PoliticsNation, Thursday, December 11th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: December 11, 2014
Guest: Jimmy Williams; Angela Rye
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: That`s "the Ed Show." I`m Ed
Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.
Good evening, Rev.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. Have a great
weekend, I will tell the marchers you couldn`t be there because of family
SCHULTZ: That`s true family business, brother, thank you.
SHARPTON: Thank you, Ed. And thanks to you for tuning in.
Where we start tonight with breaking news in Washington. Senator Elizabeth
Warren and House Democrats leading a dramatic fight to stop a giveaway to
the big banks. Tonight, just six hours before potential government
shutdown, a GOP attempt to ram through a spending bill that guts the Dodd-
Frank financial reform, has stalled.
Right now, House Democrats are meeting behind closed doors to discuss the
bill. It`s been a wild day. This morning, Speaker Boehner said he was
confident he had the votes, and he dismissed concerns about Wall Street
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Why should big banks be able to trade
derivatives and have their risks covered by us, the taxpayers? Why should
they be able to do that?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don`t believe that to be
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: It`s no. Was the provision taken out of
BOEHNER: I don`t believe that your description of this is the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But then, House Democrats united to nearly derail the bill from
even getting to the floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAVID PRICE (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Blow a major hole in the Dodd-Frank
bill, putting taxpayers on the hook for some of the riskiest behavior of
Wall Street institutions.
REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D), OHIO: Haven`t those mega banks hurt America enough?
And what is this doing in this bill?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: What is it doing on an
appropriations bill, except to be -- have this bill be taken hostage. This
is a ransom. This is blackmail. You don`t get a bill unless Wall Street
gets its taxpayer coverage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Because of that opposition, Speaker Boehner has delayed a vote,
while he tries to scrounge around for some votes. At the center of this
fight, a deregulation measure that would let big banks place risky bets and
put taxpayers on the hook for another bail-out if those bets went wrong.
Today Senator Warren, who first issued a call to arms, was back at it
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: This fight isn`t about
conservatives or liberals. It`s not about Democrats or Republicans. It`s
about money. If big companies can deploy their armies of lobbyists and
lawyers to get Congress to vote for special deals that benefit themselves,
then we will simply confirm the view of the American people, that the
system is rigged.
Nobody sent us here to stand up here for Citigroup. I urge my Republican
colleagues in the House to withhold their support from this package until
this risky giveaway is removed from the legislation. It is time for all of
us to stand up and fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Tonight the White House says it would support the bill out of
concern that Republicans will pass an even worse package if it fails.
Either way, the government needs funding in the next six hours or it will
NBC`s Luke Russert has been covering this story all day on Capitol Hill.
Luke, what`s happening right now?
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, Reverend, the House
democratic caucus is meeting to figure out what is going to be their next
steps exactly. And that meeting was called by Maxine Waters, the ranking
member on the house financial services committee. She`s been an outspoken
critic of this bill.
She had some very interesting words. She said that she will oppose anybody
lobbying for this bill. You know who is one person lobbying for it,
Reverend Al? President Obama. As well as Harry Reid. So we have just a
very interesting dynamic now on Capitol Hill.
We have Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren holding the line against not only
the House GOP leadership, but President Obama and Harry Reid who like this
bill because they believe it`s the best thing they can have before the GOP
has more of a large majority coming in the next year.
We`ve never seen this type of democratic fighting before on a spending bill
this late in the process, especially when you only have six hours until the
government runs out of money.
Make no mistake about it, though, I want to talk about Elizabeth Warren,
who you brought up there.
RUSSERT: We often talk about the power that Ted Cruz has in the house
Republican conference. Elizabeth Warren, showing that if she joins Nancy
Pelosi, not only does she have a lot of power in the house Democratic
coverage but their caucus, but her message is also resonating deeply.
I spoke to a lot of House Democrats today, Reverend, who used terms about
Wall Street. I`ve not heard them use. That Wall Street were villains,
that Wall Street had stolen from the people, that Wall Street had gotten
fat while everybody had gotten poor, almost sort of wondering where this
was ahead of the mid terms. Well, it seems that the liberals who made it
through these mid terms who survived, they want to fight, they want to
fight on this ground about economic inequality and it`s something they`ll
go to the 11th hour on right now ahead of a shutdown.
SHARPTON: But the politics of this certainly can be very interesting. How
many Democratic votes does the Republican need, that the speaker need to
RUSSERT: I just spoke to a GOP aide, and they said that at a minimum, they
probably need about 50 Democratic votes. Be more secure if they`d had 60
or 70. If Nancy Pelosi thought this bill was OK, they could have it in a
second. She is the best whip counter there is on Capitol Hill.
Unfortunately for them, for the Republicans, they don`t have that right
now. So they`re struggling in a holding pattern, and waiting to see what
will happen out of this meeting.
But if you think about the 200 or so Democrats they have in the caucus, the
fact they can`t get to 40 or 50, really shows the power of Warren and
Pelosi wing right now, especially when there is an all-out White House
lobbying effort. I mean, I talked to members who are getting calls from
all sorts of White House officials, telling them to go forward on this.
The White House likes this not only because they fund Obamacare, gives them
money to go after ISIS, gives them money for Ebola. But there is a lot of
priorities they feel are best protected through the rest that has for the
next fiscal year. The house Democrats don`t care, they want to fight about
Dodd-Frank, and they want to fight now.
SHARPTON: You`re saying the White House is saying that they would get a
worse bill when the Republicans take over in January. But the fact is that
the government would not shut down. They do have a plan b in case they
don`t get the votes, isn`t that right?
RUSSERT: Sure. The backup plan was they would have something that lasts
maybe a week, so they could pass tonight maybe it is a few days. And then
next week, they would come back and rally (ph) do a plan that lasts three
months and goes nearly far of next year. Some Democrats say that`s fine
because then what we can fight on turf that`s favorable to us. We might
not get all these things that we want. But Republicans have had an awful
hard time getting to 218 on a bill that fund the government. But the White
House doesn`t want to take that risk because they got so much they feel in
the spending that goes through September, Reverend.
SHARPTON: NBC`s Luke Russert, thank you for your reporting tonight.
RUSSERT: Take care.
SHARPTON: Joining me now, Angela Rye and Jimmy Williams.
Angela, you worked on Capitol Hill for a long time. This is an
extraordinary day there. Give me your view.
ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Well, Rev., it seems like deja vu,
though. We were just in this situation last year, trying to avert a
shutdown, to no avail. A couple of weeks ago, we were talking about how
speaker Boehner`s legacy was that he didn`t want to be the shutdown
speaker. Yet, here we are again. And I think the main thing that we are
seeing is the fact that there are people in both parties that one, may not
support this measure. On the Republican side, it is because they want to
do all they can to protest President Obama`s executive actions for
immigration. And on the other side, you have folks that are saying,
listen, we grave wall street enough breaks. It is time-out for that.
And one thing that I haven`t heard a lot of reporting on today, but it just
as important, is the spending, the campaign finance regulations that would
change, that would ensure that big-party donors can give even more to the
DNC and the RNC. That is just as troubling. That is telling the American
people that you pay to play, period. And I think it`s just as egregious if
not more so than these challenges to the Dodd-Frank act and what they`re
trying to gut.
SHARPTON: We`ve just been told that White House chief of staff Dennis
McDonough is in that meeting on Capitol Hill of the democratic caucus.
Jimmy, tell me what this means about the power of the progressive caucus in
the house and the Senate and Elizabeth Warren.
JIMMY WILLIAMS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It means they`re emboldened. I think
it`s wonderful. I mean, look, I worked in the Senate for almost seven
years. And if Dennis McDonough is having to go and bow down before the
House Democratic caucus to try to get them the vote for a bill, which by
the way, is John Boehner`s bill -- where are his people! This is a
Republican-led house. Why can`t they get their own people to vote?
I`ll tell you why. Because they think the bill stinks too. And so, what
this means is you now have a circling in the back. You have progressives
and tea partiers who are actually agreeing on something. When did you ever
think that was going to happen in our lifetime? But here we are, a week,
you know, two weeks before Christmas.
There`s something big going on here. Elizabeth Warren is flexing her
muscle. And no, this does not mean she`s running for president. But what
it does mean, this is a shot across the bow, not of moderates, by the way,
but of saying to the White House, you cannot, under any circumstances allow
for these kinds of special provisions.
Angela talked about the campaign finance thing. There`s a provision in
this bill that allows long haul truckers to sleep less and drive longer?
Does anyone actually think that is good for America`s people that are
driving on the roads during the holidays?
There`s a massive give-away to the mining industry on this bill. None of
these provisions have been debated. None of these provisions -- why can`t
they pass them under regular order? And that`s why Warren and company are
so ticked off. And they have a right to be. This bill stinks.
SHARPTON: Now, Angela, the argument on the other side, Luke Russert is
telling us, is that there are things like Obamacare money for fight against
Ebola, money against ISIS or to fight against ISIS. Those are some of the
things in the bill. Are those the things the moderates are trying to say
on both sides, or at least on the democratic side, that they`re worth
trying to say?
RYE: I think that you don`t just even have moderates saying that. I think
that you have more progressive leaning folks, the liberals and the
Democratic Party also supporting those things.
But Rev., here`s the problem. This is a procedural issue. And again,
we`ve talked about this ad nauseum (ph), because this is the main way in
which Republicans have tried to legislate under the Republican majority in
the house, under President Obama. And that is to say, we`re not going to
go to committee and have a mark-up on legislation. We`re going to sneak
provisions in a bill that has not had the opportunity to be heard by
committee, the folks who are, you know, the policy experts on this issue.
We`re going to just slide them in there.
These are spending measures, Rev. It is called (INAUDIBLE) now because
it`s a continuing resolution, matched with an omnibus. The continuing
resolution is punishment for the president pushing the executive action on
immigration forward and it`s a short-term funding measure for DHS. So that
when they get to February and March, they can try to defund DHS and punish
them for allowing people who are living in the shadows to come out of the
I think we have to talk about these things fairly. Because if we continue
to provide an open door for Republicans to legislate in this way. This
isn`t what the president meant when he told them to pass a bill. They need
to fairly consider and debate a bill and not end the spending measures.
SHARPTON: And that`s a major point, Jimmy, that this is a spending
measure. This is not a bill that has been debated. They kind of snuck
this thing in which adds salt in the wound. But at the end of the day, and
I know we all love the fireworks and want to stand up. Is there any merit
to having the fear that when the Republicans gain more strength in January,
Jimmy, we could end up with worse? Is there any merit to that?
WILLIAMS: Bet on it, buddy. I mean, do you actually think that this
Republican Congress and the Republican -- what is the first vote that Mitch
McConnell has announced that he`s going to hand down when the Republicans
take the Senate in January? A vote to repeal Obamacare. How many times
did they do it in the last Congress and the house? Fifty times. Do you
think they`re going to do it in the house again? Bet on it.
There is -- if this White House, which I love, if they think for one second
that the Republicans are going to give the president anything at all, other
than not funding Obamacare, through 2016, then that is just a fool`s
SHARPTON: But that`s why they`re saying they want to see this bill. Is
that not the logic they`re using?
WILLIAMS: But you know what? This bill was going to have to pass anyway.
ISIS funding was going to have to pass anyway. Ebola funding was going to
have to pass anyway. Why? Because you have to pass these bills.
I don`t have a problem putting special interest provisions into these
appropriations bill and having those debated. I have a problem two weeks
before Christmas passing a CR and an omnibus all the same time and bribing
members to vote for this thing.
This is why America thinks Washington stinks. Because when you do this
kind of thing, it`s just malfunction in the government.
WILLIAMS: It`s bad.
SHARPTON: Angela, you were trying to get in.
RYE: Yes, I just think that the point that Jimmy raised is exactly why the
president and the White House is saying that we do need to go ahead and
take this measure. The problem is, rev., we`ve seen this play over and
over again. They were mad earlier because the president exercised too much
authority. They said that there were too many executive actions. He has
passed or signed the least number of executive orders in history as a
president. So there`s no win here.
And I just want them to say, listen, we want to work with you. There are
some great things in this measure. But the policy writers have to go out
to know that is really idealistic. And shame on me for being that way in
D.C., but I would love to see that happen out of this Congress so they
don`t take that very bad habit into next Congress.
WILLIAMS: Democrats should not bail.
SHARPTON: I`ve got to go. I feel there`s going to be a long night and
certainly it`s not going to be a boring night. Boehner cannot deliver his
caucus and he needs the president to try to help him talk to Democrats.
WILLIAMS: And why are we bailing them out? That`s the question.
SHARPTON: That`s the question.
Angela Rye and Jimmy Williams, thank you for your time tonight.
WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.
RYE: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead, the story rocking Hollywood tonight, leaked
emails reveal offensive jokes about President Obama.
Plus, House oversight chairman Darrell Issa has been chasing phony scandals
for years. But wait until you see how much it cost.
And it`s the age-old question. What exactly is in a chicken McNugget?
Tonight the wait is over. We know the answer. "Conversation nation" is
SHARPTON: He said President Obama is the most corrupt president in
history. Then he tried to walk that back. Darrell Issa stepping down as
the head of the investigative committee. Our farewell, next.
SHARPTON: It`s the Darrell Issa farewell tour. The house oversight
chairman, who promised to hold hundreds of hearings into the Obama
administration, is at the end of his tenure. He chased phony scandal after
phony scandal. And today we found out just how much it cost, $25 million.
Yes, the so-called party of fiscal responsibility blew $25 million on wild-
goose chases. What did he get in return for his investment? Nothing.
Zero. No White House scandals. No conspiracies. Nothing. But he liked
the spotlight even before he had the gavel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: He has been
one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.
Perjury is a criminal charge that has to be proven. But certainly it`s
hard to have confidence in what this attorney general says or his people
say, when so often it turns out not to be true.
You cannot believe what the White House says, what the spokespeople say,
and you cannot believe what the president says. We have a problem with you
and you have a problem maintaining your credibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Interesting. Four years and $25 million, and he`s asking that
question. Joining me now is Joe Madison.
Thank you for being here, Joe.
JOE MADISON, HOST, MORNINGS WITH MADISON: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: $25 million investment. Worth it, Joe?
MADISON: Where`s the tea party now? And understand what -- he`s been
rewarded with what? He`s now chairman of a judiciary subcommittee. So
he`s out there in Siberia. So in other words, Boehner has absolutely no
trust in this individual.
And that`s the bottom line. And he ruled primarily, and if you talk with
the ranking member, Elijah Cummings, often times, they never shared
information, witnesses that were not allowed, that the ranking member and
Democrats wanted to have come forth. He ran this thing with an iron hand -
SHARPTON: And was very disrespectful.
SHARPTON: Before going after the Obama administration, Congressman Issa
also attacked Democrats serving on his committee. We all remember this.
Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Mr. Chairman, I have a procedural
question. Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this. You just
cannot do this. This is -- we are better than that as a country. We`re
better than that as a committee. I have asked for a few minutes to -- now
you`re turning me off. The fact is that I am asking a question, I am a
ranking member of this committee, and I want to ask a question. What are
we hiding? What`s the big deal? May I ask my question? May I make my
ISSA: You`re all free to leave, we`ve adjourned, but the gentleman may ask
his question. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He cut the mike on congressman Elijah Cummings. That`s why I
said he was also disrespectful, Joe. I mean, have you ever seen anything
like this? Have you ever seen anything like this?
MADISON: No. Not since maybe the days of McCarthy. And I wasn`t old
enough to be around then. But the news reels certainly show almost similar
activity. And that`s why he was a pain to Boehner. Look, common sense
tells you, if he was effective in any way, he would be given a plum
assignment. He`s been assigned to Siberia. And let`s be honest about
this, his replacement is no better.
SHARPTON: But let me say this. I want to show you what we could have
spent 25 million bucks on. Head start for over 3,000 children a year.
School lunches for nearly 67,000 children a year. Pell grants for 4,428
students to be exact. I mean, what does this say about our priorities?
$25 million on nothing, on just witch-hunts that went nowhere.
MADISON: Can I change only one word? And that is, o-u-r. It`s not our
priorities, it`s the Republican party`s priorities. They knew he was
spending this money. Look, it doesn`t take four years to figure out you
don`t have anything. It`s their priorities. That`s what they do. And
that`s how they`re going to govern. And that`s why that midterm election
was so important, and now you can put dollars and cents with votes and see
exactly what`s happened. And what I`m afraid of, is that we`re going to
get the same thing. We just -- all we`re doing is playing musical chairs.
We are just changing the seat. That`s all.
SHARPTON: Well, very poor record and we won`t be sorry to see him leave
that investigative chair. We invited him on this show many times. He
Joe Madison, thank you for your time tonight.
MADISON: Well, thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, hacked e-mails reveal Hollywood power players
joking about President Obama.
Also, McDonald`s attempt to make McNuggets more appealing. Will which
video change public opinion?
But first, Senator Vitter makes a triumphant return to "Politics Nation" "I
SHARPTON: A brand new ship of Obamacare passengers is ready to set sail,
but it is not who you might think. Republican Senate staffers are going on
the affordable care act, thanks to their first mate senator David Vitter
who got a rule passed by fellow Republicans to require the change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: We were saying we and Washington should
live under Obamacare just like everybody else until it`s repealed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: David Vitter gets terribly just thinking about the health care
law. But actually, this is great news for Republicans staffers. Welcome
aboard. It is all smooth sailing from here. If you got a preexisting
condition, you are covered. If you have a kid under the age of 26, they
are covered. If you get sick, you can`t be kick off your plan, you are
covered. It is like having on a life-vest all the time.
Seventy-four percent of the newly insured are happy with their care. And
in the last three weeks, all the 1.3 million people have signed up for the
April sent on new customers. The health care law is working. Full-steam
ahead. So Republicans staffers, enjoy your trip.
Senator Vitter`s plan to throw staffers overboard has backed fire written
all over it. Nice try, but anchors away. We Got You.
SHARPTON: This week, lots of people have been talking about how one of the
biggest studios in Hollywood, Sony Pictures, was hacked with private e-
mails from top executives released to the world. Some e-mails reveal nasty
comments about Angelina Jolie and some others that are offensive jokes and
even offensive jokes about President Obama. One exchange sentence on the
President`s trip to LA last year during which he praised Hollywood for
promoting American values.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Hundreds of millions of people may
never set foot in the United States but thanks to you, they experience a
small part of what makes our country special.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But here`s what Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal and
Heavyweight Producer Scott Rudin e-mailed each other during the President`s
trip referring to an event President Obama was going to attend hosted by
another Hollywood heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg. Amy Pascal wrote, quote,
"What should I ask the President at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast?" Rudin
responded, quote, "Would he like to finance some movies." Pascal, "I doubt
it, should I ask him if he liked Django?" A reference to the movie "Django
Unchained." A movie about slavery before the civil war. Rudin, "12
Years," referring to the movie "12 Years of Slave." Pascal, "Or "The
Butler," or "Think Like A Man?" Rudin, "Ride-along, I bet he likes Kevin
Oh, I get it, the President is black, so he only likes black movies or
black comedians, is that really the logic of some of the most powerful
people and one of the most important industries in America, they were
trying to make a joke but it wasn`t funny. And it points to something very
serious. Just this morning, the nominees for the Golden Globe where
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Jennifer Aniston, "Cake." William H. Macy, "Shameless."
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher."
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Matthew McConaughey, "True Detective."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And so, it went on. All the nominees were deserving. But we
couldn`t help but notice, 64 of the nominees are white, only six of the
nominees are non-white. Clearly there`s a problem in Hollywood. And this
hacked e-mails have re-started the conversation about how to address it.
Joining me now is Allison Samuels from "The Daily Beast," thank you for
being here, Allison.
ALLISON SAMUELS, "THE DAILY BEAST": Hi, thank you for having me.
SHARPTON: Now, we just got in their apologies, Scott Rudin says, quote, "I
made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny but in the cold
light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive and not funny at
all to anybody I`ve offended. I`m profoundly and deeply sorry."
And Pascal says, "The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and
inappropriate and are not an accurate reflection of who I am. Although
this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full
responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was
And I released how offended I was about this Allison and I received a call
from Miss Pascal and I told her that I was very offended. Especially in
the context of the problem of race and I know a lot of the struggles of
blacks in Hollywood, she says, well maybe I can sit down and talked about
how we deal with it. I say you got a deal with this context and I`m not
sure where I am on your apology. What do you make of these e-mails and the
SAMUELS: It`s just amazing to me that people of that level, and the studio
system did not understand, that, you know, even if they though like that,
why would you put that in an email. In this day and time, everyone knows
how easy it is to hack an emails, so that surprise me first. But what`s
even more disturbing I think is this understanding that not only do they
not think of us when it`s time for a movie, they`re actually making jokes
about us. When they`re, you know, sort of putting deals together or
putting together projects. I guess that`s the part that upsets me so much.
And their apology is fine, but the proof is in the pudding, and the playing
is that, we`re not getting roles, we`re not getting jobs. They don`t
harass so that somebody could sort of regulate and say, hey, guys, let`s
have a different conversation, nobody is in that room to make that point to
SHARPTON: And are there any blacks at high levels of decision making in
Hollywood? Where are those with real power to trigger the deals, the
movies, the roles in Hollywood that are of the African-American or Latino
SAMUELS: They are the -- studio system and that`s why the conversation
doesn`t come up, that`s why there`s no discussion of how do you handle
things sensitively, how do you talk about these issues with sensitivity, no
one is there in that room to sort of force them to think twice before they
write an email or make a statement that may go public. I mean, I read
their apologies and I`m like, you know, particularly Scott Rudin who is
producing Chris Rock`s Top Five that comes out tomorrow. Chris Rock has
been all over the news the last couple of weeks talking about race.
SHARPTON: Well, let me go to that. Because I think that that is very
important and part of what needs to be really dealt with. Chris Rock just
wrote about his experience in the movie industry for the Hollywood
reporter, he wrote, quote, "I really don`t think there`s any difference
between what black audiences find funny and what white audience`s find
funny. But everyone likes to see themselves on screen. I can go a month
and not see a black woman have an actual speaking part in a movie." What`s
at the rooted this problem, Allison and what can we do to change it?
SAMUELS: Well, I think the real problem starts again. If you don`t have
people at the company who can bring up those names, who can say, let`s
consider Gabriel, let`s consider Nia Long, let`s consider, you know,
Carrie, for this role, if no one is there saying that to this people in the
room, it doesn`t occur to them to cast these people in roles. And if
they`re on the other side making jokes about what our first African-
American president likes in a movie, are they really focusing on, who
should we put on that role, I can really believe that that is something
they`re concern about. I love the apology but I just don`t know if it
really translate into action into sort of saying, we need to change the
system of Hollywood, Hollywood is a part of America and America has a raise
problem and I think Hollywood is a raise problem.
SHARPTON: And just making apologies don`t really deal with it, I mean, I
hope this conversations lead to something, you know, but I can`t help but
think of Sterling and others who apologized that yes, the statements were
more explicit but when you look at what the problems are in Hollywood, it
is blatant to me that needs to be some serious change.
SAMUELS: Definitely, I agree, I don`t know if it`s going to happen, I hope
what these emails and listed conversation and a dialogue begins about
sensitivity, how to handle it and when we`ll go next, that`s what I hope.
SHARPTON: Allison Samuels, thank you for your time tonight.
SAMUELS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, more leaked emails from Sony executives, and exec
calls Angelina Jolie a quote, "minimally talented spoiled brat."
Plus, the New York performer who got Prince William`s number. He`s here
and his story is inspirational. And let this be your warning. McDonald`s
serves up the secrets. A new video reveals how mcnuggets are made. Are
you loving it?
"Conversation Nation" is next.
SHARPTON: It`s time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight,
trial Attorney Seema Iyer. HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps and democratic
strategist Tara Dowdell. Thank you all for being here.
SEEMA IYER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thanks, Rev.
JOSH ZEPPS, HUFFPOST LIVE HOST: Thanks.
SHARPTON: We start with more hacked emails rocking Hollywood. This one
from Scott Rudin, an independent producer, not a Sony executive. In an e-
mail to the top Sony executive, Rudin says, Jolie is, quote, "minimally
talented spoiled brat." Today Rudin said in a statement that he apologized
for any injury he might have caused.
Seema, I`m guessing Mr. Rudin has a lot of explaining to do.
IYER: You think, Rev? Listen, I have not seen an Angelina Jolie movie
since she broke up Brad and Jen. I`ve still not gotten over that and I
think she --
ZEPPS: Still bearing grudges?
IYER: I am. I have never gotten over it. I will not comment on her
talent. However, despite how cray-cray the woman is, she`s a legitimate
humanitarian. And she has like what, 14 kids, they`re like the Rainbow
Coalition. So what else can we say bad about her, Rev?
SHARPTON: Well, I think that Scott found some things to say.
ZEPPS: I mean, I think we all know that the people who run these big
Hollywood industries are kind of douche bags, but I just didn`t realize
that they would such a misogynistic douche bag that they apparently are,
that they would, you know, people say, well, you know, people hacked into
your emails, what kind of things would they proceeded?
SHARPTON: Hack into yours for you to get --
IYER: No, because he`s hacked, he`s hacked.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
ZEPPS: I`m going to be saying something like that.
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I`ve always told Josh, this is a
SHARPTON: Meaning, family.
DOWDELL: Right. Exactly.
SHARPTON: We don`t tell kids word --
DOWDELL: Well, this is agent role in marketing. This is what I tell my
clients. This is what every marketing professional says. Do not put
anything in writing that you wouldn`t want to see in the front page of any
IYER: Bravo. Role number one in marketing.
SHARPTON: Especially if it reflects some things that the whole Hollywood
colony has not dealt it like I`ve been saying about the emails that refer
to race. But I think that it also aside from the race issue, which I think
has to be dealt with, it also talks about how they feel about some of the
artist that makes them a lot of money. That`s part of what this Jolie
DOWDELL: Right. And that`s the thing, you don`t want to be, it`s one
thing, unfortunately it seems like black people, we become this major
punching bag recently. We`ve always been, but it`s much more out in the
open now I feel like, than it`s been in the past, recent past, I should
say. But the thing about this is, you don`t want to take on other really
wealthy people that can take you on a lot harder.
ZEPPS: I really think the worst stuff here is the racial stuff. Where
he`s talking about Obama and they`re going back and forth. There`s an
exchange where they`re saying, oh, what is Obama`s favorite film, it`s
probably like "12 Years a Slave" or "Django Unchained."
SHARPTON: We`re going to be really on that, because that is offensive.
ZEPPS: I mean, first thought, it`s not only racially offensive, it also
just -- it just offends me as a creative artist. If you`re going to diss
on Obama and make a movie gag, then do something, say like, oh, he probably
likes "Interstellar" because he wants to fly himself a billion miles away
from Washington. Or he likes the "Walking Dead" because they`re like
zombies or something.
IYER: Listen, I get curry jokes all day long, I give bolywood jokes all
day long, but there to my face, and then I can laugh. But when you read
something like that, it`s just so --
SHARPTON: But you`re not getting them from people that shape the culture
and mentality --
IYER: Of course, right. Of course.
SHARPTON: And decides and shapes it.
SHARPTON: And I think we can`t let this moment ago without really dealing
with that and see if they`re really are prepared to deal with it.
DOWDELL: There have been repercussions.
SHARPTON: Oh, they has.
DOWDELL: And Reverend, I would say, this is reflected in the type of
movies that are made about black culture.
DOWDELL: I mean, we see so many movies that paint us so negatively from a
stereo typical perspective. When these movies come out, they have such
impact because they reinforce those stereotypes. When people constantly
see us portrayed on screens as gangsters, as thugs, in all of these
different ways, that impacts society. That`s why this is so dangerous.
SHARPTON: But also can`t get roles, can`t get jobs, there are no big
executives there. And I think that this is the kind of thing. But if you
could see the callous way that someone with his kind of influence -- I`m
talking about Rudin -- that what he thinks of Jolie, I mean, imagine
someone aspiring to be that big, what they --
ZEPPS: Look, this is a very narrow, blinkered community. It`s a community
that have blinders on. Blinkered, we say in Australia. They are very
white, they are very jockey, they are very privileged, they come from a
very certain socio-economic and racial class and that`s all they care
about, and that`s all that they know. They`re not thinking about --
IYER: But don`t bite the hand that feeds you.
SHARPTON: Well, we`ve got to deal with the fact that sometimes people that
are very closed in, need some others that will help open it up.
SHARPTON: Ever wonder what`s in a chicken mcnuggets?
DOWDELL: Oh, god.
SHARPTON: I call it mcnuggets but it`s mcnugget. Well, the wait is over.
McDonald`s is serving up the secrets in a video it released, showing
exactly what goes into making mcnuggets, from mixing to molding to boxing
them. The video is shows it`s made from real meat. I don`t eat them. I
don`t eat meat. But after seeing this, would you?
ZEPPS: This is a horrible ploy basically where McDonald`s takes the most
extreme caricatures, the most extreme untrue caricatures of how it produces
its meat, and by dispelling those, thinks that all of a sudden, it`s
without blame. The reality is that the way that we raise industrially
farmed animals in this country, the concentrated animal feeding operations
where chickens routinely have their beaks -- off, they have their claws
clipped off, there`s no anesthetic, they`re pumped with so many hormones
that they grow so fast, that their legs break and they`re left to flutter
around in their own feces. I mean, this is a monstrous, monstrous
SHARPTON: But they`re idea Seema is putting it out I guess to show it`s
not as bad as some people say.
ZEPPS: Well, it`s meat. I mean, it`s a pretty low bar. It`s meat.
IYER: Rev, I almost hurled on the way over here in the car, prepping for
this segment. I can`t even look at this and I`m a vegetarian too.
IYER: So it`s so offensive to me. But it really should be a promo for
animal rights activism or veganism, because it will change you if you look
at that video.
SHARPTON: Tara, do you eat meat, by the way?
DOWDELL: I do eat meat. I`m clearly the only meat-eater here.
ZEPPS: No, no. I do, I do. But, you know, I will always take extra pains
to try to make sure that it`s an organically raised.
DOWDELL: I agree. Well, I`ll say this. Whoever is doing their marketing
should be fired if I`m wearing my marketing head.
DOWDELL: Because this is not helping them. This does not look good. I
mean, this looks terrible. And so I think that McDonald`s needs, if they
really want to come along and -- because what this is about, they`re losing
money. That`s what this is about. And so, if they really want to step up
their game, they need to do something more ethical. Be more meaningful as
a brand. Do something to help people make their products more ethical.
ZEPPS: Well, the other option is, just don`t address this at all and just
acknowledge that you are an unethical company that produces crap and just
be the big mccrap company. That`s fine as well. But don`t get into the
details of how you do anything.
SHARPTON: Seema, Josh Tara, thank for your time. And catch Seema tackling
legal questions every Tuesday at 11 a.m. Eastern on MSNBC.com.
Coming up, the New York City street performer who got Prince William`s
number. He`s here on POLITICS NATION, next.
SHARPTON: This week, a young man who turned his life around, got a chance
to meet a prince, and the prince was the one who came away impressed? The
prince and the performer, I`ll talk to that young man, next.
SHARPTON: The royal couple Prince William and Duchess Kate had a whirlwind
trip to the big apple. They met Jay-Z and Beyonce courtside at a Nets game
in Brooklyn. And hung out with LeBron James after the game. And glammed
it up at a star-studded gala. But they say the best moment they
experienced here was watching this 22-year-old. He`s Steven Prescott, a
New York City street performer, who tells his life story of struggles, of
growing up without a dad, and going to prison at the age of 16 for robbery.
Theater turned his life around. Prince William was so moved he gave Steven
his number, telling him, he was inspirational, and wanted to help him out.
What an incredible story to tell.
Joining me now to tell that story is Steven Prescod. Steve, thank you so
much for being here.
STEVEN PRESCOD, PERFORMED FOR ROYAL COUPLE: Thank you for having me, Al.
SHARPTON: How many times have you pinched yourself in the last few days
after this happened?
PRESCOD: Well, I pinched myself so many times, I think I`m getting black
and blue all over my arms.
SHARPTON: What was it like performing for them? Were you nervous?
PRESCOD: I was extremely nervous. I mean, the first time that I met them
was when I went out to perform and they were just right there in front of
SHARPTON: What did they say to you?
PRESCOD: After the performance?
PRESCOD: I didn`t get a chance to speak to Kate, but, you know, me and my
pal, Prince William, me and him exchanged a few words.
SHARPTON: You`re pals now?
PRESCOD: Oh, yes, yes. We`re very good friends.
SHARPTON: What did you say to him?
PRESCOD: Well, I was happy that he loved the piece. He said that it was a
really good piece. And I said, thank you. And he just kept telling me how
it moved him and he said he really loved it and he would love to help me.
SHARPTON: And he gave you his number?
PRESCOD: Oh, well, you would have to give me your number and I`ll let you
know what happened with that.
SHARPTON: Oh, so you not going to tell me whether you called him or text
him. I get it.
PRESCOD: Well, if you give me your number, I`ll let you know.
SHARPTON: All right. Why do you want to tell your life story? Why is
that important to you?
PRESCOD: Because it`s very important. Because it`s not only my life
story. It`s every man of color life story. I feel like I need to get it
out to the world and allow the public to hear our voice, and see where we
come from, see why we are the way we are. You know, I was a troubled kid.
I want people to see the reasons why I was a troubled kid. Not having my
father there. My mother being a single parent raising me. I just wanted
people to see that and see how, what we need, what could we get out of this
in order to change that. You know, it`s different reasons.
SHARPTON: I understand that a theater program turned your whole life
SHARPTON: Tell me about it.
PRESCOD: Well, the city kids, it`s a not-for-profit organization and city
kids was a great help. Because growing up, you know, I always looked for
acting classes and different places like that and they were just too
expensive. But since City Kids was a non-profit organization, it was a
free. I remember when I went there, I went there through a -- program,
it`s a program for youthful offenders. And to clear their records. And
they gave me a pay internship to City Kids and so when I got to City Kids,
I was just there as intern and I saw kids there performing and using their
performing arts to inspire young people and through that, that`s when I
started pursuing acting and I met my mentor Moses Bolisario (ph) and he and
I through our conversations, he heard my stories and he said, you know,
what, we should write a piece about this.
SHARPTON: Wow! Since you guys are buddies now, give him my regard, tell
him to come do POLITICS NATION right next time.
PRESCOD: I`ll give him a call when I get home.
SHARPTON: I`m really, I`m very happy to meet you and I find your story
inspiring too. Steven Prescod. What a great story to tell, good luck and
please keep us posted as you developed thank you for being here, and invite
me to the Oscars when you get there. For more on Steven and the program,
go to CityKids.com.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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