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PoliticsNation, Monday, September 9th, 2013

September 9, 2013

Guests: John Burris; Faith Jenkins; Marcia Clark; Ken Padowitz, Andre Leon Talley

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead Breaking News. George Zimmerman will not recharge after
alleged domestic incident today, according to Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman`s
wife is declining the press charges. George Zimmerman questioned by
police. His wife Shellie who just filed for divorce accuses George of
threatening her and her father with a gun. At this hour, police are still
on the scene at the home of Shellie`s father in Lake Mary, Florida. Here
is what we know. Earlier today there was an altercation. Both sides say
the other was the aggressor. During the altercation, George`s wife,
Shellie, made a frantic 911 call.


continually has his hand on his gun and he keeps saying step closer. He is
just threatening all of us with the firearm. And he`s going to shoot us.


ZIMMERMAN: He punched my dad in the nose. My dad has a mark on his
face. I saw his glasses were on the floor. He had accosted my father and
then took my iPad out of my hands and smashed it and cut it with pocket
knife. And there`s a Lake Mary city worker across the street that I
believe saw almost all of it. I don`t know what he`s capable of. I`m
really, really scared. Dad, get behind the car or something. I don`t know
if he`s going to start shooting at us or not.


SHARPTON: Lake Mary police have taken George Zimmerman`s gun while
they consider whether to make an arrest.

Joining me now MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom, Florida defense
attorney Kevin Padowitz, defense attorney John Burris and former prosecutor
Marcia Clark. She is author of "Killer Ambition."

Lisa, tell me your reaction to this today.

LISA BLOOM, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it certainly confirms what
many of us thought about George Zimmerman all along. That he`s impulsive,
that he is hot headed and that he tends to threatens and goes after people
when he shouldn`t be doing that. And so much of this is reminiscent of the
Trayvon Martin case. His hand on the gun, threatening them with the gun,
even a punch to the nose. A punch to George Zimmerman`s nose in the
Trayvon Martin case was so essential.

Ultimately, this is a domestic violence call. And even though Shellie
Zimmerman does not want to press charges, many police departments will
nevertheless investigate anyways, especially f there is a witness as she
says there is. So, this may just be the end of it. This may just be the

SHARPTON: Now Marcia Clark, the fact that he according to what his
wife says on the 911 tape says he is threatening with the gun, he keeps
putting his hand on the gun. What do you get out of that as a former

MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, that`s threatening conduct,
Reverend. That`s what we would call, potential assault with a deadly
weapon. If the words and other conduct accompany it to show that he has
the present intent to inflict serious bodily injury or use the firearm,
then that`s an assault. You don`t have to touch someone to be guilty of
assault with a deadly weapon. It doesn`t sound it went that far. I can`t
tell exactly. And the fact that she doesn`t want to press charges is not
helpful to the case.

But Lisa`s right. We don`t, especially in Los Angeles, I know we
don`t all the victims to decide they are not going to press charges. It`s
an affront and a violation of the rules that govern the people of the state
of California. And so, we can go forward with the case regardless of
whether she`s in favor of it. And they may still do that.

SHARPTON: Let me repeat. We are discussing George Zimmerman at a --
what is apparently a domestic incident at the home of his father-in-law
that involved a gun and police are weighing whether to make an arrest.

Let me go to you, Ken Padowitz. You know Florida law very well and
you went with us throughout the case of George Zimmerman. In terms of
Florida law, what is going on here when they say that they took his gun, we
understand, and they are waiting to see whether or not there`s going to be
an arrest.

KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, I`m experiencing a sense of
deja vu, Reverend.

Basically, we have the police in Florida once again taking possession
of George Zimmerman and then releasing him. Now, here, there are different
circumstances, but a gun allegedly is involved in this situation as well.
Under Florida law, it is not up to the victim.

Marcia Clark is right. It is not up to the victim contrary to what
police of -- chief of police said there in Florida that it`s not up to the
victim whether or not to press charges. It`s up to the state attorney.
And so, the state attorney`s office is going to have to review this to see
is there nothing here, nothing criminal. Or is there a misdemeanor battery
against his father-in-law or is there an aggravated assault with a firearm
which is a felony.

But it`s up to the state attorney whether or not laws were broken here
and whether or not to file charges. Of course the victim and what they
have to say is important in the case, but they are not the sole determining
factor as to whether or not charges are pressed here. So there well may be
something happening in the future in this case.

SHARPTON: Well, John, whether the victim presses charges or not
according to Ken they don`t have to. But if you listen to the 911 tape,
she says he punched my father. He keeps going to or touching the gun. I
don`t know whether he`s going to shoots o not. I mean, legally what does
this expose Zimmerman to, John?

JOHN BURRIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Certainly the tape itself and
the way it`s described certainly there`s a battery involved, no question in
terms of the assault and battery on her father. And of course the use of
the gun and the manner in which it is used, you could have potentially an
assault here.

But I think what you have here is a person truly out of control here
and his gun should not be given back to him under the circumstances while
this matter is pending. Charges, I think will get filed against him if
nothing else for the father. The wife`s frantic call is very serious.
It`s not a typical for the wife not to want to press charges. But it`s
also typical for the DA to want to go forward with some charges
particularly in domestic situation where a gun is involved and physical
forces have been used.

SHARPTON: Lisa, Shellie Zimmerman who filed for divorce last week or
announced it, she said in an interview just days ago this about her husband
George Zimmerman. Listen to this.


ZIMMERMAN: In my opinion he feels more invincible. I just think he`s
making some reckless decisions. I have been married to a person for almost
seven years, and I don`t think I ever really knew him at all.


SHARPTON: He feels invincible. What does that say to you, Lisa, in
light of these developments today as much we know about them anyway?

BLOOM: Well, it`s disturbing stuff. Because she is the person who
has been closest to George Zimmerman for the last six or seven years. You
know, she also revealed recently that the two of them had had a fight on
the night Trayvon Martin was killed before George Zimmerman went out in his
SUV. They had a fight and that could tell us something about his mental
state, you know, if only that had come in to the trial.

The problem with Shellie Zimmerman, though, is she is also an admitted
perjurer. She just pleaded guilty to perjury. So, her credibility is
always going to be a difficult issue if she were go to trial against George
Zimmerman. So, you know, there`s big problems on both sides here. But I
think what she is saying about George Zimmerman -- look at what he has done
recently. Two speeding tickets in the last couple of weeks, going to a gun
manufacturer, the same gun manufacturer of the gun he used to kill Trayvon
Martin and then taking a picture and posting it online, you know. Really
insensitive kind of behavior to put it mildly. And invincible is probably
just the right word for how he feels about us all. He just keeps getting
away with stuff.

SHARPTON: Marcia, do you feel the fact, as stated by Lisa, that
there`s problems of credibility on both sides? The fact that there`s this
tape where she`s actually at least it seems like she`s addressing her
father. Does that give the prosecutors reason to say we have to step
forward and look very seriously about an arrest here?

CLARK: Well, they have to look very seriously about an arrest here
because the 911 call as John said describes very serious conduct. You
know, if it`s true, that the father was attacked by him, punch in the nose.
And that the father was in enough distress to be worried about having a
heart attack as she stated in the call. That her is telling her step
closer, step closer with his hand on the gun which is threatening conduct.

The DA has to look into that. It`s an assault with a deadly weapon, a
potential felony as well as a misdemeanor on the father-in-law. So, I
really do -- there`s no question they have to look into it.

His state of mind as far as perjury problems on both sides, sure. Her
problem with it -- Shellie Zimmerman`s problem is she is a convicted
perjurer. But, what they will look at that fact that her perjury occurs in
support him. It was to support his bid for bail when she was hiding the
fact they had money that had gone in to their (INAUDIBLE). So, that might
weigh in favor of her credibility now when she is an extremist and
obviously under enormous duress. So, that may not hurt her as much as you
might think. He, on the other hand, has quite a few credibility problems.

SHARPTON: Well, let me say this.

Lisa mentioned they had a fight the night he had left and shot and
killed Trayvon Martin. That didn`t go into trial. Neither did the fact
that he had had cases of resisting arrest and battery before.

But let me also hasten to add as we cover this story as others are, I
said to my radio show audience today. We should not gloat or play the game
of I told you so. This is egregious if it is true. Domestic violence is
nothing anyone should celebrate or play, I told you so. These are serious
matters and we want him to have the same way of having his rights under
that we fought for Trayvon Martin.

So, in no way are we saying I told you so. We`re saying these things
are serious and should be dealt with fairly and seriously.

Thanks to the panel. We will have more with you on our coverage of
the story as it continues.

One note, George Zimmerman has sued NBC universal for defamation. The
company strongly denies the allegation.

Coming up, much more on the breaking news. George Zimmerman accused
by his wife of threatening her with a gun. Why his lawyer is also raising
eyebrows today. We will get to that.

Plus, President Obama`s case to the American people. Brand new
comments to NBC News about his push for action on Syria. And with fashion
week underway here in New York, troubling questions about the lack of
diversity in the fashion industry. I will talk about it with legendary
fashion icon Andre Leon Talley.

And all your reaction from Friday night show at the Apollo advancing
the dream. E-mail me what you thought. Friend or foe I want to know.
"Reply Al" is ahead.


SHARPTON: President Obama is in a full court press trying to get
Congress to agree with his proposal for a limited military strike in Syria.
There are questions from both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat,
and from all political spectrums. But at the same time we are seeing
outright hypocrisy from many Republicans that will oppose anything this
president is for including Syria. Despite the fact they may have supported
the exact opposite military strategy and kinds of engagements in the past.

But what is happening now is that some are getting ugly. And when you
have the debate, as even I`ve raised the question, that`s one thing. But
when you start getting ugly like the head of the Republican Party Rush
Limbaugh did today, then it goes beyond the boundaries of a discussion
about national security or about saving human lives in Syria.

Listen to Mr. Limbaugh and how he dealt with this debate.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: When it comes to Syria, have you
ever heard about Obama talk about regime change as an objective? You have
not. And they are reinforcing that today. No. In fact, you know? This
operation of Bush in shock and awe, we are looking at shock and jive here.
That`s is what I`m going to name this, the Obama operations n Syria,
operation shock an jive because that what this is.


SHARPTON: Operation shock and jive. The inferences, the implication,
the outright subtlety of what he`s saying which is not so subtle tome. The
dog whistling around something as serious as a military engagement. This
is the kind of things that Americans should not tolerate when we are
talking about lives of our military as well as human life in Syria.

Joining me now is Joan Walsh. Thanks for coming on.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thanks for having me, Rev.

SHARPTON: Operation shock and jive?

WALSH: You know, Rush Limbaugh is a racist troll and he is proud of
it. His audience expects this. He is always looking for a new low with
this new president and he hit one today.

But I`m more concerned, actually, about Republicans who would normally
support this intervention, who supported intervention like this before, but
who will not come out in support of this president. I mean, Mitch
McConnell, today it was announced that he and John Cornyn are not going to
with this vote. The president is on its own with the senate Republicans.
I can`t imagine that.

SHARPTON: When you say not with this vote, they are not going to try
to get --

WALSH: They`re not going to try to twist arms and, you know, try to
get Republicans to vote in favor of this intervention which I`m a skeptic
of. But to see people, you got -- Senator Rand Paul, I don`t agree with
him on very much, but he is a genuine critic. He is consistent. Justin
Amash on the house side.

SHARPTON: Well, you say consistent, look at people, GOP Senator Ted


SHARPTON: Or Rubio. Look at the 180 degree turn they have taken.
Let me show you this.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The fall of Assad would be a
significant blow to Iran`s ambitions. On those grounds alone, we should be
seeking to help the people of Syria to bring him down.

This idea that a military response is the only way to respond to what
is happening in Syria is just not true.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We need to be developing right now a clear,
practical plan to go in, locate the weapons, secure or destroy them, and
then get out.

I don`t think that`s the job of our military to be defending amorphous
international norms. I think a military attack is a mistake.


SHARPTON: I mean, obviously, these guys don`t even listen to what
they have said themselves.

WALSH: They were before and before they were against it. And there
is only one reason they are against it, it is the tea party bases against
because this president is for it. These two men would be supporting this
if it were another president. I have no doubt of that. But they are
looking at 2016. They are looking at the base. Now again, there may be,
there is real skepticism in the base. But then there`s also just in
flackable hostility in the president that is making --

SHARPTON: No, with their skepticism on a lot of bases here. But when
you are opposing the exact language that you use. And not only them. When
you look at the fact that 84 Republicans have been in office since October
2002, 83 of them voted to invade Iraq, but just 10 of them are supporting
striking a limited military action in Syria, just ten.

WALSH: Well, I mean, and Ted Cruz, I mean, his specific language, you
could close your eyes and think that`s the president describing what he
wants to do. I mean, there`s so much overlap in terms of it being a strike
at the weapons capacity. So, it`s really deep, Reverend Al. And it`s
really disturbing.

And on the other side it`s forcing a lot of Democrats having their
arms twisted. The president showed up personally at the congressional
black caucus session today that was supposed to just be Susan Rice. There
are a lot of people feeling a lot of heat who want to vote their conscience
against this. Barbara Lee has what I think is a great diplomatic proposal.
They are going to come in for -- they are going to catch all kinds of
trouble because Republicans won`t do what they would normally believe.

SHARPTON: But you know, the Bush crowd should be the last ones
weighing in. But listen to of all people, Karl Rove. Listen to this.


probably should have been better and taken action. We now have the Syrians
with God knows how many days or weeks if the United States does take action
to disperse all of these units, to protect themselves as much as possible,
build human shields. This is an unmitigated disaster. It`s amateur hour
at the White House.


SHARPTON: Amateur hour.

I`m going to leave it there. I`m not even going to go there, Joan.
Operation shock and jive, amateur hour at the White House. You have your
own commentary on that one.

Joan Walsh, thank you for coming on the show tonight.

WALSH: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, more on today`s breaking news about George
Zimmerman. Why lots of people are asking questions today about his lawyer
as well.


SHARPTON: Coming up, police are still on the scene at the home of
George Zimmerman`s father-in-law. The scene today of a domestic dispute.
What happened? That`s next.



ZIMMERMAN: He`s in his car and continually has his hand on his gun
saying step closer. He is just threatening all of us.


ZIMMERMAN: And he`s going to shoot us.


ZIMMERMAN: He punched my dad in the nose. My dad has a mark on his
face. I saw his glasses were on the floor. He had accosted my father and
then took my iPad out of my hand and smashed it and cut it with a pocket
knife. And there`s a lake Mary city worker across the street that I
believe saw almost all of it. I don`t know what he`s capable of. I`m
really, really scared. Dad, get behind the car or something. I don`t know
if he`s going to start shooting or not.


SHARPTON: That`s the voice of Shellie Zimmerman in a 911 call she
made today. And where she reports her husband George Zimmerman was
threatening, had assaulted her father, was continuing to put his hand on
the gun. At one point, she appears to be overwhelmed, another point, she
spears to be talking to her father saying get behind the car. I don`t know
if he`s going to shoot us or not.

Joining me now is former prosecutor Faith Jenkins and back with us
Lisa Bloom, Marcia Clark, and John Burris.

Faith, how do you respond to hearing this tape? I mean, whatever -- I
know the police are still at the house. We don`t know whether there`s
going to ultimately be an arrest, but to hear that tape, how do you respond
as a prosecutor?

being made in that tape. And the police are going to look at objective
evidence and see if they can corroborate any of what Shellie Zimmerman is
saying. Did he break the laptop? Is there broken laptop there? Did he
punched her dad in the nose? They`re going to look at his face and see if
there`s any bruising. And what you really seeing here is a troubling
pattern starting to emerge since George Zimmerman was acquitted in the
trial of Trayvon Martin.

Because he`s a person who says, he has a target on his back yet he is
repeatedly making himself so accessible, people know where he is every two
weeks. First he turned up as a hero rescuing a family whose car had
overturned. Then the next couple times he`s speeding. And now it`s this.

SHARPTON: John Burris, let`s go through that. He was acquitted on
July 13th. That was the verdict. Then on the 28th of July he was pulled
over for speeding in Texas. Then on the 22nd of August, he takes a photo
with the gun company owner. And then on September 3rd, he`s pulled over
for speeding this time in Florida -- John.

me and he has this sense of invincibility, if you will. He`s making
himself available. No one is doing these things to him. He`s doing them
himself. So, he wants -- he seems to want public attention. Even when he
was stopped once for the trafficking, he let the officer know repeatedly he
has a gun in the car. He wants people to know who he is. He even said to
the officer at one point, do you know who I am. So, there`s something
about an ego thing that`s going on here that he wants the public attention.

Sometimes when cases end, people are disappointed they`re not in the
public sight anymore. And he obviously has some issues that are going on
psychologically. And I think that this issue around his family is clear an
indication that he is a troubled young man in sense that he may have gotten
away with it. But you know, he`s getting a divorce from his wife, he
shouldn`t be back at the house. And certainly shouldn`t put himself in a
position when altercations not occur unless he has other things going on
and he feels somewhat invincible about all of this. But it`s a troubling -

SHARPTON: Lisa, you brought up earlier the fact that there were some
things that were not permitted in trial that is customary, but the fact is
he`s had his issues with the law in 2005. In July 2005, he was arrested
and charged with resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer.
And in August of the same year, his ex-fiance filed a restraining order
alleging domestic abuse. He then counter filed, both restraining orders
were granted. Lisa?

LISA BLOOM, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. That`s right. So this is a
not a new pattern. This is a pattern that`s been going on for about eight
years. Many of us feel this is exactly what happened on February 26, 2012,
the night that he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. I mean, we know to a
certainty whether you think he`s innocent or guilty that he immediately
jumped to false conclusions about Trayvon Martin and that he was caught on
the tape saying, you know, profane angry things about this young man that
he had never met before. That he didn`t know anything about. And we know
that ended in the death of that unarmed young man.

So, this is all part of George Zimmerman`s pattern. And I agree,
these are very serious charges. This isn`t just a couple people yelling at
each other in the course of the divorce. What she said on that tape is
that he has hand on a gun threatening her and her father. That he punched
her father in the nose. And that he smashed her iPad and cut it with a
wife. She said she was really, really afraid. I mean, these are very,
very serious allegations that she`s made today.

I`m surprised that so quickly she has turned around and said I`m not
going to press charges. And I question what has caused that. His
attorneys gotten to her. Has somebody gotten to her and gotten her to
immediately retreat from allegations that she made just earlier today?

SHARPTON: But Marcia Clark, we are told that whether she presses
charges or not is of no consequence in Florida that the state prosecutor
has to review this on whether or not there is warrants criminal

MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: That`s right. That`s right,
Reverend. And they have the tape to go by which is considered an excited
utterance which means it comes into evidence for all purposes to prove the
truth of the matter that she states there, that he hit her father. And of
course we also have the father. The father can testify. And she makes
reference to a neighbor who may have seen everything. That neighbor can
testify to everything. So, even if she is a reluctant witness, number one
she can be called to the stand. And require to take the stand.

And even if she refuses to testify to what happened, others can
testify to what happened. And they will play that tape. There is a case
that exists whether she testifies or not. I think it`s also a very salient
point. What John brought out is, you know, what is he doing at the house
at all? They`re in the middle of a divorce proceeding. You know, this is
extremely bad judgment consistent with the bad judgment he`s shown on prior

I think that this is a pattern of conduct that`s going on for a very
long time. And it seems to me that it`s escalating. And as Lisa brought
out, he goes to the gun factory, just horrible judgment. Horrible
insensitive judgment and then being at the house and smashing an iPad and
whatever else he did there. I don`t think we`ve heard the last of it.
Even if these charges don`t get filed, I suspect we`re going to see George
Zimmerman popping up again.


JENKINS: And here`s what- you can`t tell me that Mark O`Mara has not
tried to talk to George Zimmerman and advised him with the, you need to
keep a low profile. You just got acquitted in one of the most serious
charges second degree murder in a very high-profile case. You need to keep
a low profile. He is obviously disregarding that instruction. And it
reminds me what he did that night Trayvon Martin was killed. When he
disregarded that 911 operator and continued to go on and follow him. So,
it`s a very troubling pattern that we`re seeing here.

SHARPTON: Well, let me say, someone said that Mark O`Mara may have
talked to someone. Let me show you this is a video of Mark O`Mara who just
said that this is a video of him leaving the father-in-law`s house moments
ago. And he says now that George Zimmerman`s gun has been returned to him
by police. So, O`Mara just announced that. And this is the video of him
leaving. So, obviously he came to the scene dealing with this as someone
just said.

While I`m talking about Mark O`Mara, questions about him came up a lot
of places this weekend. He has joined CNN as a legal analyst. Now,
there`s no question he`s an effective lawyer, but look at what it meant.
He brought up evidence accusing Trayvon of being a thug. He claimed he had
a video footage of Trayvon`s friends beating up a homeless guy. But it was
really two homeless guys fighting over a bike. He later apologized saying
it was a mistake, I`ve acknowledge it, it happened and I`m sorry. Now he`s
a legal analyst at CNN.

BURRIS: I will tell you that I thought there are some unethical
things he did. When he made Trayvon look like he was a thug in a picture
and then brought forth that white woman to testify about what had happened
before creating the impression that Trayvon could have been that person or
someone like him and that he was up to the same kind of --

SHARPTON: When he brought the white female saying that blacks who did
not know Trayvon had nothing to do with Trayvon had in fact did a home
invasion on her is what you`re referring to.

BURRIS: And he really used the stand your ground in a racial way even
though he claims it wasn`t racial in course of that trial. And so I
thought it was quite deceptive, the things he did. Particularly shifting
all the negative stereotyping notions around Trayvon. And a way from what
his client was actually doing. And the D.A. never countered any of this
when he could have easily have done so.

JENKINS: Well, the gloves were off in the trial. I mean, that was
part of his strategy. To paint a portrait of this young man and
essentially put him on trial. And so that these jurors would look and we
talked about all of this before. So they would look and make a judgment
about him and take the focus away from George Zimmerman. That was a trial

SHARPTON: Now, getting back to Zimmerman, we see that, Lisa, that
Mrs. Zimmerman, Shellie Zimmerman who made the frantic call today, she told
"Good Morning America" that her husband was a selfish man. It was all
about him. Listen to this.


husband. And I think George is all about George. I stood by my husband
through everything. And I kind of feel like he left me with a bunch of
pieces of broken glass that I`m supposed to now assemble and make a life.


SHARPTON: Now, this was just last week Lisa when she announced she
was filing for divorce. Now we have this today.

BLOOM: Yes. I mean, this is a really disturbing situation. You
know, I`m the one who said, I wonder if one of George Zimmerman`s attorneys
got to Shellie who so quickly changed today from saying on the 911 call
that he was this violent threatening person to, oh, never mind we`re not
going to press charges. And now we see the video of Mark O`Mara leaving
the house. I hope that Shellie was represented by counsel if she was
engaging in conversations with Mark O`Mara. I hope that she wasn`t just
talking to him directly. I hope she understood what her rights were and
what the implications are of dropping charges or pressing charges.

I mean, this story just continues to get more and more disturbing the
more that we learn about it. The bottom line is for any domestic violence
victim, if indeed, you`re being threatened, you are the victim of an
assault, someone is brandishing or threatening a gun, you should press
charges and shouldn`t let their attorney come over and talk you out of it.

CLARK: And let me say, Shellie Zimmerman, she knows. When she calls
911, we`re talking about George Zimmerman here. She knows that call is
going to be recorded.

SHARPTON: Oh, yes.

CLARK: She knows immediately that everything is coming across in the
media, this is going to be reported on extensively. So, it`s amazing to
me. She`s gone through great lengths to distance herself from him. That
interview that she gave on national TV, and week before she filed for
divorce. And now this 911 call today. And so it`s very interesting that
to see so quickly that she`s now back tracking.

SHARPTON: And when she appeared in court on the charges we talked
about earlier connected, he did not come to court with her. That was part
of her complaint.

Faith Jenkins, Lisa Bloom, Marcia Clark, John Burris, I`m going to
have to leave it there. Thank you very much. We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: One of the big events in New York every year is fashion
week. But one of the things that expose some of the contradictions in some
of the big events is the lack of diversity in fashion week in terms of the
runway and the fashion industry. Back in 2008, Vogue ran an article
headlined "Is Fashion Racist?" Has anything changed since then? Well,
many are saying no, they haven`t.

We`re joined now by a legendary fashionista Andre Leon Talley.
Contributing editor for Vogue Magazine, he`s profiled in the latest issue
of Vanity Fair. Andre, thank you for joining me.

Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: And great to have you with us. Really an honor. You have
dealt with the industry at the highest levels. I mean, you`re legendary in
this field by any standards. And super legendary as a black that have
navigated in this field. How do you see the issue of diversity today in

TALLEY: September 2013, the dream is not achieved. Let me give you
an example starting with me personally. Yesterday in the "New York Times,"
a reporter referred to me as the peacock in residence at Vogue. The
establish love to use metaphors comparing black men to animals. Serena
Williams was once called a gazelle. These are the new words that replaced
that unutterable n-word. Since everyone likes to speak in metaphors to
animals, I said racism in the fashion industry is perpetually hibernating
like a big black grizzly bear.

It does un-rear its head as it does maybe on the south but it is
always there. It always has been. And it`s time now -- this new
coalition movement that has started this week has pin-pointed how you can
go to the most important fashion shows in American parts and see very few
girls of color on the runway.

SHARPTON: They wrote the diversity coalition, the group of models and
fashion insight has just wrote a letter to fashionably organizers and I`m
reading from the letter. It says eyes are on an industry that season after
season watches design houses consistently use one or no models of color.
No matter the intention, the result is racism. That decision is to use
basically all white models, reveals a trait that is unbecoming to modern

TALLEY: Totally agree. I totally, totally agree. It`s amazing that
this had to be done in 2013. This started back with this movement we used
to have town hall meetings in around 2007. Today for an example -- had
decide to having had an outstanding show.


TALLEY: She always had models of color in diversity, had six models
of color, African-American, African descent. It`s been decades, I think
decades. I` been around forever.


TALLEY: It`s been decades since I`ve seen any designer in America use
six African-American models of color on their runway show.

SHARPTON: And huge models have spoken out on this. Supermodels even.
Naomi Campbell, Iman. Let me show you some of their comments.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It doesn`t matter what color you are. If you
have the right talent, you should be up there and have the opportunity to
do the job.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Nobody is calling any of these designers racist.
The act itself is racism.


SHARPTON: I mean, so this -- you`re talking about people Naomi
Campbell, Iman, Andre, I mean, you. These are blacks at the top of the
field. You`re not talking about people that upset because they didn`t get
a gig.

TALLEY: Exactly. And let me just say, I`m grateful for my career in
fashion and my life at Vogue, but if I can really be accurate at the
countenance, fabulous ship of countenance with so many glamorous and
important successful magazines, I think in the history of countenance has
been one editor in chief who was an African-American.



SHARPTON: In the history.

TALLEY: In the history. I may be wrong, but I`m sure it`s only been

SHARPTON: Diversity at last year`s fashion week, for example, in
February, 83 percent of the models were white. Just seven percent of the
models were black. I mean, this has got to stop which is why we want to
focus on it.

TALLEY: This has got to stop. This is really got to stop. And we
call attention to it this week particularly we`re going to call attention
to it in Milan, Paris, and London because it does have to stop. It`s taken
for granted. Well, maybe one model is enough. But that is racism. That`s
just like a token model she`s thrown in there to keep people silent. But
you know, it`s a silent kind of thing. Racism is often very silent as you
will know.


TALLEY: Sometimes nuance. Even your best friends, your colleagues
can be totally unaware that they are doing racist things and they are
because they`re eliminating the beauty and diversity of women of color. I
mean, you know, Naomi is unique. Naomi is a supermodel.


TALLEY: Iman. This, so am I an icon, but I`m an icon that never was
offered an editor in chiefship.


TALLEY: The glass ceiling. I hit the glass ceiling and stayed there.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, I must say this. We`re out of time, but I
have to say this. I love reading about you and I love how you tell the
story that you got your sense of fashion growing up in North Carolina and
people were maids and doing domestic work.

TALLEY: Thank you. Thank you.

SHARPTON: But they got their best fashion on Sunday.

TALLEY: Best fashion. Church clothes. Church clothes were the
richest, the most important in my life.

SHARPTON: Wow! I love that story you tell no matter how huge you
become and you become that.


SHARPTON: You go back to your roots and say but this is where it all
came from.

TALLEY: This is where it all came from.

SHARPTON: Amazing.

TALLEY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Thank you.

TALLEY: Happy to be with you, Reverend Al. It`s an honor.

SHARPTON: Thank you to have you with us. Andre Leon Talley. Legend
in his own time. Thank you so much.

Coming up, everyone is still talking about our Apollo special. My
response is coming. "Reply Al" is ahead.


SHARPTON: Tomorrow is the primary elections in New York and instantly
over the weekend, I found quite disturbing. In a New York magazine
interview, the report has says to Mayor Bloomberg about Bill de Blasio
leading candidate to replace him in the democratic primary, quote, "He has
in some ways been running a class warfare campaign." Mayor Bloomberg
responded quote, "Class warfare and racist."

The reporter then questions it, quote, racist? Bloomberg responds,
well, no, no. I mean he`s making an appeal using his family to gain
support. I do not think he himself is racist. I find this to be way out
of bounds. I`ve worked with Mr. Bloomberg and I`ve worked in areas against
Mr. Bloomberg. But this is beneath the dignity of the office. Mr. De
Blasio who is white and married to a black female for over 20 years and
have two children who are biracial. To say that they are using -- he`s
using his family who are in commercials and attends places with him, as
other candidates in the race, is to me absolutely outrageous at best.

No one knew 20 years ago when Mr. De Blasio and his wife married he`d
be running for mayor. And to say he`s using his family to get votes is not
only insulting to his family who are obviously out there campaigning
because they believe in what he`s doing, it`s insulting to the black
community that we would vote because someone has black kids. There`s a
black in the race. Are we voting for him just because he`s black? Are we
unthinking, Mr. Bloomberg? Are we that gullible? What are you saying
about the people that you`ve been the mayor over for 12 years? Let`s known
what you`re saying about Mr. De Blasio. We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: It`s time for "Reply Al." Remember friend or foe, I want
to know.

Marianne writes, "Thank you for hosting "Advancing the Dream" we need
more programs like this to inspire the young and the old."

Well, you know, I`m glad that you said that. Because that`s exactly
what we were trying to do. Be celebratory about the progress made in the
last 50 years since Dr. King`s speech "I Have a Dream" and to inspire
people to do more because we`ve not achieved the dream yet. And we wanted
to use people, not civil rights leaders who spoke at the march, not policy
want, but people who have been extremely successful but would not have been
there had it not been for the civil rights struggle and the dream and what
was done for the last 50 years for them to celebrate and for them to
challenge and say what they had to do to match the movement to make that
dream become possible in their life. Let me show you some of the moments
that meant a lot to me in the special the other night.


SHARPTON: I said I know him. I grabbed my cell phone. I dialed you
and I got voice mail.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I grew up poor, but I didn`t have poor dreams.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We have to be about making sure that we own our own
businesses and we put our own people to work. Because if we come back and
it`s still the same thing, we`re not going to advance.

SHARPTON: They rub this for good luck. We have a small one downtown
that Phil Griffin gives Chris Matthews and I do it every night.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I never thought I would be sitting here at the
Apollo Theater.

SHARPTON: You decided to go to Newark. I mean, you could have
written your ticket on Wall Street --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Be careful now. You don`t talk about Newark that
way. I mean, I`m not running from that.


SHARPTON: And I got some new ideas for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Here we go. Here we go.

SHARPTON: Reverend Al, Tamron Hall, Melissa Harris-Perry. You know,
we got a little thing we can do.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Sometimes you have to take your dream and hide it
in your coat close to your heart so the people around you don`t tear it
apart. I think a problem is with a lot of our young people, we are so busy
trying to get away from where we come from that we don`t know who we are.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We need people to lead, to get out front on big
issues. And not to be afraid. To be bold.


To be courageous. When a person looks at you and say you can`t
because of the color of your skin, well I can`t relate to that because I
have never seen any color anyway.


(singing): We have overcome, we have overcome, we have overcome
today, deep in my heart we do believe, that we have overcome today.


SHARPTON: Stevie Wonder challenged us to keep on fighting, keep on
speaking, keep on moving until we can sing that we have overcome. We`re
not there yet, but we won`t stop until we do. Get there. Thanks for
watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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