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Chaos in 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucuses; Iowa 2020 Caucus App Causes Delay of Results; David Yepsen, Host, "Iowa Press," is Interviewed About 2020 Iowa Caucus; David Axelrod, Democratic Strategist, is Interviewed About 2020 Iowa Caucus; Lack of Diversity in 2020 BAFTA; Nischelle Turner, Host, "Entertainment Tonight," and Shola Mos Shogbamimu, Lawyer and Political Activist; Diversity in Entertainment Industry. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired February 4, 2020 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID AXELROD, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I feel sorry for Pete Buttigieg, but how about the people of Iowa? How about the public?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: We talk to David Axelrod, former senior adviser to Iowa's 2008 breakout star, Barack Obama. Could this caucus night debacle shake voters'
confidence in the system?
And the nominees are lacking diversity, after the BAFTAs and with Oscars just around the corner, we discuss with America's Entertainment Tonight's
co-host and with a British lawyer and diversity activist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID ZUCCHINO: The city was 56 percent black, as I have said, in 1998. Today, it's 18 percent. So, they just turned a black majority city
overnight into this white supremacist citadel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A murderous coup that changed everything. Author David Zucchino talks to Walter Isaacson about an overlooked bloody conflict and the rise
of white supremacy in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.
Ever since 1972, Iowa has determined almost all the Democratic presidential nominees. And last night's first in the nation quirky caucus was meant to
be a powerful launching pad for the rest of the 2020 election. But instead, it went off with a splatter. Chaos and confusion reigned on Monday night
and into Tuesday as technical issues, combined with human error, turned the contest results into a modeled mess.
American voter conference was already low after Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and now this could shake that trust even more. There are
serious questions about the strength of the U.S. electoral system and whether the Iowa Caucus, as we know it, should be abolished.
Let's go right now to Des Moines, Iowa, to David Yepsen, he's host of "Iowa Press" on Iowa public television and he's a former political columnist for
the Des Moines Register.
David Yepsen, welcome to the program.
DAVID YEPSEN, HOST, "IOWA PRESS": Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: I don't know whether to commiserate or what, but as you heard Axelrod say, what about the people of Iowa? What about the voters? How are
they feeling today after this night?
YEPSEN: Well, I think it's a combination of sadness and anger. Now, sadness because this problem is likely to end the caucuses as major
political events certainly as we've known them and there's -- and maybe it should. They've had troubles for many -- several cycles. And I think
there's also an element of anger in this. A lot of people in Iowa and American politics put a lot of time and energy and money into this
campaign. And then to have it -- the results implode is just incredibly frustrating and exasperating. And so, there's sadness and I think there's
AMANPOUR: So, you know, I just want to pick up where you said. There have been issues in previous recent cycles. Of course, those are, for instance,
in 2012 when Mitt Romney was declared the Republican winner until he wasn't. And then in 2016 the results of the Sanders/Clinton race was close,
took a long time to declare. And Sanders and his camp sort of, you know, started talking about a rigged situation. Has it been sort of -- has the
well been poisoned for a long time? Has anybody before now thought about abolishing it as an important first contest?
YEPSEN: There's been talk about abolishing it as an important first contest since its existence. You know, and this trouble with the count is -
- goes back even farther. I mean, in 1980 the Republican computers crashed, computers were a new thing, and as the vote was coming in. And Reagan
trailed George Herbert Walker Bush and then the computers crashed and there were no more results. And, you know, they went back years later and figured
out, yes, Bush probably did win. But at the time, the Reagan people were very frustrated.
In 1984 the party -- I can remember covering a story where the party said, well, we're sure Mondale won and we're pretty sure Gary Hart came in
second. But after that, we're not sure. Oh, my gosh. That just crushed John Glenn's hopes of becoming the Democratic nominee that year. So, every cycle
there's this controversy over how the results are reported, are they fraudulent.
And after 2000, as we all know, the sanctity of the ballot and the veracity of American elections has become a major issue and even more so after 2016
and the Russian intervention.
So, this is -- this rap on Iowa has been out here for a long time, it's been controversial and I think this is the thing that tips it over the
edge, the frustrations that Democrats have with other states. They've always been jealous, there's been criticism about the lack of diversity.
There's been complaints from other candidates when they don't do well, you know, they blame Iowa. And I think the cumulative effect of all of that is
going to be to put heavy pressure on the Democratic Party anyway to do away with their caucus system as we know it and move to a primary.
AMANPOUR: OK. OK. Well, that's interesting. And just to remind everybody - - because you did mention Gary Hart who basically was put on the map by the Iowa Caucus. But even before that he put Iowa on the map when he was
campaign manager in 1972 for George McGovern. And I've just recently been speaking to him ahead of this caucus to tell us the grand history of what
made Iowa so important as the first in the nation and he sort of laid it out. So, I think it's a good idea just to remind everybody why it became
this touchstone. Listen to what Gary Hart told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY HART, FORMER U.S. SENATE DEMOCRAT: An expert told me that there were caucuses in Iowa, no one paid any attention to them. So, I said, we're
going to compete in those caucuses against Senator Muskie. And in that competition, grassroots, volunteer-based, Senator McGovern came out very
well and positioned himself as a credible candidate going in to New Hampshire and thereafter, the Iowa Caucuses were first in the nation
instead of New Hampshire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, presto, that's what made Iowa, you know, so sort of proud of being so important in this process. But I guess, you know, what a lot of
people are asking, you just mentioned the Russian intervention, interference, et cetera. We remember what happened in Florida in 2000 with
the hanging chads.
What can people take away, you know, from a practical level? It is apparently this app that was created for the tabulation that apparently --
I mean, you know more about this than I do. What -- did they not do any practice or training on this? What were they thinking when they introduced
this new app?
YEPSEN: Well, they were thinking it would speed the process, but the app apparently was poorly designed, wasn't adequately tested and it actually
complicated the process. The process was so complicated, reporting three pieces of results of information as opposed to just one, how many delegates
you want, which is the way they've done it in the past.
They're trying to report the initial preferences of people, the preferences after they lined up to pick delegates and then how many delegates they
want. And this is in 2,000 places. They're trying to aggregate this data and it just got too complicated. They've had problems with this in the past
and it just -- all the best intentions of the world, just imploded. And they may come up with a count.
There's going to be, I think, litigation over this, whether the numbers can be believed. You know, I think they can be believed, but they aren't coming
in a timely fashion. What you win in an Iowa Caucus is media attention and momentum. And that helps you raise money to stay in later contests. If you
lose, the process windows the field. Well, we've just put all that on hold.
And so, now, the worst thing that can happen is rumors, any windows, all these conspiracy theories that just infiltrate our politics today are alive
and well out here and on the internet as people speculate about who did what and how the votes really were. So, even when the party introduces the
results, I think there will be a lot of people that won't accept them. And the country is just tired of it.
AMANPOUR: And that's very scary, when established politicians don't accept the results or when their supporters don't accept it, that is really
heightening to really chaos.
So, very quickly, I've got one last question to ask you. Apparently, the Nevada Caucus is closely modelled on the Iowa Caucus. It will happen,
obviously, after the New Hampshire primary. Do you think there they're rethinking how they're going to hold their caucus or do something
YEPSEN: I would imagine they are, and I don't know how much time they have to put something together. The Democrats here have worked on this for
years. But it certainly will add to the momentum in the Democratic Party to get rid of these caucuses everywhere and go to a primary.
AMANPOUR: Which is quite sad, isn't it? Because that is where people actually can be shown to be doing the Democratic work. But as you pointed
out, there are these flaws and we'll see what happens.
David Yepsen, thank you very, very much for joining me.
And I've also been speaking to David Axelrod, who was the senior adviser to President Obama about whether Iowa still matters as much.
David Axelrod, welcome to the program.
DAVID AXELROD, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thanks, Christiane. Good to be with you.
AMANPOUR: Now, in all the things you've seen, have you ever seen this kind of a mess?
AXELROD: This is beyond anything I could imagine. You know, Iowa for me personally, provided the purest moment of joy I ever experienced in
politics, which was the night that Barack Obama won the Iowa Caucuses. It propelled him to the presidency. And the whole Iowa experience was a joy
for those of us who were associated with that campaign. And it's heartbreaking to see the system break down as it did yesterday.
But what's worse is how they've handled it. My -- you know, things happen. There's no excuse for the systemic breakdown that they experienced. But
worse has been -- you know, they implemented that system in the name of transparency and they have not -- they could not have been less transparent
about what was going on. They clearly were overwhelmed and they just weren't upfront about their problems. So, everyone was left in the dark
about what was going on. And I think that, as much as the problem itself, contributed to a sense of something profoundly wrong.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I know the Democratic Party in Iowa has said no. But do you think there's any chance? You know, people are really scared in this
country and around the world, frankly, of interference from abroad, ala 2016 from a foreign hostile power, ala Russia. Do you think there's any
indication or concern that people should have on that level?
AXELROD: Well, look, that's the first thing -- that's the first place people's minds race to and there are people -- you know, certainly the
president and some of his -- the folks around him want to stir that pot and create a sense of distrust and -- about the process. And that's tragic,
because this is a sort of foundational institution of our democracy, the vote.
And so -- you know, but I take them at their word. They've got paper backup of everything that happened. So, they ought to be able to verify their
results. I take them at their word that this was purely a mechanical breakdown and not one that was induced from the outside. But, you know,
you've had campaigns, the bidden campaign most notably, suggesting that they wanted to be able to evaluate the results before they were released,
sort of vaguely hinting, darkly hinting that there might be something wrong with the count. All of these things are really damaging to people's sense
of confidence about the system. And I think that's a bigger problem than this -- than who won and loss in Iowa on Monday.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, so this is really interesting because, obviously, in the past and including to your candidate, Barack Obama in '08, Iowa, since '72
has been a barometer for the Democratic Party, a launching pad for the next one in New Hampshire.
So, do you think that this position that Iowa holds could be compromised? I mean, people are already saying, hey, it's quirky, it's, you know, not
representative, not -- you know, of the country given the demographics and the lack of diversity and the rural, urban, et cetera, and not even
representative of the Democratic Party. Do you think people are going to say, come what may, that this is a contest that either should be abolished
or completely rethought?
AXELROD: Yes, I think the Iowa Caucuses are dead as we know them. The Iowa Caucuses have been a target -- I mean, I like the process because I think
it's a place where candidates can come and interact with people in a very intimate way, which is something that is not true for the rest of the
process, you know, by the large.
I mean, New Hampshire has some of that quality, some of the other earlier states. But this is a place where people come. Barack Obama spent 87 days
in Iowa in 2007, and if he hadn't, I don't think he would have been president of the United States. But he had real interaction with people on
a daily basis in an intimate way, which is really important.
That said, this has been a target for a very long time. There is no way that Iowa can sustain its stats now in my view. I think the system is going
to look different. And my hope is that they'll find another way to have a discreet smaller venue where candidates can come and actually interact with
people. Otherwise, you know, we're going to go to a system of landing on tarmacs and making canned speeches. That's not a very satisfying part of
AMANPOUR: To that end, it worked very, very, very well for president trump in 2016, because he did land, if I'm not mistaken, on, you know, Trump
airways and had rallies and they weren't necessarily small hand-shaking things like the caucuses are and he did very well.
As you point out, the White House, the president, his digital campaign manager, they're all crowing over what happened.
AMANPOUR: And as you also pointed out, the candidates, the Democratic candidates are -- you know, you pointed out bidden who is, you know,
casting aspersions on the actual caucus result. What does that mean psychologically, first between the president and his Democratic
challengers, and for the Democrats going forward?
AXELROD: Well, look, first of all, Iowa generally has provided some clarity about where the race was going, the results -- we may know the
results and the results may do that to some degree. One of the reasons the bidden campaign, I think, was so eager to question the results is that
every indication was it was going to be a very bad night for them in Iowa.
One of the reasons Pete Buttigieg went out and claimed victory was because he was counting on Iowa to catapult him forward. But both of those effects
are going to be muted. So, that's one thing. I mean, you know, there is less clarity than we thought there would be after Iowa. But it also -- I
think psychologically, this was a victory for the president because it creates a sense of chaos within the Democratic Party, a party that doesn't
have its act together and, you know, he likes that contrast.
Now, I will say, no one would have predicted what happened last night and there will be 100 intervening events between now and next November that we
can't foresee that will help shape that election, so that we're sitting here at the beginning of February. That's an eternity between now and
November. But at this juncture, the president got a very positive, for him, gallop poll rating today, 49 percent. That's the highest he's ever been.
He's going to be acquitted tomorrow. He's got his State of the Union tonight and he'll be triumphful, I'm sure, and will use that to his
advantage. This is a good stretch for him and we'll see where it goes from there.
AMANPOUR: OK. I think that's really important to focus on. And as you said, the latest poll apparently puts him ahead of President Obama at this
stage in his presidency, which is pretty significant given he hasn't really managed to, you know, break the 50 percent popularity, you know, throughout
his presidency, even though the economy is going well and it's working for him. So, I think you're right to point out that this is a very important
moment for President Trump.
You know, you just said he'll be able to paint the Democrats as not having their act together. Do they have their act together? And even before the
Iowa results come out, do you see any realignment or alignment of where the Democrats are headed into New Hampshire?
AXELROD: No, I don't think that there -- I had thought that if bidden did well in Iowa that he would very likely be the Democratic nominee. I think
there's much less certainty about that. You know, there were some indications that he did very, very poorly among young voters, which -- so,
you know, he can dismiss the results, but he can't ignore the symptom because that is something that he faces moving forward. You can't get low
single digits among young voters and be successful, either in a primary fight or the general.
I think in some way Mike Bloomberg was a big winner of Monday's chaos because he is counting on a muddled picture coming out of the first four
contests into what we call Super Tuesday when 14 states are going to vote. He's advertising heavily there. He's got unlimited resources. And he is
hoping to offer himself as an alternative to a muddled race.
Bernie Sanders apparently did well in Iowa. He is built to last in this race because he's got a very devoted group of followers who keep giving him
small donations every month that add up to a lot of money. So, he'll have the resources to continue.
For Buttigieg, he was robbed of what would have been a very big moment and a big fundraising moment last night. Amy Klobuchar apparently had a decent
night, but will not get as much benefit out of it. Warren wanted to have a good story out of Iowa. She won't have that and has to double down in New
Hampshire. So, you know, it is a muddled picture moving forward.
But as I said, you know, the one lesson that I've learned in this modern media environment is that every day is a new day and every hour is a new
And so, we shall see what transpires from here forward. But right at this moment, the Democratic Party is not in the position that it wants to be in
facing a resurgent president.
AMANPOUR: I just want to finally ask you, I spoke to Nobel Laureate, the economist called Krugman yesterday who said ahead of what he thought would
be clarity from the Iowa Caucus, immediate clarity, he said, it doesn't matter. All you Democratic voters who are anxious about what you should
cast your vote for and who will be electable against President Trump, don't worry. If you're Bernie supporters, he's not going to be able to do all the
so-called radical things that he claims to do. If you're a Biden supporter, don't worry, he's not a Republican light when it comes to economic policy.
And he's just saying all Democrats need to get behind whoever the candidate and the nominee is.
Do you think, from what you see, the Democratic Party, the Democratic people, will do that?
AXELROD: That's a big question. I agree with his basic premise, which is that the system has its limitations. And so, some of the ideas that most
trouble people about -- or thrill them about Bernie Sanders are unlikely to become actual policy. He -- all the Democrats would be driving in a more
progressive direction. But the question is, depending on the outcome, will the supporters of the vanquished candidates come to the polls?
One of the things we've seen is President Trump and his team trying to drive discord within the Democratic Party, particularly aimed at the Bernie
voters. The president keeps tweeting here trying to cheat Bernie out of the nomination. And the goal, I think, is, you know, they'll have a much less
sympathetic view of Bernie Sanders if he's the nominee. But if he's not, they want to take the alienated Bernie voters off the playing field and
give them a sense of disinvestment in the Democratic nominee.
And so, there's a danger there, you know. But -- and what Democrats are counting on is that antipathy toward Trump among Democrats is such that the
party will come together. I'm particularly concerned about these younger voters. If I were a strategist for the presidential candidate, you know, if
they are deeply invested in a candidate like Bernie Sanders and he doesn't become the nominee, will they stay at the table? Will they participate in
the election? That is a big question and we don't know the answer. But I know this. Donald Trump and his team will be doing everything he can using
all of their digital toolkit to try and drive voters not to the polls, but away from the polls if they're going to vote Democratic.
AMANPOUR: It's really fascinating and it just got even more interesting.
David Axelrod, thank you so much for joining us.
AXELROD: Great to be with you.
AMANPOUR: So much at stake. And of course, as we heard, Iowa is not exactly representative of the nation or the Democratic Party, especially
when it comes to diversity. And nor is an important contest of a very different kind, the Oscars which are happening on Sunday night.
All but one of this year's best actor and actress nominees are white. And not one woman is nominated for the best director category. This follows
last Sunday's BAFTA ceremony in Britain, it is the British Oscars, where actor, Joaquin Phoenix, used his acceptance speech for best actor in the
"Joker" to call out systemic racism in the film industry, and even the BAFTA president, Prince William, called out the lack of diversity. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM ARTHUR PHILIP LOUIS WINDSOR, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: In 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again
about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process. That simply cannot be right in this day and age.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Here to discuss, our Nischelle Turner, she is co-host of "Entertainment Tonight", and the British lawyer and activist, Shola Mos
Welcome, both of you, to the program.
NISCHELLE TURNER, HOST, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Can I just ask both of you, first of all, Nischelle and then Shola, what do you make when you hear Prince William saying that publicly?
And, of course, Joaquin Phoenix using his award and acceptance speech to talk about the same. How much affect does that have? Nischelle first.
TURNER: Well, I automatically go to a conversation that Ava DuVernay and I had not too long ago where she said, it's not just important to have allies
in the fight for racial equality and especially representation in Hollywood as well. It's important to have accomplices, so people who are going to be
with you when you are trying to, I guess, enact the heist, is what she calls it, when you're really trying to make change and you feel like you
need to snatch it.
And when you hear people like Prince William and you hear Joaquin Phoenix use their platforms to speak so eloquently about the need for diversity and
inclusion and saying, we have failed in so many ways, we have to do better. I think it does go a long way. I mean, we're having honest and raw
conversations right now that really scare a lot of people. But when you see people who, you know, you respect who are out in the forefront right now
and doing that, then sometimes it makes the pathway a little easier to have these conversations.
AMANPOUR: So, Shola, you saw, you watched the BAFTAs, and as we've been sort of saying, it's kind of a prelude to the Oscars. Well, what do you
think? Do you think, as Nischelle said, that those statements will change minds or is there more that needs to be done?
SHOLA MOS SHOGBAMIMU, LAWYER AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST: I agree with Nischelle's statement that it's absolutely important to have allies. But
the important thing here to note is I actually do not think it's going to make a real difference. The reason for this is because this is not the
first time we've had this, right. We're going to have it again in the very near future.
Diversity, we have to be cautiously intentional about diversity and I see no conscience intention amongst those who have the power to bring about
change. If you actually speak to black people and ethnic minorities, not just in the film industry, but in different industries who have achieved
some form of success, they will tell you that they've had to work five times as hard as their white counterparts, not because their work isn't
outstanding, but to be visible. Because how can you acknowledge our work if you don't see us? And if you don't see us --
I mean, you hear some people say, I don't see color. But if you don't see color, you don't see me. If you don't see me, you don't see color. And the
reason for this is because of indifference. Indifference is a subtle undermining pervasive behavior that is symptomatic of the culture of racism
in the U.K. and the U.S.
Indifference is why the climate activist, Vanessa Nakate, was cropped out of the picture with four other white girls, including Greta Thunberg. You
know, indifference is why the BBC continues to mistake one black person for another black person as they did with Kobe Bryant and Lebron James and they
just did with female black MP, Dawn Butler, and another female black MP, Marsha de Cordova.
So, it begs the question, what exactly are we doing in our society? Because indifference, when translated into action, feeds the toxicity of
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me ask you then from your perspective, both of you, is that why most of the controversy in this field now centers around the
actors and actresses, in other words, those who are the visible face of these films and of movie world, and the fact that not one out of the 20 who
were nominated for BAFTAs was a person of color? I guess why is it so important that it's actors and actresses?
TURNER: Well, I think they're the --
SHOGBAMIMU: I supposed in the --
TURNER: Go ahead, Shola. I'll give that to you and then I'll follow up.
SHOGBAMIMU: OK. So, what I was going to say is this, right, I suppose people will immediately go to the main categories to get them to be the
face of change, and should they wish to, they can. But I think that takes away the real issue as to the people that make the nominations in the first
So, if the members that make the nominations in the BAFTA or Oscars are predominantly male, pale and stale, I promise you we're not going to have
any change. They're going to continue to see what they want to see. They're not going to be diverse. There will be no real, you know, pool of talent
for them to draw from when there's actually talent out there.
AMANPOUR: OK. So -- Nischelle, go ahead.
TURNER: Well, just to kind of piggy back on what Shola was saying, I think she's spot-on in a lot of ways. I think the academy has been saying, we are
trying to correct that problem behind-the-scenes and in our voting pool. They have, you know, brought in I think 3,000 new members, a lot of them
much more diverse, much younger. It didn't reflect in this year's nominations, which is a little shocking to me.
They're saying that they're working to it. I don't think there's anybody who will say that the problem has been fixed. I don't think there's anybody
who will say that conversations still don't need to be had and change still needs to be made. Especially the nominees and actors themselves. I just sat
down with Cynthia Erivo who is the lone person nominated in the acting category this year, and she said listen, I'm very happy about the
nomination but it's bittersweet because now I feel like I have to represent for all of my brothers and sisters who deserve nominations.
Just like Joaquin was saying, there are so many people who are being looked over at the BAFTAs, feel like they won't belong in this room.
And we are doing that to them by not opening our arms to inclusion.
MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: That's right.
TURNER: I mean, just a simple thing like Denzel Washington, who is arguably one of the best actors in the world and the best actor of our
generation, never been nominated for a BAFTA, never in his entire career.
AMANPOUR: So, let me play what Joaquin did actually say and use that platform to say something, as we have been alluding to. And then we will
talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOAQUIN PHOENIX, ACTOR: I think that we send a very clear message to people of color that you're not welcome here. I think that's a message that
we're sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So he then went on to say: "I haven't done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive"
And you know Frances McDormand has put that out when she last accepted her Oscar, that, actually, it's up to the most powerful in Hollywood or in
Britain or whatever to use their power to swing that pendulum.
What do you expect?
I mean, Shola, Britain is 86 percent white, 86 percent. America is somewhere like 60 percent-plus white.
AMANPOUR: I mean, what about people who say, hang on a second, you know, we are in fact representing the makeup of the country?
MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: First of all, I will say, my response to that would be that's an inaccurate and obtuse response to the issue of diversity,
because, at the end of the day the ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom form a critical, valued contribution to our economy and the very state of
So, no, it is not representative of the population.
And I would also say this. I mentioned earlier that diversity has to be consciously intentional. What I found really profound from what Joaquin
Phoenix said is that there needs to be collective and individual responsibility.
But what he was saying is what black people and the ethnic minorities have been saying for the longest time. I'm just hoping that the fact that it's
coming out of Joaquin Phoenix's mouth, a white man, that it will have some kind of impact.
We have been saying that, look, the system is just structurally wrong. It's not open enough for us with talent to be able to grow. And, for us, we have
So not only do we have to address the issue of the advantages that white privilege gives a certain section of society. We have to work five times as
hard to be visible. And when we are then visible, all kinds of derogatory words are used to describe us.
We are called aggressive. We are called too dominant. We are called too visible, and when we say, look, we're working our butts off here so that
our art and talent can actually continue to contribute to our society.
So I think there has to be individual responsibility. There has to be acknowledgment that white privilege itself does create a platform that
gives an advantage to a certain section of society over another. It's reality. It's not a lie.
AMANPOUR: So we saw what happened at the BAFTAs. We're waiting to see the results, although we know the nominations, at the Oscars.
Let me ask you, Nischelle, what about who say to people, well, you know what, it's not really diverse and diversity that makes money in Hollywood?
AMANPOUR: How do you answer that?
We saw how that was slapped in the face by the massive success of "Black Panther" and so many other films.
MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: Amen for that. That's right.
AMANPOUR: So how do you approach that sort of potential question or rational from people, the money people, who basically make the world go
round in your industry?
TURNER: Well, I would say, just look at the facts. In 2019, 31 of the top 100 grossing films in Hollywood were led by non-black actors.
So that's a third. And it could be more. But that's a third of the top- grossing films. So when they say diversity doesn't matter, diversity doesn't pay and that minority actors don't sell, it's just a myth.
I mean, the facts show it. That's up, you know, 15 percent over last year, and I think something like 150 percent over 10 years. So, when they say
that people don't spend money when the actors are of color, it's just wrong. It's just flat-out wrong.
MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: It's wrong.
AMANPOUR: And also women. I mean, look at Greta Gerwig, just to take that film "Little Women," all about women, by a woman director, written by a
woman, the book. It's a massive success.
AMANPOUR: But, just finally, I want to play what Spike Lee told me when I asked him about this issue last time I interviewed him.
And, again, he's sort of saying what you're all saying, it has to happen also behind the scenes, but right up in the executive suite. So just take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: Here's the tricky thing. In order for this to continue and not be a trend, diversity has to go to -- at the echelon of --
you know what I'm talking about -- the gatekeepers, because they're the people that decide what we're making and what we're not making.
AMANPOUR: So you mean the heads of studios?
LEE: Yes, yes. They decide, every quarter, quarterly meetings, what we're making and what we're not. And unless we're in the room, it's going to be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: OK, I want to ask both of you, starting with you, Nischelle, what is it going to take? Where does the pressure come on the gatekeepers,
if Spike is right?
TURNER: Well, I think it's things, number one, like the inclusion rider.
You mentioned Frances McDormand. We heard her talk about that last year. Michael B. Jordan, who is an actor and producer in Hollywood, is the first
actor to have a huge studio use the inclusion rider, which means that the behind-the-scenes employees have to be inclusive and have a certain
percentage of minorities on their staff.
They used that with "Just Mercy," his film. And that's the first time that a major studio has used that. And the actors on that said, we were shocked.
Brie Larson said, I have never had a black makeup person. I have never had a black wardrobe department.
That was really shocking to me. And I felt like, what have we been doing?
So I think when we just see images and enact those things, then people start to open their eyes, because a lot of times, like Shola was saying, if
you can't see us, then you don't even know. Like, ignorance is bliss in a lot of ways.
MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: That's right.
AMANPOUR: Shola, in the U.K., what is it going to take to bash down those gates?
MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: I think it's really important that we recognize that, for us to get diversity to be a reality, it truly has to be a demonstration of
And that means from political will to capital will to social will. It's so important for us to be able to say, as individuals, we call it out when we
I would say, for instance, to black people and ethnic minorities, this is not the time to suffer in silence, right? It's 2020. Call it out when you
see it. If there's something you need, you make it happen.
I loved the section of Joaquin Phoenix's speech where he said that it's those who have created and perpetrated the system that needs to dismantle
it. But understand that black people and ethnic minorities are not waiting around for white people to get their act together.
We're going to keep pushing forward. We are going to keep pushing and be visible. We're going to keep creating brilliant movies, like the "Panther"s
and actually disrupting and breaking down barriers.
The question for people out there is, do you want to be an ally? Do you want to be part of this change that will truly bring the diversity in terms
of the economics, the commercial success, that we can achieve together, or do you want to be on the other side?
Yes, and just to make one comment, the one award that was the people's choice award at the BAFTAs, guess what, went to a young black up-and-coming
newcomer. And every single year, it has gone to a young black or a person of color in Great Britain.
AMANPOUR: So, the people are seeming to be ahead of the gatekeepers.
AMANPOUR: I only have time for one more question, and that is, in the United States, Nischelle, only 12 black actresses ever have been nominated
for best Oscar, right?
AMANPOUR: And almost all of those roles are, you know, women of poverty, involved in all sorts of suffering, civil rights, whatever, even Cynthia
And "Harriet" is fantastic and she plays this unbelievable Harriet Tubman. But there is an issue with the roles they're given, too.
TURNER: Yes, I mean, I think you're right, although I will say I look at Harriet Tubman as a modicum of strength and courage and performance and
will and the ultimate queen of African-American women.
So I don't really look at her in that same way. I understand exactly what you're talking about, but there is an issue with roles. I mean, Taraji P.
Henson, at 40-something years old, was just given her first lead in a romantic comedy last year.
And that shows you. A lot of times, people of color, especially black women, aren't seen as the standard of beauty or aren't seen as what the
masses are attracted to.
MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: That's right.
TURNER: So they aren't given the opportunity for these roles.
And a lot of times, we have seen these women write their own roles, produce their own films, make their own way, AKA, Mindy Kaling, who said, if
Hollywood is not going to come to me, I'm going to kick the door in myself.
AMANPOUR: Right. All right.
MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: That's right.
AMANPOUR: Well, I think our viewers have seen a great representation of that from you two ladies.
TURNER: It's an honor, Christiane, to be with you.
AMANPOUR: Nischelle and Shola, thank you so much.
MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much for being with me.
TURNER: Thank you.
MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And now we're going to return to CNN's continuing coverage of the Iowa caucuses with my colleagues Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper, who are
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: ... New Hampshire, who just have a week to decide, obviously are -- are looking and considering
this as well, the State of the Union address tonight.
So, still a split-screen here from Iowa, Wolf.
But the question will be, are we able to determine where these votes are coming from at 5:00 p.m.?
(CNN U.S. SIMULCAST)