because there, obviously, have been a lot of high profile scalps and high-profile, highly-paid men have been

forced to leave their jobs. But it isn't just about the famous stars, is it? Or the CEOs. This is a whole culture of enablement throughout many


CARLSON: So, I was stunned to find out after I jumped off my cliff in July of 2016 that suddenly so many women started to reach out to me. And I

realized, very soon after, that it's a pervasive epidemic. It crosses all socioeconomic lines and all careers.

So, I'm talking about teachers, members of our military, bankers, accountants, lawyers, sports executives. It's everywhere. And they all

said a similar thing to me, which was we never had a voice. We never had a voice, but through you, we feel like we do now.

So, that was the impetus for me to really put their stories into a book, was to give their voice honor. They had never been heard. And there are

so many reasons why we've been keeping this secret, which I will probably get into.

AMANPOUR: Well, yes. I presume one of those reasons is just sheer terror. It's just fear of where the chips may fall.

CARLSON: Right. Because if you do come forward, you're still labeled a troublemaker. There's something wrong that you just couldn't get along

with the boys, right? And so - and you fear for your job. I mean, if you're single mom working two jobs and you have kids to feed, you're not

going to come forward if you know that you're probably going to be maligned, demoted, and eventually fired.

So, here's the stark reality of what happened to those thousands and maybe more than that of women across this country and around the world. They

came forward and, in most cases, they were fired. And they have never worked in their chosen profession ever again, and that is criminal.

AMANPOUR: It really, really is so troubling. And you just mentioned, women with families. You, yourself, are married with two youngish

children. What went through your mind when this was happening to you and when you were sort of plotting your revenge and plotting how to take down

this is criminal enterprise?

CARLSON: Yes. Well, I didn't share with my children. At the time, they were too young. Right now, they're 12 and 14, and so they understand it

much more. But, of course, my husband was aware and my parents, and that was about it.

For me, the final thing was when my career, after working so hard for more than 25 years in TV, when it was going to be taken away from me, and it

wasn't my choice that I decided, if I don't do this, who will? And so, I did it for my children and your children and everyone else's, and look

where we are today.

I mean, it's so heartening to me to see where we are, even though the stories are horrific and the allegations and revelations are horrible.

We're in this awakening. It's a historic moment.

AMANPOUR: Were you troubled that, even after you came forward, and just - Fox News, it has such a massive hold on such a huge segment of this country

and such a powerful organization. I mean, shaping presidencies and the agenda in many, many instances.

[14:05:10] Were you troubled that it didn't have the sort of avalanche affect that what the Harvey Weinstein revelations had? Why do you think

that happened?

CARLSON: Because we were still operating under the old rules.

AMANPOUR: Which were?

CARLSON: Which were the fact that women were still not to be believed and that it was just the fact that my show didn't have high enough ratings and

the same old, same old. It was a he said, she said environment.

But look what's changed now. I mean, the amazing thing now is that, if men are put in these positions and accused, they're being let go from their

jobs and they're issuing apologies right away. I mean, that was unheard of just 18 months ago when my story broke. So, to me, that is humongous


Here's the reason why women and men feel like they can come forward because they saw consequences. Even in my case. They saw something happen and

they thought to themselves, wow, maybe I should come forward, maybe I should say what really happened to me because, finally, even in 2017 and

'18, they're going to do something positive for me.

AMANPOUR: Can you tell me what happened? Obviously, you have certain restrictions because you were paid a $20 million settlement which came with

a non-disclosure agreement. I mean, that's pernicious in and of itself.


AMANPOUR: Do you chafe under the silencing of your voice?

CARLSON: No, because look at what I'm still doing. I mean, I'm enacting new legislation on Capitol Hill. I set up a fund to give grants to empower

young girls and boys. I am working on a docuseries that will soon be out. I started the Gretchen Carlson Leadership Initiative for Underserved Women.

I mean, the list goes on and on for the jobs that I've been able to do on this issue.

But you bring up an excellent point about the secrecy of settlements. Our society has chosen two ways to solve these issues, settlements where women

can never tell you what happened and arbitration clauses in employment contracts that also keep this issue silent, and that's what I've been

working so hard on Capitol Hill to change.

I'm proud to say, last month, I was able to introduce a bill, bipartisan, in the House and the Senate to get rid of arbitration clauses in employment

contracts with regard to sexual harassment. The reason it's so imperative is because arbitration is a secret chamber.

So, these women complain, they come forward, in many cases they're fired, they get sent to secrecy of arbitration and we never hear from them ever


AMANPOUR: What about the men who are denying these things have happened? And what about the sort of spectrum of abuses, of wrongdoing? There's a

big question right now, a little bit of a backlash that seems to suggest that a lot of issues are being conflated as one big no, no, one big crime.

Do you think that there has to be a moment where we define, for all to understand, what constitutes unacceptable behavior, fireable offenses and

what doesn't essentially?

CARLSON: Right. I mean, it's an excellent point. We've seen the horrific allegations of actual sexual assault and sexual crimes, right?

And then, on the other hand, inappropriate one comment or inappropriate touching one or two times. So, yes, there has to be this balance of

horrible, horrible and maybe a one-off situation.

But I will tell you this. Of all those thousands of women I heard from, there was no gray area in almost all of their stories. They were so awful.

So, I don't want to diminish the severity and pervasiveness of the issue, but I do think we have to keep that in mind.

AMANPOUR: And when you struggle to figure out how to keep that in mind, how do we do that? I mean, those of us in journalism, people in Hollywood,

people in all other different professions, how do we sort of - or is it obvious what a code of conduct is and we just know when it's being



AMANPOUR: The thing is there are rules, there's HR rules in all of our organizations.

CARLSON: Well, and there are laws.

AMANPOUR: And laws.

CARLSON: So, sexual harassment is either quick pro quo, sleep with me and you'll get the job or you won't. It's pretty obvious, right?

AMANPOUR: Is that what happened to you?

CARLSON: Well, I can't say exactly what my particular case was, but for many people that's what they face, right? And then, if they go to

arbitration, you never find out about that.

But then the other area is a little bit more gray, which is subjective. For example, now people are saying, well, men can't even compliment you on

what you're wearing.

Listen, that is not - those are not the cases that people are coming forward about. The kinds of stories that I heard were so outrageous. A

woman just wanted a promotion and the boss asked her to get up the desk and spread her legs. I mean, these are the kind of stories that I was hearing.

It wasn't like there was a gray or subjective area there.

AMANPOUR: I was speaking to the historian Mary Beard, the British academic who's written books about many, many issues and goes way back beyond into

the millennia about the patriarchy, about how it's so ingrained in our history.

[14:10:10] Isn't one of the ways that this is going to be solved actually equal pay for equal play, more women in the executive suites, just more

women at the table in the room where it happens, so to speak?

CARLSON: Of course, 120 percent. I interviewed an international cosmetic company for my book. And they had a very progressive way of - how you

could report sexual harassment, which is why I went to them. But here's what I ended up finding out, 70 percent of their employees were female.

And they said, well, we have this very progressive thing, but we don't have very many reports and I said why not. And then, I was like, oh, yes, you

have 70 percent women. So, as long as the majority of Fortune 500 companies, 94 percent of them are still being run by men, first of all, we

need those men to help us.


CARLSON: Right? We need them to hire us in higher positions.

We need them to pay us equally and fairly. We need them to give us a seat in the boardroom. We need all of that. And, most importantly, we need

them to come forward when they see it happening.

AMANPOUR: And stand by us.

CARLSON: 100 percent. That, to me, will be the final tipping point.

AMANPOUR: Do you see enough of that happening? Do you see a movement towards that? Men being involved in the solution.

CARLSON: Oh, I do. The other surprising thing after my story broke was that I heard from so many men. In my unscientific study on the streets of

New York City, more men would stop me than women and want to shake my hand and say thank you for my daughters.

AMANPOUR: That is great.


AMANPOUR: Now, what did your daughter and your son think when eventually - obviously, the news broke, they saw what their mother had done, what she

had been subjected to and that she won.

CARLSON: Well, it didn't have an immediate effect. But I will share with you that my daughter found bravery and courage to stand up for herself.

And she did it in a situation that was making her uncomfortable and she said, mommy, I did it because I saw you do it. Which meant it all worth it

to me.

My son saw me on television one night and asked me about a horrible statistic about once every 73 or 76 seconds when sexual abuse happens,

mommy, is it true. I said yes. He said mommy, I want to help fix that.

AMANPOUR: That is really remarkable. I just want to ask you, to their generation, Pink, the singer, the entertainer has said the behavior, the

mindset that a woman can be grabbed in any way, that mindset is dying. Do you think for your daughters, your son's generation, it will be a dead

issue or are we way far away from that?

CARLSON: It's my hope. When I've been meeting with all of these members of Congress, I say do you want this for your kids? Not one person raises

their hand.

So, none of us want this for our children. So, this is why it's bipartisan and apolitical. We need to come together to be able to solve this issue.

AMANPOUR: Well, well done for taking up the fight. Gretchen Carlson, you've been incredibly brave. And thanks for continuing to speak out.

CARLSON: Thank you for having me.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.

Violent persecution forced them to flee their homes and their country. Since Myanmar's military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, almost 700,000

have fled across the border to squalid camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

The US and the UN have both accused Myanmar of ethnic cleansing and the country's icon of democracy and human rights, Aung San Suu Kyi, is

herself vilified by her most ardent supporters around the world for failing to stand up for the rights of these people.

And now, the region's infamous monsoon season is bearing down, threatening to wash away the flimsy refugee shelters.

Into this emergency, this crisis steps the Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett. She's a special goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee

agency and she's giving us her first eyewitness account of the horrors that she's just witnessed there.

Cate Blanchett, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: You've just come back from this real center of humanitarian crisis. What was the most urgent need that you're bringing back?

BLANCHETT: I mean, the vastness of the crisis. But I don't think anything could have really prepared me for just the precarious nature of

the environment in which these refugees are living. Obviously, they've fled.

AMANPOUR: You were there with some of them in part of the camp there, yes.

BLANCHETT: And as that image suggests, the thing that most struck is I've never seen so many unaccompanied children because over half the people in

Kutupalong and the surrounding settlements are children under the ages of 18.

AMANPOUR: And what does that do to you? I mean, you're a mother of four children.

BLANCHETT: Yes. I met so many women who were heads of household, so many children who didn't know where their parents were. It is deeply,

deeply upsetting. I mean, their lives are not only precarious because of what they've experienced and the oncoming monsoon, but also they're ripe

for exploitation because they don't have that sort of family support in a very patriarchal society.

AMANPOUR: And, of course, you did manage to talk and see quite a few people. And also, I think you saw - you talk about the monsoons

and everybody is concerned because, forget a refugee crisis, Bangladesh is prone to the worst kinds of flooding and monsoons.

[14:15:08] BLANCHETT: Yes. I mean, it's not only one of the wettest countries on Earth, it's one of the poorest. And the Bangladesh government

has kept the borders open, which is profoundly generous.

And I saw incredible generosity of the host communities that are living cheek by jaw with upwards of 1 million people in Cox's Bazaar. It's

unsustainable without more support from the international community.

AMANPOUR: I mean, you talk about them keeping the borders open. Well, Myanmar, the military, has in the last few days done exactly the opposite.

It's apparently fortifying the borders, barbed wire, berms, trenches, to try to stop these Rohingya going back, many of them to their own homes.

Did you get a sense of them wanting to go back, feeling they could ever go back?

BLANCHETT: I don't think I've ever experienced in my time with UNHCR a level of terror about returning home. Obviously, the Rohingya have

been generationally stateless.

And since the citizenship law changes in 1982, their situation within Myanmar has become increasingly perilous. And so, they haven't been able

to be sustainably educated or have access to medical services. Their movement has been curtailed.

But what has happened is with villages burning and the mothers and the girls that I spoke to who had themselves experienced rape - there was

one girl in a community center I met, Jasmine, who had just very matter-of- factly said that she saw her three-year-old brother being thrown into a fire and her elder brother being dismembered and shot in front of her.

As a mother, I wouldn't want to return back to that.

Of course, the solution does rely - it takes place in Myanmar and the UN needs to be able to get unrestricted access to make sure that

those repatriations of the Rohingya people can happen in a humane and dignified way.

AMANPOUR: Which they're not allowing right now. We read that the Myanmar government is making it really difficult for any humanitarian aid inside

and any investigations by the UN inside their country.

Look, it's so relentlessly sad and this business about a child being thrown into a fire. We've heard that now several times. So, there are many

people talking about this.

You're corroborating stories that we've heard from other refugees and other people who've been there. And yet, you went to visit a school. We're

going to play a little bit of video. There is still a little humanity and hope left in them. Let's have a look.


AMANPOUR: So, you talked a little bit about the kids and the terror that they face on many occasions, but sometimes they are just happy to see

an outsider who brings them a little distraction, a little love.

BLANCHETT: Yes. I think through UNHCR and the partner organizations, those children that you just saw have been given access to learning to

read and write for the first time ever because a stateless Rohingya refugees say they have not had access to education at all.

And it was very distressing to hear them sing that old protest song that we learned singing in English. They sang "Twinkle, twinkle little star" to

a tune that I had never heard before, but then they began to sing, "I am not alone, deep in my heart, I know that I am not alone, I am not afraid."

And you want to think I want to make that true with the international - the support of the international community.

AMANPOUR: What do you think they need most right now?

BLANCHETT: They need incredible support to shore themselves up against the oncoming monsoons. I mean, they've been showing incredible resilience.

They themselves sandbagging the steppes because, of course, the dwellings are in places where no dwelling should be.

There are landslides waiting to happen and their latrines are going to collapse and there is going to be dysentery and cholera. So, they

need financial support.

And the Bangladesh government and the host communities need to be supported by the international community to shore up against the monsoon.

AMANPOUR: It does really sound awful. And how awful is what's become of Aung San Suu Kyi? I don't know whether as a woman you identify or as

a human rights ambassador you identify, but this woman inspired the whole world.

She was given human rights prizes, but now one by one they're being taken away from her. The Holocaust Museum in Washington is the latest.

Nobel laureates have called on her just to stand up and speak up for these people.

BLANCHETT: It is bewildering, isn't it, that someone who has been such a champion for establishing even a fragile democracy in Myanmar and

who herself has suffered privations does not seem to be acknowledging in anyway the atrocities that have absolutely taken place.

[14:20:10] They are very real. There is not a single refugee that I met who hadn't had experienced some profound level of trauma. But, I suppose,

for me, that is the political solution that needs to take place and I'm focused on the very real human need that these 670,000 -

AMANPOUR: She was in your country, Australia.

BLANCHETT: Yes, recently.

AMANPOUR: While you were in Bangladesh. And she was treated as a visiting dignitary as she should be, but she pulled out of a Q&A and a speech

and all that kind of stuff.

And, again, I wonder as an Australian what you think about your own country's record on refugees, on immigrants, them being sort of

shunted into detention centers and offshore and all the rest of it.

It's a very difficult thing for you as a non-political actress, goodwill ambassador to be in the middle of it because it actually - there is a

lot of politics across this.

BLANCHETT: The respecting of basic human rights for the world's most vulnerable should not be a political decision. Turning back boats has

not worked. The policy of offshore mandatory ongoing detention is inhumane and must be stopped.

The Australia I grew up in was one that was, colonial invasion notwithstanding it, was incredibly supportive and welcoming of waves

of refugees, which have had - and those refugees have paid an enormous positive benefit to us economically and culturally and socially. So,

I don't understand it at all.

Australia has been incredibly generous in its financial support of, say, the Rohingya crisis and other crises, but it really does have to do

deal with the offshore processing.

AMANPOUR: And for whatever reason, right now, refugees are being demonized all over the world, whether it's Australia, whether it's with the

Rohingyas, whether it's in the United States, whether it's here in England. There's this anti sort of migrant feeling right now.

And it comes up at the same time as there's this big Me Too movement, Time's Up, there are a lot of real movements that are happening right now.

And you are one of the very prominent people who've signed up to Time's Up and, in fact, fund-raise. What is the fundraising for?

BLANCHETT: Well, in answer to the first thing, I think that there is a terrifying wave of nationalism and recidivism I think which is unhelpful,

then leads to sort of xenophobic level of misinformation about refugees, conflating the fact that these vulnerable people are related to terrorist


And every single person that I have seen, whether it be in Lebanon or Jordan or recently in the Rohingya refugees in Myanmar, they are fleeing

from atrocities. So, they need our help.

But in the relation to the fundraising, you mean fundraising for Time's Up.


BLANCHETT: Well, I think I exist in a very high-profile industry, very pointy-ended industry. And I think that there is many women in my position

who feel that we have a platform to not only examine the dirty laundry that needs to be washed in our own industry, but be an exemplar for the way

other industries need to do to examine the inequalities and the unexamined abuses that have gone on for decades.

AMANPOUR: Are you quite proud that it was Hollywood that actually opened the floodgates to this injustice that's happening to women?

BLANCHETT: I think as artists, we deal in nuance, we deal in gray areas and we deal in doubt. And so, I think that we're - and also, the job is -

without being too highfalutin, one's job is to be empathetic.

And as a woman, I think that, in a quite a male-dominated industry, we sort of tend to be compassionate and we welcome conversation and we've

been perhaps a little bit too patient.

And I think what I'm very proud of is that, in my industry, I think women have been siloed from one another, seen as being competitors rather

than collaborators. And I really do feel that there is a profound level of change that's happening in my industry.

But look at the banking sector, look at farm workers, look at women in the automotive industry, it happens across industry.

AMANPOUR: And in ours.

BLANCHETT: Yes, exactly. And if our industry can be used as an exemplar and the positive changes that I think are really genuinely happening can

be rolled out into other industries, I think that that is something I'm proud of.

AMANPOUR: And I want to finish with another piece of video that you've brought back. Again, it's an attempt to find the joy in these

incredibly sad and dispossessed places. And we're going to show you with some refugees who're actually turning any number of household objects

into musical instruments. What was that?

[14:25:01] BLANCHETT: Oh. Mohamed was - he is a professional singer back in Myanmar. He sang for a group of us, a song about the oncoming monsoon

and the terrifying fear that all of the houses are going to collapse.

AMANPOUR: Let's just play it.


AMANPOUR: He is using what looks like a kitchen bowl as a musical instrument.

BLANCHETT: Yes. He's the man who was the master of the mandolin - not actually sure what the instrument is called. We had to wait for half

an hour. He said I'm waiting for one more instrument and then out came this metal pot. So, I think that that in itself speaks a level of

invention and ingenuity that the refugees continually show.

AMANPOUR: Cate Blanchett, thank you so much for shining the spotlight on them.

BLANCHETT: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast at any time and see us online at

and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.