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America's Forever Prisoners; 9/11 Prisoners in Guantanamo Bay; Johanna Hamilton, Director, "The Trial" and Alka Pradhan, Human Rights Lawyer, are Interviewed About the Film, "The Trial" and About Guantanamo Bay Prison. Remembering 2012 Rape Case at Steubenville, Ohio; Nancy Schwartzman, Director, "Roll Red Roll," is Interview About Steubenville, 2012 Ohio's Rape Case; ; Rape Culture in America; Investing in Start-ups Founded by Women and People of Color. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired August 29, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." This week, we're dipping into the
archives and looking back at some of our favorite interviews from the year. Here's what's coming up.
A rare look inside Guantanamo Bay Prison at this a surreal trial of one of the 9/11 suspects. I speak with the defense attorney fighting for his life
and the filmmaker sharing his story with the world.
Then, rape in an Ohio town years ago documented on social media by the perpetrators. Now, "Roll Red Roll" uncovers the lies, the denial and the
And a tech entrepreneur who only invest in women and people of color. Our Alicia Menendez speaks with Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
U.S. special representative to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, is meeting with representatives from China., Russia and the E.U. about a peace deal
with the Taliban. The Afghan government is complaining that it's being frozen out of these talks but. President Trump wants to withdraw the
14,000 American troops there, some of whom weren't even born on September 11, 2001.
Despite efforts to end America's Forever War, precious little thought is given to America's forever prisoners, the 40 detainees still held in
indefinite custody at Guantanamo Bay. One of those prisoners is Ammar al- Baluchi, a Pakistani man whose uncle, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, is the alleged 9/11 mastermind.
Baluchi faces a death sentence. He's accused of helping facilitate those attacks. He's been in Guantanamo since 2006. He was charged in 2008 and
he's unlikely to face trial until after 2020. Why all the delay, because his attorneys are hand strung by the government at every turn. They're
denied access to classified material that's crucial to his defense.
Remember, this is the U.S. government curtailing the information and the disclosure to U.S. attorneys. Alka Pradhan is one of them. She's
defending Baluchi at Guantanamo and she's working with filmmaker Johanna Hamilton to tell the world about what's happening in the case.
Hamilton's short documentary is called "The Trial: Inside Guantanamo with 911 Suspect Ammar al-Baluchi," and it can be seen of the Guardian.com.
When I spoke with them both, it was hard to ignore the resemblance of this trial to Franz Kafka's novel "The Trial."
Johanna Hamilton, Alka Pradhan, welcome to the program.
Can I start by asking you about "The Trial," Johanna, what made you want to do this film? How did it cross your plates, so to speak?
JOHANNA HAMILTON, DIRECTOR, "THE TRIAL": Well, I've been interested in the policies that evolved out of the attacks of September 11th for a long time,
ever since the first investigative journalist started reporting on the black sites that were popping up all over the world, people who were being
rendered, extraordinary rendition.
I embarked -- I made sort of very small steps, early steps, towards the film in that regard and then got pulled off to work on other films. But
it's always been there with me and I've always wanted to return to it. About two years ago, I read an editorial in "The New York Times" that said
that the U.N. special rapporteur on torture had never been allowed access into Guantanamo, and I was sort of struck by that.
At the time, he was a personal friend. So, I phoned him up and said, "Listen, if you ever get access, please can I come with you with a camera?"
He very quickly, you know, disabused me of the notion that he would ever be allowed access, but in the process, he put me in touch with Alka. He said,
you know, "You know, should really speak to Alka Pradhan."
So, Alka and I got on the phone and had a long wide-ranging conversation. During the course of which, you know, I consider myself very well informed
and I had followed developments at Guantanamo but I had forgotten, if I ever knew, that there was a trial that was happening. That was the
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, Alka, then because you are defense counsel for one of those on trial. So, just tell us --
ALKA PRADHAN, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: Yes.
AMANPOUR: I mean, we -- you know, a lot of it is happening out of sight, we just don't have access to the nitty gritty of the so-called tribunals at
Guantanamo. I mean, from your perspective, as a defense lawyer, are you -- I mean, do you think is justice being done? What's going on?
PRADHAN: No, absolutely not. What is happening at Guantanamo is just an absolute travesty. When you think of the concept of American justice, we
have -- you know, we have contributed that and we have exported it to the rest of the world, and that is not what is happening at Guantanamo.
When you say, Christiane, that, you know, this is happening out of sight, that's very much by design. The United States government chose Guantanamo
because it was outside of the United States legal system, because we wouldn't have to [13:05:00] apply U.S. law. And everything they do at
Guantanamo, at these military commissions, is designed to be out of sight because if people could see the way in which this military commission is
proceeding, I think there would be a public outcry.
AMANPOUR: The film starts with you, among others, listening to the national anthem, the U.S. national anthem, there at Guantanamo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRADHAN: This never happened before. So -- and it's not easy. Excuse me one minute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Just tell me how that feels representing these people and having to really lobby on their behalf because the government doesn't seem to be
doing its due diligence when it comes to the trial process.
PRADHAN: Well, there are sort of three ways to look at it, Christiane. The first is that, in our justice system, the defendants are innocent until
they're proven guilty. I mean, that's just the basis of our entire justice system.
And so, you know, when we talk about the alleged masterminds of the September 11th attacks, it's important to remember that we are almost 18
years post September 11th and the United States government has still not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that any of these men actually did
participate in September 11th. And I know that the seems like a technicality but it is the foundation of our justice system. So, they
chose to torture them in black sites rather than bringing them to trial, rather than actually proving any kind of case against them. That still has
The second part of it is the torture, right, which is just the nasty center of this entire endeavor of the military commissions at Guantanamo. The
government has tripped over itself multiple times because of the torture. The evidence, the key evidence, they want to use against Ammar and against
the other defendants is acquired following their torture in CIA black sites, which is absolutely illegal.
Most of the proceedings at Guantanamo are classified, not because they're a threat to national security but because they implicate what is still not
known about the CIA torture program because the CIA still wants to protect that.
And the third aspect of it is that these men are still human beings, and that is something that we tried very hard to highlight, not just in the
film, but in everything we do. I mean, when I go, I talk Ammar al-Baluchi, the human being, who -- he is a man who has been in U.S. custody since
2003. He was tortured, his health is deteriorating, he has a family, just like all the rest of us do, he has interests, just like the rest of us do.
And so, that's what we have to represent.
AMANPOUR: Let me follow up on that, you filmed one of the co-defense counsel's talking about evidence that he wished he had had and talking
about how the CIA favored a Hollywood movie more than the legal defense case that's going on that they're trying to prosecute and Alka and the
others are trying to decide. Here is this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CONNELL III, CIVILIAN DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: I'm speaking on behalf of my client, Mr. Ammar al-Baluchi. He suffered unspeakable torture. For
many of you who watch this sort of movie, perhaps you've seen "Zero Dark Thirty." The person who is depicted in the first 25 minutes of that movie
is my client, Ammar.
We ask, how did the director of "Zero Dark Thirty" get all this information and received in discovery that she had access to CIA records but were
denied because they say it's not relevant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, Johanna, that is a very, very, very strong part of your 15-minute documentary. We obviously didn't put all the torture out there.
We have constraints on the television. But nonetheless, it was pretty obviously very violent. How did you decide to sort of construct that part
of the film?
HAMILTON: Well, there's so -- as we've been discussing, there's so much of the rendition, detention and interrogation program that is secret, that is
still secret to this day. And so, you know, in so far as it's possible to shed a little bit of light into these spaces that we know virtually nothing
You know, here, it was well documented that the CIA had helped the makers of "Zero Dark Thirty," the filmmakers. And in so far as they were seeking
to achieve accuracy, then these scenes, de facto, constitute an admission on behalf of the government that this happened. And, you know, if we're
going to achieve no accuracy in terms of a public report, a public accounting, you know, Alka and her colleagues aren't allowed -- in theory,
aren't allowed [13:10:00] access to this information, which just seems absurd. If they're going to do that, then, you know, I can use it in terms
of an admission that it did happen, that I'm using it in terms of its factual basis.
AMANPOUR: And how did you get -- I mean, obviously, I guess the defense council were interested in having this be portrayed in your documentary.
Did you get any of the other side, the U.S. government's side, the prosecutor's?
HAMILTON: You know, we -- Mark Martins was at Guantanamo when we visited. You know, he -- we did get him on camera. He says relatively little. And
that, you know, Christiane, I felt that there is a place, you know, we have heard a lot from the government in Guantanamo, you are in a place that is,
you know, uniquely controlled by the government. You know, you have a government minder with you at all times. There are -- there's so much that
you can and mostly cannot at Guantanamo.
So, I felt that, you know, when I filmed him, you know, perhaps in a very traditional journalistic sense, it would have made sense to have, you know,
even a tiny snippet of him but I feel that there is a place for, you know, a smaller point of view driven documentary that is, you know, both
historical, accurate and artful.
AMANPOUR: Mindbogglingly, the pretrial for this trial has taken seven years and counting and there isn't even a specific date for the trial.
Let's just remember that Ammar al-Baluchi, your client, is a relative of the alleged mastermind, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
But what I want to ask you is this, as a legal point, I think you have said that the United States government has waterboarded its way out of a
conviction for Baluchi. Can you explain what that means?
PRADHAN: Absolutely. I mean, the minute the U.S. government decided to torture Ammar, they threw away any opportunity to have a fair trial for
him. Because every statement he made after that was impacted by the torture. The key evidence the government wants to use are these statements
that he and others made to the FBI after they were brought to Guantanamo in 2007 after years of torture.
And, Christiane, when I say years we have read into the record, you know, unclassified session at Guantanamo, the hundreds, thousands of
interrogations that they had over three or four years in the black sites. And so, those statements in 2007, the government's primary evidence, are
the product of torture.
And so, that's the government's primary evidence. And what's happened is over the course of seven years, the government has steadfastly refused to
give us the information we need from the black sites, key information. who was in the room when he was tortured, who asked him questions, what were
the questions, things like that that we need for his defense?
And so, you know, the prospect of having anything that looks like a normal trial at this point is far gone. There's just no way.
AMANPOUR: I want to play another soundbite, and this is of one of the relatives of one of those who was killed on 9/11. Let's not forget, nearly
3,000 people were slaughtered on 9/11. And this must be an incredibly painful process for them because they are waiting years to know whether
there will be accountability for their -- for the death of their loved ones. This is one of the father's first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that we're spending two years or more developing the process for this is quite irritating from my perspective,
and I'm sure other people feel the same way. It's -- I'm not saying it's an open and close case, but is there a better way to figure out what the
process should be than having defense lawyers and prosecution lawyers arguing that out point by point. I don't think this is going to be resolve
in my lifetime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, it must have been incredibly devastating to hear that.
HAMILTON: Yes. I cannot imagine. I mean, the -- you know, 9/11 families, victims' families, are invited down to observe all of the pretrial
proceedings. I can't imagine what it's like for them. And Alka can speak obviously much better to the defense team's make a point of meeting with
the victims' families. And I think over the years, they've really run the gamut of emotions in terms of, you know, what people say to them.
Yes. It must be absolutely devastating for people.
AMANPOUR: Has the Pentagon, the CIA, the U.S. government, in any way, reacted to your film?
HAMILTON: Thus far, no.
AMANPOUR: What are the numbers at Guantanamo?
HAMILTON: Alka, correct me if I'm wrong. I think there are 40 men still there.
PRADHAN: That's right, yes.
HAMILTON: Five are the high value detainees who are charged in the 9/11 conspiracy. Four more --
AMANPOUR: Of which Ammar is one of them and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed?
HAMILTON: Correct. Four more have been charged in other -- you know, under the military commissions, for other crimes. And the rest are forever
prisoners. People -- in other words, people who have not been charged with a crime and will never be charged with a crime and who will likely remain
in Guantanamo forever.
In fact, they're building a geriatric wing in Guantanamo right now.
AMANPOUR: They're building a geriatric [13:15:00] wing?
HAMILTON: They are.
PRADHAN: Well, so actually, just two minor points. Actually, five of the of the 40 who are left have been cleared for release and were cleared for
release prior to this administration. But of course, this administration, its policy is not to transfer anyone or to negotiate transfers.
And so, those five men who have been cleared unanimously by six government agencies are still there, just waiting for an administration that would be
willing to transfer them. There are still a large number who are eligible to be cleared, but that review process has also essential stopped under
this administration. And so, there is hope for some of those 40 left. But in the meantime, they're being held in indefinite detention without charge.
In terms of the geriatric wing, this is something that's actually quite an important point because the detainees are deteriorating quickly. Every
single one of them was tortured just brutally by the United States government and continue to be tortured in arbitrary detention there. And
they need health care, they need torture rehabilitation, which is specialized health care, and the government just absolutely refuses to give
it to them.
I know that the Pentagon asked for additional funding to build more resources there and Congress actually denied that quite recently. And so,
they're just kind of stuck in this loop of, you know, they won't be released but they won't be given care.
AMANPOUR: I mean, the idea that Ammar al-Baluchi, your client, I read, was first arrested in Pakistan. In Pakistan we read that he was very chatty,
that he was busy telling the interrogators what they wanted to hear. He was talking. And then they nonetheless took him to, first, Afghanistan
black site, then Romania black site and tortured the heck out of him.
Why do you think they didn't just go with what he was saying in Pakistan and get the actual information out of him?
PRADHAN: Well, so first, I have to say that I can't confirm or deny any of the locations in which he was held by the CIA. I can confirm that he was
picked up in Pakistan in 2003.
But to answer your question, I don't know. I think it's because the CIA -- honestly, the people who were in charge of the CIA torture program, Mr.
Mitchell and Mr. Jessen, were on a complete frolic, they wanted to impose these techniques on these prisoners, they want to render them to these
secret sites. I mean, there was really no actual science behind it.
AMANPOUR: What is your hope that your cases will ever see the light of day in a courtroom in Guantanamo?
PRADHAN: I mean, Christiane, honestly, at this point, my hope is not to go to trial at Guantanamo, although, I think it is likely that the government
will insist on having a TRO trial.
My goal at this point for Ammar is to get him torture rehabilitation, because that is what he needs. I mean, he would say he -- everything he
talks about, he can't even focus on the trial and the proceedings or really, he's to the point where he can't even participate really in his own
defense because his cognitive abilities from the traumatic brain injury, he was given in CIA custody, are deteriorating.
And so, my goal is to get him torture rehabilitation and then figure out a way to do that.
AMANPOUR: And just finally, I guess, what would you say to the parents, the family, of the victims given that you are so ferociously defending the
PRADHAN: I am so ferociously defending Ammar al-Baluchi because that is in keeping with our values, that is what the United States has always stood
for. My heart breaks for the victims. I'm an American as well, first and foremost, and that is why I do this work. There is no part of anything,
any of this, September 11th onwards, that is not tragic.
And I honor the family members of the victims who come down to Guantanamo and have the courage to come and talk to us and see everything, because I
don't know if I would have the same courage that they do.
AMANPOUR: It really is remarkable and this film really does give a remarkable insight into this story that otherwise is sort of happening out
of plain sight.
HAMILTON: Exactly. Yeah. It's available on "The Guardian," on field division, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: That is really good. Johanna Hamilton, thank you very much. Alka Pradhan, thank you very much.
HAMILTON: Thank you.
PRADHAN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And we've obviously asked for a response from the Pentagon. At this time, we have heard nothing back.
Now, we go behind the scenes of another shocking story, one you may well remember. In 2012, a 16-year-old girl was raped by two star football
players in Steubenville, Ohio. It is a familiar story. Except this time, the boys and their friends recorded all the sordid details on social media.
In fact, it was through their posts and their smartphones that the victim who woke up alone in an unfamiliar house with no memory of being raped
found out what had actually happened to her [13:20:00] the night before.
A new documentary by director Nancy Schwartzman dissects all aspects of that horrific crime. It's called, "Roll Red Roll." And here's a clip.
And, of course, please be aware that what you're going to hear is disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That girls, what will they do with that girl?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is so raped right now. Dead body.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that gets around, then you might go to jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't do it, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. This is the funniest thing ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The laughter and the language are beyond chilling.
When I spoke with Nancy Schwartzman, I asked her about what this story tells us, not just about Steubenville, Ohio, but about our culture as a
whole and the whole so-called rape culture.
Nancy Schwartzman, welcome to the program.
NANCY SCHWARTZMAN, DIRECTOR, "ROLL RED ROLL:" Thank you. Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: "Roll Red Roll" is a very dramatic retelling of this story that many of us remember and were so shocked about at the time. An unconscious
drunk young girl was taken advantage of, basically gang raped.
Just tell me what particular angle are you a keen to explore for a documentary this many years later on, a story that's pretty well known?
SCHWARTZMAN: Yes. What I was drawn to in the story of Steubenville was really the ability to look carefully and closely at the behavior of the
perpetrators and the witnesses and the bystanders. So, often in stories about sexual assaults, the story centers or hinges on the victim and all of
the burden falls on her shoulders to retell her story, to go out in public and actually aware.
I think we need to be looking is at the behavior and at those who choose to commit the act. So, what was so interesting about the Steubenville story
was I was able to look at multiple players in this crime scenario and look at social media evidence and eventually, text messages and all other kinds
of evidence, but really look at group behavior and the behavior of the young man.
AMANPOUR: So, just to be clear, the victim was 16 years old at the time, she could not be named. So, she is Jane Doe forever. She has not been
interviewed. We don't know and we will not say her name publicly. But she was in no condition to give consent, and you could see that even by some of
the pictures that the boys themselves posted where they were carrying her lifeless looking body from place to place. I mean, it's pretty self-
indicting. And we played it in the introduction to you a sound that is so utterly really self-indicting that one wonders why there was any doubt as
to their involvement and their guilt even early on.
SCHWARTZMAN: Yes. I think, you know, what's interesting with also teenagers and social media is really sort of teasing out what is criminal
evidence and what is social media bragging. So, I think that two, sort of, parallel things to look at in this film are the kind of thriller elements
of a crime unfolding, where you're following evidence and then also just evidence of the behavior, right.
So, if you're laughing about it and bragging about it but you're not actually there, whether or not that's criminal, it's more like why is that
culturally acceptable in this community and why is rape kind of a hobby or a sport? I mean, that's almost how it was being treated.
AMANPOUR: And is that what you mean by rape culture? Because that comes up a lot, you talk about this entity called rape culture.
SCHWARTZMAN: Absolutely. I think rape culture before Steubenville was kind of an idea that a small group of people were throwing around, trying
to say this is important. Steubenville was such an example of it because it shows how callous and desensitized, we and the United States are by
saying, you know, "Boys will be boys and that's just locker room talk." I actually feel like "Roll Red Roll" paints such a clear picture between the
language and the behavior and how they're all sort of shades of a rape culture that says it's acceptable to harm women and it's OK and it's fine.
And -- yes.
AMANPOUR: So, Steubenville, obviously, is the town in Ohio. The girl was raped multiple times from -- taken from place to place [13:25:00] by these
football players. We know in the end that the two main accused were in fact sentenced, one to two years and one to one year and they went to jail
and they did their time.
But let's just back up. Because this all happened also in the wake of the massive scandal revolving around the football coach at -- I believe it was
Penn State. Is that correct?
AMANPOUR: And there was issues and accusations that the authorities there covered it up for years, that the football team and the football culture
was more important than the violation in Sandusky's case of so many young boys and in Steubenville's case of the violation of this young girl.
SCHWARTZMAN: Well, an interesting distinction between the two because so many kids in Ohio would dream of going to go play football at Penn State.
You know, they're so connected, the two states are right next to each other. And culturally, Penn State is really this, you know, icon of
Everybody could agree and the Penn State case that raping children and raping little boys is awful. And what I found so different, and again, as
evidence of rape culture is that the town was pretty split about how we treat teenage girls, like actually not everybody thought it was outrageous
and terrible that this happened, suddenly everyone -- many people went to victim blaming, which was a big difference, nobody blamed the victims in
Penn State's case.
AMANPOUR: So, the plays in Steubenville, in this terrible drama, you know, said things in your documentary like football being a brotherhood, like a
fraternity that you can never get out of. But what was extraordinary to me is that in face it was accused of being a cover up but there was a
prosecutor who started very early on investigating the case, connecting the dots, she went through the perpetrator's social media, their phones and all
the rest of it.
And she was doing this investigation and connecting the dots, except it wasn't public because it couldn't be public. And then there was this crime
blogger, Alex Goddard, who bust the whole thing open. To your mind, how important was she?
SCHWARTZMAN: Alex was really important to the case for a few reasons. I mean, Alex knew the town and knew that if there was an arrest for football
-- of a football player in a crime, then it was probably pretty serious. And it was a moment, it's 2012.
So, social media is early, its nascent, young people don't understand that it's public, police officers aren't really taking it seriously and she had
the foresight to check all of the social media accounts, see how folks were talking about this sexual assault online, archive it, document it and keep
it before anyone would have thought to look there.
So, she did try to offer that to the local police. She went to them and said, "I have this information. Are you interested?" Nobody got back to
her. So, whether or not Alex found criminal evidence, to me and to the film, I think what's more important is that she shows this real cultural
evidence of what was happening so publicly in the community.
AMANPOUR: Well, now that you point out that it was 2012 and she really did an online social media investigation that now we take for granted and then,
as you remind us, was very, very new. Though she did get a huge amount of backlash, all the haters started coming out.
So, let me just play this little clip of her reacting to the reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDRA GODDARD, CRIME BLOGGER: I was really like they mean business. They're pissed.
I think the people in Steubenville, they hate my guts, they hate my freaking guts. And it's OK that they hate me because I did what I thought
was the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, we still constantly wrestle with this issue, that you bring something to light, you're a whistleblower of whatever sort and then you
get the backlash, the trollers, the community even. How did the adults in the community of Steubenville react when the boys were accused and when all
of Alex's blogs were coming out and even, the initial prosecutor, she also received a huge amount of backlash?
SCHWARTZMAN: Yes. I think, initially, before there was evidence, a lot of evidence, and really the details of the crime became public, people were
defensive and they were defending the local heroes and defending the boys, you know, and kind of minimizing it.
I think as more information became public, and you could sort of read the language and see how boys were talking, I think more people felt safe to
come forward and say, This is not OK. We don't agree with this behavior.
But it's a very small town. So it's hard to be vocal and make a change and go against the status quo. And sometimes you need someone like an Alex or
an outsider to go in and sort of shake it up. And Alex had a lot of courage and really took a lot of heat.
AMANPOUR: And then interestingly, and it sort of was another game-changing turning point in the drama, Anonymous got involved. And you have those,
very sort of familiar Guy Fawkes masks, and you had a certain amount of hacking and you had them outing a lot of people.
Now, it had the effect of galvanizing, again, attention. But also some people complained about the, you know, the notion of vigilante justice.
Where did you come down on that? Because you really do explain in quite full the vigilante justice that was meted out by Anonymous.
SCHWARTZMAN: Yes. I think it's a really fascinating question, because if things are buried for many years and it feels like nothing is going to
change, unless dramatic actions are taken where no one's hurt, right, but it is dramatic to leak footage and to hack into the football website.
Ultimately, it led to so many women coming forward and sharing their stories.
And what's powerful about those masks is in a small town or in a region where everybody knows each other, how can you actually step out and sort of
shatter the norm when you're so interdependent and interconnected. So the masks gave a lot of local women the opportunity to say, like, this happened
to me 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago.
No one in the school did anything. The police didn't do anything. Like, we are all Jane Does. And I think there is something incredible and
powerful about having those sinister masks and also having men stand in solidarity with local women.
AMANPOUR: Well, I thought that was really interesting because Anonymous, the main person, was a guy and he also apparently had been abused in his
youth. Alex Goddard, the blogger, had been abused and she admitted that.
And then as you mentioned, all these women came out. So we're going play that clip of sort of these outdoor masked confessions, so to speak, or
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the age of 14, I was raped by a star football player that I had a crush on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was raped in 2000.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought he was so nice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was drugged, carried limp and nothing became of it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those friends didn't believe me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I said no repeatedly, repeatedly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Again, it really is dramatic, that. I would posit that something did come out of the Steubenville case. Not only were the
perpetrators, the main perpetrators tried, convicted, and sentenced to jail and did their jail time, but also, if I'm not mistaken, there were four
school employees indicted as well.
So how do you feel in general about the way this all played out?
SCHWARTZMAN: I think it was really important that, first of all, the community and the survivors in town were able to finally kind of shatter
silence and really say this is the truth of our experience here and we want this to change. And I think it sent a very strong message that the boys
were adjudicated guilty and that school officials are part of both the problem and need to be part of the solution.
So I think that sort of reckoning was really important. And I do feel like the Steubenville story was one of the sparks that led to the MeToo
AMANPOUR: That's interesting. Because I was going to ask you how Steubenville has corrected, healed, how it's doing right now. But also
mentioning that, that even when I talk to people, I hear so many stories that so many women have buried from the past in every walk of life, every
And it's just amazing how until now, and perhaps even now, so many women are just burying it. And obviously, Steubenville and MeToo unleashed those
SCHWARTZMAN: Yes, absolutely. And also, just to say, there's a lot of men suffering in silence as well, you know? So I think Steubenville helped
really crack it open because of the social media. It was just really at this perfect time that suddenly these visceral pieces and [13:35:00] pieces
of evidence and the video you played earlier at the top, that wasn't explicit. And had it been explicit, it wouldn't have been able to be
But because it was their voices -- I mean, we hear echoes of that in Dr. Ford's testimony in her hearing with Kavanaugh that she remembers the
laughter. So I think what we need to start doing now that we are hearing all of these survivor stories is really looking now at the patterns of
perpetration, how do these things happen, why are they happening, what are the institutions that enable this behavior to continue because now we can
see that it is endemic.
AMANPOUR: Nancy Schwartzman, thank you so much. The film is Roll Red Roll.
SCHWARTZMAN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Roll Red Roll is in theaters now. And as Nancy Schwartzman says, it is encouraging to see the culture begin to change.
We turn now to another story about change in culture. Meet Arlan Hamilton, the formerly homeless tech entrepreneur whose venture capital firm
Backstage Capital is dedicated to investing in start-ups founded by women and people of color only, at a time when 90 percent of venture funding goes
to white men.
Our Alicia Menendez talks to Hamilton about the changing face of entrepreneurship.
ALICIA MENENDEZ, CONTRIBUTOR: 2015, you set a goal for yourself, invest in 100 companies by 2020. And everyone said that's not going to happen.
ARLAN HAMILTON, FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER, BACKSTAGE CAPITAL: Anyone who would listen, because there are a lot of people who just wouldn't
listen to me. I was being told left and right that. Like to my face, without any sort of apology, I was being told there are not enough good
black founders to invest in. There are not enough good women to invest in, that this is why I will not invest in your fund.
So it's 90, 95 percent white men that I'm talking to because I'm being introduced or I'm finding my way. And they're saying to me, I had someone
say to me, you're never going to get anyone to invest in this fund because there is not enough deal flow.
And that same person who was a white man, wrote to me three years later, last year, to ask me if I could help him with his deal flow.
MENENDEZ: Can you give us a sense for those of us who are not in this world, I mean how much money did you need to raise to invest in a hundred
companies and really make the type of difference that you wanted to see?
HAMILTON: Yes. So I mean we are a drop in the bucket. Backstage Capital, the firm that I run, we are a drop in the bucket and really set out to be
an example, really be a case study in what other funds and firms could do.
Usually funds, venture funds will have at the very least $25 million under management for one fund. And then most of them are between $100 and $500
million each fund and there are sometimes multiple funds that are raised over a few years. And then there's like Andreessen Horowitz or Sequoia or
Kleiner Perkins who have billions of dollars under management.
Where I wanted to be was let's find the founders at the earliest stages. This is like people who are actually out there doing things, have traction,
but they're still being overlooked and not taken seriously. Let's find people right there and write a $50,000 check, write a $100,000 check
because what we wanted to do was replace this or become this part of the funding process called the Friends and Family Round.
So if you are an affluent white man or an affluent black man but if you're -- if you have access to this and you go out and you say, OK, I want to
start a company, I need about $25,000, $50,000 to make the app and I want to have this for marketing, I want to hire a salesperson, I want to --
MENENDEZ: You ask your friends.
HAMILTON: You just have a Friends and Family Round. You go back to your school that you went to. Hey, do you want to throw in $10,000? You'll
have a piece of this, what I'm doing.
But for a lot of us, including me, this is like a fairytale. It is a fantasy. Like you wouldn't believe. It will be like saying to that same
person, ask your friends and family for $10 million for your little app.
So we wanted to be let's be the Friends and Family Round for these founders because what happens then is if you invest in the ones that you really
believe in, you pattern match yourself. I'm a black gay woman. I don't look like every other V.C. out there. I'm going to write the checks. I'm
going to pattern match. I'm going to represent and advocate.
You get the money, that seed money, into the hands of people who you know can do more with less, because they've proven that day after day, it's just
how it is. Then it stands to reason that some of them will go on to [13:40:00] do well.
MENENDEZ: Right. You say you pattern match for grit.
MENENDEZ: Talk to me then about some of the investments you think are most emblematic of your theory.
HAMILTON: There is a woman named Jessica Mathews who lives in New York. Her company is called Uncharted Power. She's an inventor. She's a CEO.
She's been on the cover of Forbes Africa twice. She has invented multiple renewable energy products, some that are consumer-based and then now more
for cities and smart cities and for countries and things like that.
She is someone that, at first, had to go knocking on doors and get people to pay attention to her. Now, she doesn't. All we have to do is visit her
six-story lab to see what they're building over there.
And I think she's going to -- I think she wants to be the first unicorn out of Harlem. So that means she wants to be the first billion-dollar company
out of Harlem. I think she can do it.
There's one called CEEK VR and Mary Spio is the founder. She's a black woman. And she grew up in Ghana and she would watch television to kind of
take her mind away from all of the things that were going on outside and all of the terrible things that were happening around her. It would just
help her escape.
A few years ago, she said, you know, what could be that little television box in my room -- in my living room that helped me escape? That could be
VR for so many underrepresented people, that we need to get VR to a place that is accessible, that is not so expensive, you don't have to have a
thousand dollars set to be able to enjoy it.
So she started from the ground up creating the most accessible VR headsets that she could. And so she's developed CEEK, C-E-E-K, VR. And I just
think she should have her own Hidden Figures movie, as should Jessica.
There are people working on all sorts of wonderful things, not just media and beauty and what a lot of people think, but in deep tech.
MENENDEZ: So you spent the early part of your career as a production coordinator and music tour manager. Tell me about the moment you said to
yourself, I want to be a venture capitalist.
HAMILTON: I'm not sure if there is this "come to Jesus moment" where I thought, oh, I'm going to be a VC. But I knew -- I had been learning about
venture capital and different equity asset classes. And I understood VC to be this two percent sliver of private equity that was meant to power
And I thought, well, if what I'm trying to do is set out to get more capital to underrepresented, underestimated founders, and at this time it
was 2012-ish where no one was talking about it, if I'm going to take this big moon shot "leap" then I should go to where people are betting on moon
shots every day.
MENENDEZ: How did the idea even come on your radar?
HAMILTON: I set out to raise money to start a company myself. I was in Texas. And very naively and innocently started looking -- asking people
for money who were on the coast and different angel investors who invest their own capital and people investing other capital.
And that's when I started seeing this pattern, that a lot of the white men no matter -- it wasn't necessarily their fault. It was just what was true
and happening. They were getting meetings with investors, no matter what their product was, their service was, or what stage they were in or what
their background was, all of it. They were getting meetings because this person has potential in the investor's eyes.
MENENDEZ: They were pattern matching.
HAMILTON: They were pattern matching, you're right. And so everyone else that I talked to was not. Like they had not gotten the meetings. They had
not -- so a lot of them had maybe spoken to one or two people and got no's, but most of them had not even had the chance to pitch.
MENENDEZ: Be able to get in the room.
HAMILTON: And I started to recognize that there was something in that. There was a great disappointment in that, being a gay black woman, that was
really sad to see that everyone -- everything that I identify with was being -- had the doors closed on them.
MENENDEZ: At the time that you were teaching yourself about venture capital, that you are shooting off these e-mails trying to get in front of
people, you are unemployed, you have less than steady housing.
HAMILTON: Yes. That's a very nice way of saying it, thank you.
MENENDEZ: Paint the picture for me because I know that the retelling of your story sometimes gets told in different ways.
HAMILTON: Oh, yes.
MENENDEZ: Where are you living? What are those circumstances? How are you making support?
HAMILTON: So 2012, '13, '14, I would have been in Texas. I was living with my mom. My mom and I became roommates. We called ourselves Thelma
And I had a blow-up bed, like an inflatable mattress and a whiteboard. And my mom had [13:45:00] a bed and a T.V. and that was -- so that was how we
I think I put myself through like a four-year home school if you think about from the time I started thinking about it and learning about it to
the time I got my first L.P., limited partner to invest. And so part of it was I was in -- had shelter but had very limited means and had to figure
out, OK, I have $15 in the bank account today, I'll have $50 tomorrow.
Then it actually got worse where we had to leave that apartment because we couldn't afford it. And so my mom and I shared a room in a hotel, a best
western type place. And then, couldn't sustain that any longer and couldn't get another apartment because we both had poor credit and all
sorts of things where it's kind of stacked against us.
But we were both able-bodied and we were both able-minded. We got to a point where we just couldn't do it anymore. So she moved back in
Mississippi with her family and I went out and made ends meet on the West Coast over time.
MENENDEZ: Tell me about that. 2015, there's a boot camp at Stanford, cost about $10,000, women get 50 percent off --
HAMILTON: No, it cost $20,000.
MENENDEZ: Cost $20,000. So $10,000 was the discounted rate.
HAMILTON: It was $18,000 at the time. I don't know what it is now. It was a pilot program with 500 start-ups, which is an accelerator in Silicon
Valley. I was able to get two people to nominate me, but not everybody knew me. That was the point.
And so they nominated me for the scholarship if you want to call it that. It was a two-week program. And went there and it was really awesome. And
so I crowdfunded like $3,000 of the $10,000 but actually, there was the expense of living and eating there.
So I basically had a one-way ticket. I had enough for an Airbnb for two weeks. And I had a down payment on the scholarship that I had to then pay
MENENDEZ: And what was your plan after that?
HAMILTON: I didn't have one. My plan was ultimately the same that it had been for the past -- the previous three years, which was I know that this
needs to exist and these temporary circumstances in my personal life are almost inconsequential.
And you have to understand, too, that I was reading things like Outliers at the time. I was being inspired by people at the time, like Elon Musk and
Richard Branson and all of these white men who have unlimited ability to try and fail and try again.
And I said, well, that resonates with me. That's me. They're trying for big bold ideas and it's not always going to be a linear easy path. Here I
MENENDEZ: Tell me then about the first person who says yes.
HAMILTON: Yes. So her name is Susan Kimberlin. She used to work at Salesforce, I believe PayPal before that, and in product. And she is an
And I met her at the Stanford boot camp. And we became friends. And over time, I would help her diligence different deals she was doing and like try
to like give value.
And I asked her, will you invest in this fund that I'm starting in? September 14 is when she said yes and September 15 is when I got the first
wire from her.
MENENDEZ: There is news that I want you to respond to this week.
MENENDEZ: "Axios's" Dan Primack broke news that the $36 million, it's about downtime fund, has fallen through. That was a fund intended to
invest solely in black female founders falling through, his words, not mine.
MENENDEZ: The bottom line, Hamilton, you, has a compelling biography and she has sought to do something laudable outside of Silicon Valley's pattern
matching mold. But it is also true that tech media has been so thirsty for such stories that it may have put the cart before the horse, attributing
success to a work very much still in progress. How do you respond?
HAMILTON: Yes. Well, first of all, the fallen through part of the headline was very shocking to me. I talked to so many men and women who
raise funds or who are raising funds who are going through the exact same thing I'm going through.
I can understand if you're outside of Silicon Valley, you're outside of venture, if you're not as educated as Dan is, thinking on the subject,
thinking oh, well, they said they had a fund, they don't have a fund right now so they must have failed.
But he is too smart for that. And I don't really understand it. So I don't [13:50:00] accept the failed part of it. It's like -- it's almost
like saying your flight -- I just took a flight from L.A. to New York. You say your flight from L.A. to New York has not landed yet, therefore,
it's a failure. It hasn't landed yet. That's all it is.
MENENDEZ: Let's then use your framework. Why is it on hold?
HAMILTON: It's not on hold. It's frustrating because that is what fundraising is. We have -- it's just like saying -- having a capital call.
You don't have a $36 million fund and have $36 million in the bank. You do capital calls over five, six years from your limited partners and you say,
OK, can you give me 10 percent of that for this year, I'll take 15 percent the next year, et cetera.
This is the same. When you launch a fund, you raise it. And a lot of people choose to raise the fund and then announce. And some people like us
choose to do a general solicitation fund where you're allowed to talk about it in press because we knew we were up against a lot of odds and we wanted
more people to know about it who could write those larger checks, institutions, not individuals.
So it was announced. Our target was announced. We already had commitments to kick us off when we made -- before we made the announcement. We had an
inker shortly after that -- inker meaning someone who would put in 20 percent or more and would help lead the round.
They, unfortunately, had to back out, and that was their whole -- you know, it was on them and they understood that and we understood that. It was a
disappointing time but we handled it with grace and dignity behind the scenes and we didn't go out and announce it because that wasn't part of our
We just simply got back on the fundraising trail that we had been on and continued raising. To me, it's not news and not newsworthy.
I don't think that Dan himself is a bad person, I don't. I've known him for years. I've sponsored one of his charity baseball games. We've been
I do think there is bias to his reporting because it's almost like someone described it as sort of like gleeful -- gleefully watching something not do
as well as we had hoped. I don't think that he reports the same way about other fund managers in the exact same position. And also we are very --
MENENDEZ: It's s not the only news this week.
MENENDEZ: We also learned you're stepping down --
HAMILTON: This is a big week.
MENENDEZ: It's a big week. We've also learned you're stepping down as CEO of Backstage Studio.
HAMILTON: Studio, yes.
MENENDEZ: Which is the firm's venture studio that incubates new companies and products.
MENENDEZ: Is that right?
HAMILTON: Yes. And it runs our operations.
MENENDEZ: And that Christie Pitts, your partner and chief of staff, will now be in charge of Backstage Studio.
MENENDEZ: So what does that shake up?
HAMILTON: OK. So I'm glad you asked. So Backstage Studio is something that we launched. Christie and I co-founded it a little over a year ago to
keep the lights on and keep going so that we could continue to support our portfolio of a hundred plus companies. I'll say that again. Most funds do
not have that many companies.
So the stepping down as CEO part, I went into it as CEO. Christie was my co-founder. We worked together every day on many things and she's just a
I have taken on the role of too many people at Backstage. I take on too much. I talk about self-care almost every day online. I tell people, take
care of yourself. If you don't take care of yourself, how can you take care of others?
MENENDEZ: And you're not taking care of yourself?
HAMILTON: And I had been trying, but then I reached a point where I'm like, I am too stressed day to day about the tiniest things. It only makes
MENENDEZ: And also -- I think for those of us watching, it also raises the question, can you be the brand and do the work?
HAMILTON: Right. So, this is -- to me, honestly, this is just an evolution. I love launching things. I love catalyzing. I love inspiring.
I love working with our founders to help them get more resources that they deserve. I love all of that. I love sitting one on one with founders and
just working through a problem with them.
I have a difficult time being able to do that as much as I want when I'm over here worrying about the price of office supplies. It's just really
basic. And it's not a big story.
To me, it's practicing what I preach. I feel like I haven't even begun and there is so much more for me to do.
MENENDEZ: Arlan, thank you so much.
HAMILTON: Thank you. Appreciate it.
AMANPOUR: I'm curious to see what Arlan Hamilton does next now that her role at Backstage Capital is changing.
But that's it for our program. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com. And you can follow me on
Instagram and Twitter.
Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.