All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: March 25, 2015
Guest: Kitty Higgins, Greg Feith, Eugene Fidell, McKay Coppins, Levy
Pettit, Jelani Cobb, Gavin Palone
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
The Bush brother fundraising tour kicks into high gear.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I still like him if Jeb -- when Jeb
HAYES: Tonight, why Republicans who think they can beat Jeb Bush are
probably fooling themselves.
Then, the lawyer for Bowe Bergdahl on desertion charges for his
The disgraced Oklahoma frat boy is now singing a different tune.
LEVI PETTIT, FORMER UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA STUDENT: Let me start by
saying that I`m sorry.
HAYES: And why the Internet erupted after a deadline article about
ethnic casting in the wake of "Empire" success.
ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
And we have some breaking news at this hour regarding the crash of a
Germanwings flight yesterday that killed all 150 people onboard. "The New
York Times" with a chilling report just moments ago that during the plane`s
fatal eight-minute descent before crashing into the French Alps, one of the
pilot was locked out of the cockpit.
Quoting extensively from that "Times" piece, "an investigator said
evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit
before the plane`s descent, and was unable to get back in. A senior
military official involved in the investigation described very smooth, very
cool conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight,
from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. Then, the audio indicated that one of the
pilots left the cockpit and could not reenter.
`The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no
answer,` the investigator said. `And then he hits the door stronger and no
answer. There is never an answer.` He said, `You can hear he is trying to
smash the door down.`"
The Airbus A320 crashed in the French Alps about one hour after
takeoff yesterday morning on a flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf,
Germany, carrying 144 passengers, and six crew members. Today, we learned
three of those passengers were Americans. There were no survivors.
Joining me now by phone, former NTSB board member Kitty Higgins.
Kitty, your -- this just was published a few moments ago and we`re all
just shaking our head at the horror of this. Your response?
KITTY HIGGINS, FORMER NTSB BOARD MEMBER (via telephone): Yes, Chris,
exactly. It compounds what is already a horrific tragedy, and makes this
just that much more awful. It is reminiscent in an eerie, eerie way of the
Egypt Air crash, where the pilot took the plane, flying from New York to
Cairo into the ocean.
And the investigation (INAUDIBLE) but that accident, the pilot was
found at fault. And his colleague I think was also locked out. He had
gone to the restroom.
HAYES: Yes, that -- the Egypt Air flight is probably the most famous
example of a crash where the conclusion of an investigation, the pilot had
taken the plane down affirmatively as an act of murder or suicide. That
finding I should say has been contested by the Egyptian authorities. But
other investigators have found that to be the case.
Of course, here, can we talk for a moment about the protocols here?
Because there`s a lot to kind of unpack. I mean, first is, cockpit doors
after 9/11 were reinforced, right? There was a change to policy --
HIGGINS: They`re reinforced, and they`re locked from the inside.
HAYES: So, they`re looked from the inside. There is no way to get
into the cockpit.
HIGGINS: You can literally not get into that cockpit. The flight
attendant has to knock on the door and has to be admitted. As you know,
passengers can`t stand anywhere near the cockpit door in the front of the
plane. Those are all the precautions and safety requirements put in place
after the doors are hardened, but they were also locked from the inside.
HAYES: So, they`re locked from the inside. There is no other option.
I mean --
HIGGINS: No. There is no other option.
And it`s just -- obviously, we have to hear more from the authorities
who hear the tape, and we need to hear from Lufthansa about the pilots,
their background, their training, what we know about their personal
stories. That`s all part of the investigative process. Obviously, with
this development, the attention will very much turn to the pilot.
I don`t know, perhaps you do, I`m just trying to find the story now,
was it the co-pilot in the cockpit, or was it the flying pilot?
HAYES: That is unspecified. In the article, it just says one of the
pilots. We do not know if it was the co-pilot or the main pilot who was
piloting that plane.
We also don`t know if anyone else was in there. The one question that
comes to mind is, is there a protocol when one of the pilots has to get up
to use the restroom, is there someone, say, a flight attendant who by
protocol enters into the cockpit to then let that person back in, since
presumably the other pilot is busy piloting the plane?
HIGGINS: Well, again, we have to look specifically at the procedures
that Lufthansa followed and whether Germanwings follows Lufthansa`s
policies. (INAUDIBLE) probably are too, if one of the pilots comes out to
use the restroom, which in a small plane, or right outside the cockpit door
in front of the cabin. A flight attendant will stand there. They will
block off the passageway with the cart, because the door is locked, so they
will find a way to protect that door.
And the pilot, again, post-9/11 -- now, I`ve seen that done. I
honestly don`t know if there are regulations that calls for them, those are
airlines procedures. I`m assuming they vary from airline to airline.
Maybe there are new requirements given that this is a European airline.
HAYES: Former NTSB board member Kitty Higgins, by phone, thank you
very much for joining us.
Joining me now from the near crash site in the French Alps is NBC News
reporter Claudio Lavanga.
Claudio, what is the latest from the site?
CLAUDIO LAVANGA, NBC NEWS: Well, it is 1:00 in the morning here, so
we don`t have any way to corroborate and confirm those reports. Those just
came out in "The New York Times." we have not seen that before.
All we heard of this afternoon, about a few hours ago, which was
official, which is the aviation authority saying they were hearing the
voices of those pilots, but it would have taken some days or weeks to
figure out what they were exactly saying and how it will have helped them
to resolve this puzzle.
Now, this is the first time we do hear it. It is not confirmed yet.
But if it is confirmed tomorrow -- well, that will explain a lot about this
strange turn of events, because obviously we -- one of the theories flying
around that seems to be more credible was the fact that the pilots weren`t
responding because they were incapacitated in some way. But if one of the
pilots really got stuck out of the door, either voluntarily or
involuntarily, or the other pilot was not opening the door on purpose,
well, that we don`t know yet.
But certainly that explains, that will explain a lot over why, or how
this plane lost so much altitude, and why the pilot in the cabin would not
respond to the control tower`s call to get an answer on what was happening
on that flight.
HAYES: Claudio, they have recovered obviously the voice recorder.
That`s from where we are, according to "The New York Times" report from the
military investigators, that`s where we`re getting this very haunting audio
apparently of one of the pilots frantically knocking on the cockpit door as
the plane calmly descended. The data recorder boxes recovered, my
understanding is the chip that actually has the data inside has not been
located yet. Is that correct?
LAVANGA: That is correct. What was located -- there was some
confusion about the two black boxes. The black box with the voice
recording was definitely found. That is where this information is coming
from, according to "The New York Times". We do know that from today, from
official sources, that the -- they did get out that audio from the voice
recording, from the conversations between the pilots from there today.
The other black box hasn`t really been found officially. What was
found was the framing of the second black box. But let me just remind you
what the second black box is, is the flight data recorder. It`s very
important. It`s got all the statistics about the whole flight from takeoff
to, of course, when -- up to the point where it crashed, about altitude,
speed, and everything else, that will help investigators find out what
really happened during that flight. Hopefully, that will be recovered
But in this case, if this is really what happened, and this is not
confirmed yet, if this is really what happened, then that voice recording
black box will be more important than the flight data recording. That will
mean this is not a technical issue, but something that is more human.
HAYES: Claudio Lavanga at the crash site, thank you, sir.
Resetting the breaking news being reported by "The New York Times"
just a few moments ago tonight, that one of the pilots was locked out of
the cockpit on that fateful Airbus 320 flight from Barcelona, to
Quoting extensively from "The Times" piece, "an investigator said
evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit
before the plane`s descent and was unable to get back in. A senior
military official involved in the investigation described `very smooth,
very cool` conversation between the pilots during the early part of the
flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. And the audio indicated that one of
the pilots left the cockpit and could not reenter.
`The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, there is no answer,`
the investigator said. `And then he hits the door stronger and no answer.
There is never an answer.` He said, `You can hear he is trying to smash
the door down.`"
The Airbus A320 crashed in the French Alps about one hour after
takeoff yesterday morning on a flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf,
Germany, carrying 144 passengers and six crew members. It is being
described as being pulverized by the mountains and there are no survivors.
Joining me by the phone is former NTSB investigator and aviation
expert Greg Feith.
And, Greg, can we talk a little bit about what the protocol is for
pilots in cockpits? Obviously, pilots have to get out of a cockpit at
certain points. They have to use the rest room, particularly on long
flights. We know that this reached cruising altitude and it looks like the
descent began shortly thereafter. You can imagine the scenario in which
one pilot apparently, after reaching cruising altitude, leaves to go to the
restroom and cannot get back in.
What is the protocol that guides how that is done in a cockpit?
GREG FEITH, FORMER NTSB INVESTIGATOR (via telephone): Well, let me
just clarify that there is alternative methods of getting into the cockpit.
After the 9/11, the doors were fortified, and they were fortified for a
reason. But there were alternate methods of getting in and out of the
cockpit without the other pilot opening it from the inside.
I mean, I don`t want to get into a lot of specifics, because some of
this is still, you know, based on security. But the pilots have the
ability to get in under normal conditions. There is a lockout feature that
can be employed which would prevent all access into the cockpit.
Typically, if a pilot leaves under the protocols, after 9/11, that
pilot would be replaced by a flight attendant occupying the cockpit, so
that there`s always two people in the cockpit at all times while the other
pilot is out, either using the facilities or restroom or doing something
else in the back of the aircraft. That`s the way it should be working.
But again, what Lufthansa does, versus United, versus anybody else,
again, it`s all based on their internal protocols. But the doors were
fortified. There were means to be able to get in and out of the cockpit
through normal means. But there`s also a security feature on that door as
HAYES: Just to sort of make clear here what the stakes are in terms
of how people think about the awfulness of what happened here, and the
culpability -- if there were in fact, if there were a protocol that
required a flight attendant to get into that cockpit when one of the pilots
left to use the restroom, presumably, if that were followed -- again, we
don`t know -- but if that were followed, as you have two people in the
cockpit, neither of whom are responding, that would lead you to believe
there was some kind of catastrophic loss of pressure or something that
rendered those folks unconscious, as opposed to some sinister intentional
descent being engineered by the remaining pilot.
FEITH: Well, we have to be careful, Chris, only because whatever
would have happened to those two folks in the cockpit, would also happen to
the people behind the door. Remember, the environment of the airplane
isn`t just in the cockpit.
FEITH: So if there was some sort of pressurization problem that would
have caused hypoxia to the crew, it would have caused hypoxia to the folks
in the passenger cabin as well.
So, you know, we have to look at this -- the fact that one of the crew
members left, everything appeared normal, if he in fact did knock on the
door with no response, either you have a medical condition with the
remaining pilot, or you can`t rule out at this point, based on what scant
evidence or information we have, that there wasn`t some other intent. And
that`s always, in this post-9/11 age, you always have to leave that on the
table until you have sufficient facts, and circumstances to rule it out.
HAYES: Greg Feith, thank you very much.
OK. There`s also news today regarding former prisoner of war, U.S.
Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who is now being charged with desertion. His
lawyer will join me live, next.
Then, one of the two fraternity brothers caught on tape singing a
racist chant in the University of Oklahoma breaks his silence.
(BGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETTIT: I knew they were wrong. I never knew how or why they were
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: His apology and what he didn`t say, perhaps as important.
That`s still ahead.
HAYES: Last night, I had the great pleasure of appearing as a guest
on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" and perhaps even greater pleasure of being
able to drop the F-bomb in a television appearance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You cannot under-account the possibility of the first woman
president of the United States. That`s in the words of Joe Biden, a BFD.
SETH MEYERS, HOST: Yes.
By the way, tonight, both you and Ben Stiller, you guys are talking
like we can`t beat things on this television show.
HAYES: I do live television.
MEYERS: Say it again.
HAYES: A big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.
MEYERS: I just heard our beep guys out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You can watch more of my appearance on "Late Night With Seth
Meyers", if you head over to our Facebook page,
And, hey, while you`re there, why don`t you go ahead and like our
page. Seth Meyers did. No, not really. Well, maybe he did. Who knows?
HAYES: U.S. Army announced today that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was
accused of abandoning his post in Afghanistan, June 2009, is being charged
with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The announcement was made
out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Bergdahl was taken captive by the
Taliban and held for five years by the insurgent group with -- by an
insurgent with ties to the Taliban until a controversial deal was struck
for his release in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held in Guantanamo
Bergdahl will now face an Article 32 hearing, similar to a grabbed
jury proceeding in civilian court. They`ll decide whether there`s probable
cause for Bergdahl to be court-martialed. That will take place next month
at Fort Sam Houston where Bergdahl has been assigned to administrative
duties. Bergdahl now faces up to five years in prison for the desertion
charge and a potential life sentence from misbehavior before the enemy
Joining me now is Sergeant Bergdahl`s attorney, Eugene Fidell.
Mr. Fidell, is your client a deserter?
EUGENE FIDELL, SGT. BERGDAHL`S ATTORNEY: I`m not going to get into
that kind of thing, Chris. You know, I`m here to represent a client. I
don`t want to try the case on television. So, if you`ll forgive me,
there`s a time for me to go into that. This is not the time.
HAYES: What then can you say about how this process will play out for
FIDELL: That I can help you with.
Basically, what has happened is a general officer has decided to send
some charges, two charges that you mentioned, to a -- basically a probable
cause hearing. It`s in some ways like a grand jury, but actually in more
ways it`s not like a grand jury, since unlike grand juries, that hearing
will be open to the public, and the media will have ample opportunity,
except perhaps if there`s classified information involved, to cover the
matter and help inform the American people.
I think at that hearing, people will learn many things that they have
not yet been privy to about Sergeant Bergdahl`s conduct, his motivation,
his intentions, as well as the details of his captivity at the hands of the
Taliban for nearly five years.
At the end of that process, there will be a recommendation to the
general, who then will have to decide based on all the facts and
circumstances, including the mitigating evidence, which as you can imagine
is very substantial, given the experience that Sergeant Bergdahl has had,
what should be done with the charges.
And that could range from, you know, a general court-martial, that`s
always, you know, that`s an option, to a special court-martial, summary
court martial, non-judicial punishment or some kind of administrative
HAYES: OK. So, let me ask you this, can you explain the two
different charges and why desertion carries a five-year sentence and
misbehavior before the enemy carries a possibility of a life sentence?
FIDELL: Well, misbehavior is kind of a -- it`s a very rare charge,
unlike desertion. There are a lot of people who have been charged with
desertion. And typically, they don`t -- depending, it varies from branch
to branch, but typically people don`t get hammered too awfully hard for
The other charge, misbehavior before the enemy, is so rare, that in
the time I`ve been involved with military justice, since 1969, I actually
can`t think of a case in which that was a charge.
The other thing you should know, Chris --
HAYES: Let me stop you for a second.
HAYES: What does that mean? What is misbehavior before the enemy?
FIDELL: Well, I can be precise. Because I`ve got the charge sheet --
or do I? I do. And I can tell you what the charge sheet says.
It says that at a particular place in Afghanistan, Sergeant Bergdahl
on or about June 30th, 2009, before the enemy, endangered the safety of an
observation post and task force which it was his duty to defend by
intentional misconduct, and that he left the observation post alone, and
left without authority and wrongfully caused search and rescue operations.
HAYES: So, this is the charge that has been the most, sort of -- that
has caused the most controversy. And that the allegations that surfaced
when Sergeant Bergdahl was released from some members who had served with
him, that he had essentially endangered their lives through his actions.
FIDELL: Well, that`s -- there are people who have said that. In
point of fact, Major General Dahl, who conducted an extensive
investigation, never mentioned this as a charge. I don`t think he had it
in mind, and I don`t, frankly, know how it got on the charge sheet. This
is a matter that I anticipate we`ll contest.
But I want you to know, Chris, that these two charges are simply two
ways of describing the same conduct. And I think it`s unfortunate that
someone got creative in drafting the charge sheet and figured out two ways
to charge the same thing.
HAYES: Eugene Fidell, thank you for joining us. Really appreciate
FIDELL: My pleasure.
HAYES: Today, the Bush brothers are back together again, Jeb and W.,
at a private fund-raiser in Dallas.
Up next, is a Jeb Bush ticket in 2016 inevitable?
HAYES: Tonight at a private event in Dallas we can`t show you because
cameras are not allowed, Jeb Bush, the man who many already consider to be
the front-runner in the Republican 2016 presidential nomination, is relying
on both his greatest asset and his biggest liability, to raise some money.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
G.W. BUSH: Last night, Jeb and I had some crabs, with late members of
the 1972 Miami Dolphins, Dan Marino and his really dynamic wife, TV stars,
Andy Garcia, movie stars, we had a fantastic experience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Jeb Bush on leg number one of a two-day family fund-raising
swing appearing with his brother, 43rd president, and tomorrow his father,
the 41st president of the United States. Tonight marks the first time Jeb
has appeared with George W. to raise money so far.
According to "The Dallas Morning News", the invitation asked for
donations or for attendees to raise up to $100,000 per couple. The
fundraiser comes just two days after Ted Cruz officially entered the race,
explicitly positioning himself as the anti-establishment, grassroots
candidate, the man who can stop the party bigwigs from once again fleecing
(ph) another, quote, "moderate candidate" on a skeptical GOP base.
But even as Ted Cruz enters the race and Scott Walker and Rand Paul`s
names get tossed around, some pretty remarkable to watch how Jeb Bush has
emerged as a front-runner, particularly among the political media elite,
the consultant class and Beltway observers. It almost seems like we`re
watching the beginning of exactly what we watched play out in the
Republican primary during the last two cycles. The Republican donor class
congregates, anoints a nominee, say a Mitt Romney, while the base watches
their candidates of choice ultimately drop out one by one.
The big question, is whether Jeb Bush will go the way of Mitt Romney
in 2012, the donor choice, by the base, or Hillary Clinton in 2008, the
presumptive nominee defeated by an insurgent candidate who is loved by the
Joining me now, McKay Coppins, senior political writer for "BuzzFeed".
I -- so here`s my feeling and tell me if you feel this way, too, from
your reporting. I`ve been talking to people -- people at news networks,
people who are consultants, people who are inside politicos, people in the
Hillary world, it is amazing to me how robust the Jeb Bush consensus is,
that it`s Jeb.
MCKAY COPPINS, BUZZFEED: No, I mean --
HAYES: Right? Am I right?
COPPINS: No, absolutely. It`s actually amazing how fast it happened.
HAYES: Yes, six months ago, it was, I don`t know, he probably won`t
COPPINS: But even within -- in December 16th is when he announced, he
posted it on Facebook, "I`m actively exploring". Within 12 days, he was at
the top of two different 2016 polls. You know, establishment figures
lining up to get behind him. He obviously kneecapped Mitt Romney, kept him
out of the race, and now, he`s the consensus front runner.
HAYES: Yeah, when people talk about -- when the people in those
circles talk about the possible future Republican administration, they say,
like, a Jeb administration.
COPPINS: Yeah, of course.
Well, here`s the problem. So, for people like Ted Cruz, right? Cruz,
the argument Team Ted makes right now is that he`s the Barack Obama of the
COPPINS: In 2016, right? The problem with that is that, while the
Democrats often have situations like that, where you have kind of an
insurgent movement candidate who serves to the front, and overtakes an
establishment favorite, that doesn`t happen on the right, hardly ever
It`s not just the last two cycles. You have to basically go back to
1964, with Barry Goldwater, where he beat Nelson Rockefeller.
You haven`t seen, since then, a movement candidate beat the
HAYES: And, so, the question then becomes, like, it`s almost like
these two things happening.
There`s the 100,000 dollar fund-raiser, or the million dollar, Jeb
Bush had his (inaudible). This huge donor network of the Republican
establishment which is, inextricably, linked to the Bushes, right? The last
two Republican presidents, right?
HAYES: They`re all actually like, deciding who`s going to be the
And then there`s this breaded circuses, for you rubes on the base, who
are going to like, you know, be excited about Ted Cruz. I`m like, yeah,
yeah, whatever. Like, that`s what it feels like.
COPPINS: And, us in the news media who cover all those people because
of fun --
HAYES: I`m not saying you rubes in the base, meaning myself. Like, I
respect the Grassroots people.
I`m saying, the people behind the closed doors were talking about Jeb
Bush, (inaudible), they`re looking out at the Iowa caucus goer, and they
are like, you think you had some control about this process? Well, you have
no control of this
COPPINS: Well, I will say, though, I mean, look, we`ve been talking -
- there have
been predictions for years and years and decades even, about the moment the
movement will take over the Republican party again.
2010 certainly after the Tea Party insurge, that everyone thought it
was going to happen, right? But then, if you fast forward to 2014, the
Republicans made big gains again in the midterms with mostly establishment
They had adopted some Tea Party platforms, but, it was mostly the
It is possible -- I think the things to watch for with Jeb Bush are,
if he screws up in a debate, really, really shows his dislike or distaste
or disdain for certain elements of the base, which is not outside the realm
of possibility, he could show that. If that comes through, I think if he
really loses in Iowa and
somebody serious comes out of Iowa, then you could see trouble for Jeb
But, it seems unlikely at this stage.
HAYES: McKay Coppins, thanks for being here.
COPPINS: Thank you.
HAYES: What happens when the brother of a right wing pundit
accidentally hits reply all on a forwarded email from New York Mayor Bill
De Blasio`s office?
One of the greatest and most despicable email chains ever, stick
around for that.
HAYES: For the first time since a racist chant by SAE fraternity
members at the University of Oklahoma went viral, garnered widespread
outrage, one of the fraternity members was videotaped singing that chant,
addressed the ugly incident publicly before cameras.
And, so now, in an almost classically staged act of redemption, we
have moved from this (VIDEO OF CHANT) to this.
Today`s public appearance by Levy Pettit, the now former University of
Oklahoma student, who was one of the students seen chanting in that video.
LEVY PETTIT, FORMER UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA STUDENT: Let me start by
saying that I`m sorry. Deeply sorry.
I`m so sorry for all the pain that I`ve caused, and I want you all to
know that directly from me.
Although I don`t deserve it, I want to ask for your forgiveness.
There are no excuses for my behavior. I never thought of myself as a
racist, I never considered it a possibility. But the bottom line is that
the words that were said in that chant were mean, hateful, and racist.
I knew they were wrong, but I never knew how, or why they were wrong.
And, the people that I`ve met with, like Senator Pittman and all these
leaders behind me, have opened my eyes to really put me behind those words,
and the impact that people have when those words are said.
HAYES: Oklahoma state Senator Anastasia Pittman, the leader of
Oklahoma legislative black caucus, as well as a religious leaders and a
representative of the local chapter of the NAACP, who said they accepted
Mr. Pettit`s apology.
Both Pettit and one of the other students in the video, Parker Rice,
have left the University of Oklahoma, saying they withdrew.
The national headquarters of SAE disbanded its University of
Oklahoma`s chapter, but the disbanded chapter has hired legal counsel in
assist them in evaluating legal matters.
Today`s press conference comes against the backdrop of a rash of news
alleging troubling behavior in the fraternity system nationwide.
Today the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at North Carolina State University
was disbanded, about a week after a pledge book was discovered with highly
offensive comments about women and people of color.
School chancellor, Randy Woodson, said, quote, "I hope today`s action
makes it clear that there is no place for intolerance, sexism, and racism
at N.C. State.
While Penn State University, police are investigating allegations that
members of Kappa Delta Rho posted nude and partially nude photos of women,
some of whom were incapacitated, on an invitation only Facebook page.
Joining me now, Jelani Cobb, contributor to the New Yorker.
Jelani, I said on Twitter today, that that apology was just a notch
away from a Dave Chappelle skit. There was something deeply strange and
surreal about it.
What did you make of it?
JELANI COBB, NEW YORKER: Well, it was very unusual to see.
You know, I kind of sarcastically said that I was waiting for the
gospel choir to come out and for them to break into a hymn at any moment.
But more seriously, though, I think that -- I`m an educator, so I have to
believe that it`s
possible that, you know, that this young man has learned something from the
experience. Or, hopefully that he has.
If in fact he was being sincere in saying he didn`t really understand
the depth of the wrongness, you know, of that chant, and, you know, what
its implications were, I think that really goes to the point of why we
of, you know, African American history classes, black studies classes, as
simply the classes that black students take.
This is part of American history.
And it is really kind of exemplary of how, you know, when we neglect
this kind of information, the kind of places that ignorance can fester.
HAYES: Yeah, and I think it`s important, to your point about a 19-
year-old, I mean, I think, you know, it seems to me no one is -- no one, at
any age, is just the worst thing they`ve ever done. And, particularly as a
19-year-old, who has a huge opportunity to change and learn, and do all
sorts of great stuff with his life.
But, to me, the deeper question really isn`t about these kids, it`s
about where that chant came from, and what this institution condones.
And, this to me was the most interesting or illuminating moment of the
conference. He was asked where he learned the chant. This was his response.
PETTIT: I`m not here today to talk about where I learned the chant,
or how I was taught. I`m here to apologize for what I did.
Because the truth is, what was said in that chant is disgusting.
HAYES: That was -- I understand the stop stitching impulse there, but
also, if you recognize what`s bad about what happened, you want to pull it
out by the root and branch, then you`ve got to come clean about where that
COBB: Yeah, but the root and branch is America.
So, I think it`s like this specific song, or this specific chant may
have captured our attention, but there are lots of other things that he
could have said
in lots of other places where he could have picked up that kind of
information and it would have just been as provocative, and just as ill
HAYES: So then, what do you think ends up being the takeaway from
Is this one of these, we have these occasional kind of rituals in
American public life of kind of, you know, incidents of racial controversy,
racism, and then the kind of healing and the kind of therapeutic sense and
then we move on to the next one?
COBBS: Well, I think, you know, I think the thing that we`ve done, is
we`ve stigmatized certain speech, for good reason, and certain behavior for
But I don`t know if we`ve done as good a job of actually engaging
people around these issues.
And so, my idea would not simply be to cast someone out, or say that
you can`t say these things in public, or you`ll be castigated if you do,
without having a conversation about where this comes from.
And, you know, I`m someone who errs on the side of kind of, of broad
latitude around freedom of speech and saying you have the freedom to say
something, but we have to do a better job of saying, but why would you want
to say that in particular.
HAYES: Why were a bunch of people on a bus enthusiastically yelling
Jelani Cobb, thank you.
Diversity is on the rise in television, but one Hollywood publication
says that kind of, quote, ethnic casting may be, quote, too much of a good
That story still ahead.
HAYES: Crazy video out of Brazil this week where heavy rainfall
caused a sinkhole so big, it literally swallowed an entire bus, and dropped
it into the raging floodwaters below.
Fortunately, all the tourists who were traveling in the bus got out
safely before hand, in plenty of time to shoot this amazing footage.
And, speaking of things getting flushed away, do we have a story for
Like that transition?
Ever seen the flushable wipes next to the toilet paper in the grocery
store? They may be flushable in the strictest technical sense of the word,
but they don`t actually break down in the sewer.
And that causes major problems in, say, a city like New York, where 8
million people use the bathroom.
Wipes, which are increasingly popular, are piling up in treatment
plants, gumming up the machinery and causing a seriously disgusting
I know this, because I went to the biggest waste treatment facility in
New York City to check out the problem firsthand.
VINCENT SAPIENZA: We have a digestion system that breaks down
These wet wipes are synthetic, they`re plastic based. And so, they
don`t break down in the treatment process.
We have to physically remove them, and that`s an extra cost that we
didn`t anticipate years ago.
HAYES: It`s an incredible and incredibly gross story. And, we`ll
bring you all the vie details right here, tomorrow night.
HAYES: Here`s something you didn`t ask for. A view into the world of
Carlson, formerly of MSNBC, formerly of CNN Crossfire, and currently
serving as Steve`s Doocy`s understudy at Fox News, at first glance comes
across as sharp,
well educated, and more civilized type of conservative pundit.
But he runs a really sort of, bottom of the barrel right wing website,
by the name of The Daily Caller site, that`s chock-full of factual errors
and conspiracy theories.
And today, it is one of those factual errors that provided a glimpse
into Tucker`s world, in the form of an e-mail chain obtained by Buzzfeed.
The e-mails are between a writer for The Daily Caller and Amy
Spitalnick, a spokesperson for New York City Mayor, Bill De Blasio.
Now, Spitalnick is surprised, asking for a correction of an erroneous
story The Caller had posted about the mayor.
After some back-and-forth, The Daily Caller senior editor, Chris
Bedford responds, "We`re reviewing the video now, Amy. If you annoy me with
another whiny e-mail before then, I`m muting this thread. Thanks."
Well, that was rude. So, Spitalnick forwards that e-mail to Bedford`s
boss, Tucker Carlson. "Tucker, it`s pretty appalling this is how your staff
choice to respond to us requesting a basic correction and providing a
transcript that directly contradicts the original story."
And, Tucker Carlson, bless his heart, responds thusly, "Dear Amy,
thanks for your e-mail. You believe our story was inaccurate and demanded a
correction. Totally fair, we are going over the transcript now. What
Bedford complained about
was your tone, which I have to agree was whiny and annoying, and I say that
in the spirit of helpful correction rather than as criticism.
Outside of New York City, adults generally write polite, cheerful
emails to one another, even when asking for corrections. Something to keep
in mind the next time you communicate with people who don`t live on your
Best, Tucker Carlson."
And, that there is the exactly the type of response you would expect
to get from a guy like Tucker Carlson.
But, as odious as that was, it was not the last e-mail Spitalnick
received. Because somehow, Buckley Carlson, I`m not making up the name,
he`s actually called Buckley. Buckley Carlson, the brother of Tucker,
Tucker and Buckley, now weighs in.
Now, I don`t know how he weighs in. He must have been blind CC or
Which, makes you think that Tucker Carlson was so awesomely proud of his
put down, that he BCC`d his brother, but whatever.
He mistakenly replies to the chain and this polite, cheerful email is
apparently how Tucker and Buckley communicate on their island.
"Great response. Whiny little self-righteous expletive. "Appalling?"
And with such an ironic name, too... Spitalnick. Ironic because you just
know she has extreme expletive fright; no chance has this girl ever had a
expletive necklace. Expletive neck? I don`t think so. More like expletive
You can see the uncensored version of that online if you want. But
really, why would you?
Buzzfeed asked Tucker Carlson for a comment and he responded, "I just
talked to my brother about his response, and he assures me he meant it in
the nicest possible way."
Aren`t these guys just adorable?
The Daily Caller article, which was the subject to all this, was
HAYES: Entertainment Industry blog, Deadline Hollywood posted an
article last night that immediately provoked a massive amount of backlash.
It`s a, let`s say unusual take on what many people see as a positive
and long overdue trend.
The current success of TV shows by and about people of color, from
ABC`s Fresh Off the Boat, to CW`s Jane, the Virgin, to Fox`s empire, now
the biggest phenomenon on T.V.
All of those shows and a whole lot of others, including, of course,
have created an appetite among Hollywood gatekeepers to cast more nonwhite
actors in this year`s pilot season.
According to Deadline, however, the new approach comes with pitfalls.
The article`s headline pretty much says it all, "Pilot 2015: The Year of
Ethnic Casting -- About Time, Or Too Much Of A Good Thing?"
It describes the plight of all the poor, under worked white folks in
Hollywood, who trudge from audition to audition, just to be told that only
so called ethnic actors need apply.
I`m only slightly exaggerating. This from the article, quote, "As is
the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far
in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any
race to compete for any role in the color-blind manner, there has been a
significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off
limits for Caucasian actors..."
Here`s the thing, I`m very, very happy this article was written
because it reveals the awful truth about many of the institutions and the
people deciding what you see.
Joining me now is film and TV producer, Gavin Polone, who often writes
for The Hollywood Reporter, and Ty Jones, an actor on stage and screen,
also the artistic director of the classical theater of Harlem.
It`s great to have you both.
Gavin, let me start with you. You wrote a great piece back in 2012
that was called, The False Circular Logic Behind Hollywood`s Resistance to
Black Entertainment. Which was a sort of, I think a different cultural
But, why has it been difficult, at other periods, for films that are
about folks that aren`t white to get made or TV shows?
GAVINE POLONE, FILM AND TV PRODUCER: That`s really simple. People
have a tendency to want to make film product about things that they really
understand, and that they connect to.
And, unfortunately, and wrongly, the people who run major
entertainment companies, in the big media conglomerates, are generally a
very homogeneous group of white people who come from upper middle class
backgrounds and have similar
points of view.
And, therefore, their world view is very different from that of the
market. And I think it not only is bad because it doesn`t represent America
properly on screen, but it`s also bad economically, because 30% of the
audience is not white, or more.
And they actually go and buy more tickets in movie theaters, and they
watch more television than the white folks do.
So it`s a bad thing. And it continues on and needs to change.
HAYES: What`s interesting, Ty, is we were talking about this earlier,
and in some ways it seems like there`s sort of waves, right? There`s a
period in the 1970s, when there`s a tremendous amount of television and
movies being made centering on African Americans, nonwhite folks.
There`s this period in the 90`s, this explosion that happens, the WB
comes on, and then the long, sort of thallow (ph) period. And now, it seems
we`re in another uptick.
Over the course of your career, have you seen that happen?
TY JONES, ACTOR: Without question.
You know, I wanted to start off by saying, you know, we got to make
sure we`re not getting bamboozled here a bit, okay? Because, you know,
Deadspin wants to get traffic to their site.
HAYES: Deadline, yeah.
JONES: Deadline. Thank you. And when they do that, when you talk
about race, inclusion, and diversity, those topics are about as hot as a
summer sidewalk, okay?
And then you`ve got to look at the writer herself.
My 4, 6 and 8 year old can write something more sustainable on the
wall in my apartment, okay?
And, we have to be able to kind of look at this in a distinct way. So,
let`s take -- let`s turn the temperature down a little bit and let`s look
at another industry like advertising, okay?
So, they have what`s called the general market. And then they have,
over here, the multiculturals, gays, black, lesbians and Asians. And,
what`s happening now is this new general market.
And, that new general market is made up of the gays, blacks, Latinos
and Asians, and then a chunk of whites.
So, this new general market is the new consumer.
HAYES: You`re actually saying that structurally the way that
advertising thinks about this?
JONES: Oh, I 100% believe it. But, you know, axiomatic and manifest
to that is, it happens in TV, film and theaters as well, too.
We see that this general market, the old general market is what`s
being catered to. But, there is a new general market that`s coming out.
And, that is -- those are the -- that`s the group of people that we need to
be paying attention to.
HAYES: Part of what`s driving part of this is the tremendous success,
I think, first of Scandal and then of Empire.
Gavin, I mean, what always strikes me about people that are in the
position of being executives in television, or movies, or anything, is that
they have this
sense, they`ve gotten there because they`ve figured out what the audience
wants, but, no one actually knows what the audience wants. People just
throw a lot of stuff on the air, some of it works, and some of it doesn`t.
And then something like Empire comes along, and everyone`s like, holy
POLONE: Yeah, and, unfortunately that happens not because there`s not
that much forethought, it just, sort of, is an anomaly.
And, as it comes through, people say, oh, wait a second, black people
But I do think like, I think that you have to look at this period
right now, where there seems to be more progress.
A lot of it is really due to one woman, which is Shonda Rhimes, who`s
just a good writer, and she created a show which became a huge hit, which
is Grey`s Anatomy, which was not particularly, not necessarily a black show
or anything like
that, and then she`s been able to, as she has gained more power in the
business, enforce her will.
And I saw that because I produced a couple of different television
shows for ABC Family in the past couple of years. And, I felt the strong
mandate to get more diversity in their shows, largely because Shonda Rhimes
started talking about it in public, saying she didn`t want her children to
watch shows where there weren`t a more diverse cast.
And, I think it really benefited ABC and will continue to benefit it
going forward because it changed their thinking a little bit.
But still, I have to get back to the idea of like, all the people who
are making those decisions are the same people, they`re all white.
JONES: So yeah, that is this new general market, right? But the thing
that hasn`t changed is this.
We`ve seen this, you know, rise and growth in this new general market,
but yet, what we haven`t seen is the leadership, and the people who make
That hasn`t changed.
HAYES: And, you saw that on the hacked Sony emails, you saw that on
Chris Rock was doing all those interviews around his movie, he was just
saying, look, I stick out. Like, I walk in to these rooms --
JONES: So, we should be careful about this. I mean, I am happy to see
a lot of my friends getting on TV, and making names for themselves.
But we should be very cognizant this could be one of those ups. Until
the leadership changes, that`s where substantive change will happen in
terms of seeing
real diversity stay.
HAYES: So, how does that change, Gavin?
How do you get the situation where essentially the gatekeepers
themselves come to reflect the way the country looks?
POLONE: Well, you know, it happens in other industries. I mean, the
CEO of Merck, which is arguably the most pharmaceutical company is a black
man, the CEO of American Express, one of those prestigious companies in
America, is a black man. There have been many others in other industries.
I think that collectively, people in the entertainment industry have
to start saying, hey, we have to change this. We have to promote people in
part because they come from different backgrounds, because we need to
reflect the audience better.
And that`s going to make economic sense for us.
HAYES: Yeah, I think the other thing you`re going to see is that that
whole -- the kind of cartel of cultural gatekeepers is coming apart anyway,
JONES: And then, I think there`s going to be a little bit of a
shakeup, because, you`re asking folks to essentially have jobs for folks in
senior positions, and decision making positions, that don`t look like them
anymore. And, that`s going to be a tough thing for some people to take.
HAYES: Gavin Polone and Ty Jones, thank you both for your
(inaudible). I really appreciate it.
That is All In for this evening, The Rachel Maddow show starts right
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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