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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Is Monogamy Killing Marriage?; Sharks Spotted Off the Coast of Cape Cod
Aired August 3, 2010 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALI WENTWORTH, GUEST HOST: Tonight is monogamy killing marriage? If you let your spouse stray, will they stay? Rethinking wedded bliss in the 21st century.
Then sharks in the water. One attacks and shreds the arm of a swimmer in Florida. Great whites are spotted off the coast of Cape Cod. They're lurking, look out.
Next, on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening, I'm Ali Wentworth sitting in for Larry. He's on vacation.
I'm very excited about this show tonight because it's two of my biggest fears. A great white shark attacking me or my husband cheating.
Now if you've ever been in a relationship you'll want to stay right here because we are talking about monogamy. It's been a hot topic on CNN.com all day.
Should couples have open relationships and disclose affairs? Could letting your man sleep with another woman actually help your relationship?
Well, that's what we're going to ask our guests tonight. Bethenny Frankel is here. She's a star of Bravo's "Bethenny Getting Married." She tied the knot in March.
BETHENNY FRANKEL, ACTRESS, BRAVO'S "BETHENNY GETTING MARRIED": Thank you.
WENTWORTH: Holly Hill is the author of "Sugarbabe." She says women should negotiate infidelity with their husbands. And Sarah Symonds is an author and infidelity analyst.
Hello, women, and welcome to a hot topic. Infidelity. I want to -- I want to first ask, have any of you been cheated on?
FRANKEL: Yes. I was cheated on. His -- he had a girlfriend while he was -- well, he was actually sleeping with her. I was his girlfriend. And she called me in the middle of the night at about 2:00 in the morning and said, can I speak to Michael?
I guess he's going to be listening. Hi, Michael.
Hi, can I speak to Michael, and I said, who is this? And she said, I'm his girlfriend. And we hung up the phone and I waited two hours and I star 69'd her so I can call her back and get all the details.
WENTWORTH: And she gave you all the details?
FRANKEL: And she gave me the details. You need the details.
WENTWORTH: Well, you always need the details.
Now, Holly -- Holly Hill author of "Sugarbabe," you actually think that's OK. You think that if you negotiate fidelity with your spouse or lover that actually makes for a long and successful relationship. Am I right?
HOLLY HILL, SAYS WOMEN SHOULD LET MEN CHEAT: Yes. Absolutely. And those details that we talk about, if you're meeting the women that your partner is being with, you're not building her up to be some kind of supermodel in your head.
And we always want to know the details. And the best way to get the details is ask her out for coffee and be adult about what is a very educated and natural thing to be doing.
FRANKEL: See, I think that was a low point in my relationship, in my life to be talking to that girl. It really had nothing to do with her. I was in the wrong relationship because I was with someone who was cheating. And I think that negotiating within your relationship about being allowed to cheat is absurd.
WENTWORTH: You know, Holly, it's one of the things that I -- I'm married. And one of the things that I think of in my marriage is that, you know, I can go to my girlfriends for emotional support or my shrink, and there are other venues where I can sort of get what I want.
But I feel that marriage, the one thing I have with my husband, which is sacred, is a sexual physical relationship. Otherwise, why be married?
HILL: I guess the only reason it's sacred is because it's -- there's old-fashioned rules that we're obeying. And if you want to have a lifetime relationship with someone -- which is what we all want -- it's about negotiating things within their nature and their biology.
WENTWORTH: Now, Sarah, you say that -- you started a fantastic Web site, MistressesAnonymous. But you're not saying that that's a good thing. This is really a support group for a lot of women that have been brokenhearted because they had an affair with a married man or wanted to be with a married man. Am I right? SARAH SYMONDS, AUTHOR & INFIDELITY ANALYST: Absolutely. And first of all, hi, Ali, thanks for having me on. Hi, ladies. I can absolutely resonate with Holly, I've been through certain, you know, similar experiences that she has.
But I have to say, if you are negotiating with somebody you probably are in the wrong relationship. Anything that needs that much negotiation probably isn't right and you should get out of it.
And that's who my Web site is about, that's what my support group is about. It's called MistressesAnonymous, which is like Alcoholics Anonymous. But in my group we can drink, and trust me, you need to.
It's, you know, a 12-step program. And literally I help women get out of their toxic affairs with married men, with unavailable men, with bad boys. It's a phenomenon that's going over America. You know women are attracting to these wrong guys. And I hear from women every single day. It's unbelievable.
WENTWORTH: Now I want to sort of open this debate up to all three of you, which is that a lot of people say, men and women clearly are different, and we have different needs and men really biologically, physically, their urge is to spread their seed throughout the land, and ours is to kind of, you know, incubate.
And when you put that in its very kind of specific scientific DNA kind of way, do we allow men because it is their physical urge to go out and have at it?
FRANKEL: I think women -- first of all, men are sleeping with the women. And I mean, speaking of the sharks that are going to be on the show tonight, there are a lot of women going out and preying on men. So I think it's equal. I think a lot of women have a big sexual appetite.
I think --
SYMONDS: Women going out and preying on men? Are you kidding me?
SYMONDS: Men prey on women.
FRANKEL: I think it's --
SYMONDS: Women prey on men?
FRANKEL: Absolutely but --
SYMONDS: Give me a break.
FRANKEL: I'm saying, women cheat also.
WENTWORTH: This has happened to Bethenny. Give her a break.
FRANKEL: Yes, a woman --
SYMONDS: She just said that they go out and prey on men. That is incomprehensible.
SYMONDS: Women do not prey on men.
WENTWORTH: No, no, no. Sarah, she means --
WENTWORTH: They don't try to somehow use a turkey baster and get pregnant.
SYMONDS: because we (INAUDIBLE) married men, right?
HILL: Negotiated infidelity is about beating 50 percent divorce rate.
WENTWORTH: Holly, I want to ask you something. Because you -- there's a metaphor in your book about how you have to have a dog on a leash. It's better to have a dog on a leash than having a dog go out the hole in the fence.
But my feeling is, doesn't the dog need to be housebroken first? Obviously an untamed dog will go through the hole in the fence, but you know my feeling is if you're in a good marriage, then why would you need to go through the hole in the fence?
HILL: Isn't it what --
HILL: It is our right as women to -- we have to cross our legs. And it doesn't matter the reasons why. It could be a pregnancy or a hard time in our life and we love our partner. He still has urges while our legs are crossed.
FRANKEL: But we may have urges, too.
HILL: And so we should negotiate an alternative for him. And that's very important if you love someone and you want them to be happy.
WENTWORTH: Holly, hold on a second because Bethenny is spreading her legs.
FRANKEL: Yes. We have may urges too. I will have urges. I'm not -- I don't think that for the rest of my life I would only be attracted to my husband if I saw someone else. But I would not act upon it. Because just like the way that I work -- the reason I'm successful is what you put into something is what you get out of it. And in a marriage, both people have to be realistic.
SYMONDS: Bethenny, where there's a real housewife there's a real mistress. Trust me. This is a new reality show that has --
FRANKEL: You sound very bitter.
SYMONDS: Real mistress behind that real housewife. Trust me. And you need to know what some of your husbands are doing behind the real housewife's back. And that is a new show that needs to be out there.
FRANKEL: Listen. If I were as angry as you I think my husband would be cheating on me.
WENTWORTH: Now, Sarah, Holly --
SYMONDS: I'm not angry.
WENTWORTH: Oh, Sarah, this is a nighttime news show.
WENTWORTH: Sarah and Holly, let me ask you this.
SYMONDS: I'm sorry. Is this the family hour?
WENTWORTH: Yes, this is the family hour. We're doing recipes for mac and cheese.
SYMONDS: I can't say it? Oral sex.
WENTWORTH: No, say it. No, you can say whatever you want, but I -- I just want to ask you a question. I want you to think about this and we'll come back after a break.
Holly and Sarah, do you believe that all men cheat? Think about it.
WENTWORTH: We're going to come back right after this. Straying and staying in marriage. Coming up next. It's getting hot in here.
WENTWORTH: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Ali Wentworth. And we're talking about cheating and whether it might be good for a marriage. We've got a hot debate going. I -- right before we went to the break I asked two of our guests, Holly Hill and Sarah Symonds, do you think all men cheat? Ladies?
HILL: Absolutely. A hundred percent of men are not mentally monogamous, which means they sexually write every single woman they see. So that means that they -- they aren't monogamous. They're not naturally monogamous and we have to cater to that in our relationships.
WENTWORTH: But, Holly, should we cater to that or is it something that, you know, for instance, if you're on a diet, don't go into the bakery, right?
I mean, I think that when a man has made a commitment to a marriage, maybe instead of us saying, well, you know, that's what men like to do, we've got to let them doing, maybe it's something they need to honor, otherwise the whole moral structure of a society goes out the window.
HILL: Well, I don't think there's a woman alive that hasn't wondered why he is late home from the office Christmas party. So naughty feminism is about changing that around and it's about exchanging vulnerability for power.
And if you're harnessing your men's sex drive and you're saying aye or nay to various sexual partners or sexual acts, that puts you in a lot of control. So you exchange vulnerability and paranoia for empowerment. And that's what this is all about.
FRANKEL: You're talking about arrangements, having agreements with your husband. It is like a negotiation. And the problem is that one person is always acquiescing. One person thinks it's a good idea so they can go out and get some. And the other person is acquiescing.
And that's the reason why everybody in the relationship will never be happy with that -- with that arrangement.
WENTWORTH: Sarah, you were having an affair with your now husband. Is that correct? You met him when he was married, Sarah?
SYMONDS: God, I wish I had a husband. No, I was having an affair with Gordon Ramsay for seven years and he's still married.
WENTWORTH: I know, sweetie. (CROSSTALK)
WENTWORTH: I was setting you up for that.
SYMONDS: No, but can I just say --
WENTWORTH: Yes, I'd like to hear what you have to say.
SYMONDS: You know what? The only good thing about something that is negotiated like infidelity is all three parties -- because in an affair, in infidelity there are three sides, the wife, the husband and the mistress.
So the only good thing about something that is negotiated is that all sides have their ways on the table. OK? I -- I think that people, you know, should put fidelity into their marriage and their relationships. I don't want them to go down the infidelity route.
However, if they're going to, at least -- if they're negotiating it -- you know, there's nothing worse than being a humiliated wife. There's nothing worse than being a mistress who's waiting for a man who's never going to leave his wife.
WENTWORTH: So, Holly --
SYMONDS: And in some respects, there's nothing worse than being a man who's living two lives.
SYMONDS: Tell me what you think about that.
HILL: Mistresses are about lying.
WENTWORTH: Holly, let me ask you something.
HILL: Mistress is a dishonest way to conduct these types of relationships.
WENTWORTH: But, Holly, Holly, let me ask you something.
SYMONDS: But that's what I'm talking about is honesty.
WENTWORTH: Holly, let me talk to you for a second because you've written this book "Sugarbabe" where you actually put an ad out saying that you are a great cook, you could cook for them, you could have sex with them, you could be -- listen to their problems. And for starting, what, $1,000 a week and you got 11,000 responses. HILL: Yes.
WENTWORTH: But let me ask you, with all these men, these sugar daddies that came into your life, A, did you ever fall in love with any of them? Or B, were you ever with one exclusively and another one called and said, you know, I want to do that position in the McDonald's drive-thru, get over here? I mean how did that work?
HILL: No, I was -- part of the arrangement was that I was exclusive 24/7, and I charged $1,000 as a result of that, and apparently I was the laughing stock of the sex industry because that meant I was actually only charging something like $6.80 an hour because I was available to them 168 hours in the week.
But it was an extraordinary time where I got to interview many men about their cheating habits. And why they are cheating. And most of the time it's because the woman at home has crossed her legs and he's simply not getting enough sex.
WENTWORTH: But, Holly, is that --
HILL: This is why --
WENTWORTH: Is that negotiating infidelity or is that prostitution?
FRANKEL: I can't even believe it.
HILL: No, this was -- I'm happy to wear that label --
SYMONDS: Can I answer that question?
WENTWORTH: Go ahead, Sarah. Come in --
HILL: I'm happy to wear that label, but if you use that label --
SYMONDS: Can I go there, Ali?
HILL: -- in my particular situation --
WENTWORTH: Go there, Sarah, jump in.
HILL: -- it also means that a wife who stays with your husband that she doesn't love is also a sex --
SYMONDS: First of all, Holly -- first of all Holly is speaking from an ex-mistresses' point of view. She is very submissive, very subservient. I've been there, Holly. So I know what it feels like to be waiting for a guy, you know, cooking, cleaning, waiting for him.
And, you know -- so you happen to charge for it. So many women who write to me who are mistresses, they've been in four-year relationships, six year, 10-year relationships, they do it for free.
Do not talk to me about prostitution. The good thing about prostitutes is they offer a service. They pay to get -- have sex. Mistresses fall in love for free. And they are the type of women who write to me every single day with their hearts broken, the wives are sitting at home having their bills paid, having the Mercedes in the driveway, and the mistresses are in love with a man living his life for nothing.
And that is where my passion comes from.
SYMONDS: Which is wrong.
WENTWORTH: Are we saying that our -- that our husbands should go to Holly and pay and get it over with and then come back to us while we make roast chicken?
SYMONDS: I'm not saying -- but many men have told me that they're in prostitutional relationships with their wives. They said that their wives won't sleep with them and that's just something on the table for them.
FRANKEL: We're not talking about children at all.
HILL: I'm telling you what men are telling me.
WENTWORTH: All right. Relax.
FRANKEL: We're not talking about children. Why even get married? Why get married if you want to have an arrangement?
SYMONDS: I agree. I agree.
FRANKEL: Why have children? The problem is you shouldn't have children. The reason -- one of the reasons for monogamy is for your children. You don't want to be humiliated but you don't want to humiliate your kids either. I mean I can't even believe that this would even be --
HILL: Share your partner --
FRANKEL: Excuse me? They're your partner.
HILL: -- is a beautiful thing to do. You know a friend or girlfriend, she might be lonely. Would you like to borrow my partner?
FRANKEL: Share your partner?
HILL: I'm not using him 24/7.
FRANKEL: Are you --
WENTWORTH: I'm going to go to a break now.
WENTWORTH: Holly, I'm going to go to break now before this gets completely out of hand and we become Jerry Springer.
FRANKEL: Share your partner --
WENTWORTH: Our next guest learns firsthand that so many cheaters --
WENTWORTH: Yes, it could be my husband and I will get to you about that, Holly. That this well-deserved support group is here to talk to this man. He's coming up next. And I'm sure if anybody out there is having some issues with infidelity they can call in to LARRY KING LIVE.
WENTWORTH: Welcome back. We welcome Ken Savage to the show. Ken caught his wife cheating through Facebook so he started a support site -- of sorts -- called FacebookCheating.com.
KEN SAVAGE, FOUND OUT VIA FACEBOOK WIFE WAS CHEATING: Hi, Ali.
WENTWORTH: Now, walk us through how you found out your wife was cheating.
SAVAGE: Well, when you walk into the room and she's on a computer and she closes the laptop very quickly or a quick "hey, it's you, what are you doing home so early" type of thing, you know something's going on.
And, you know, it's the middle of the afternoon and it's kind of weird that you jump so high. You know I didn't really startle you. So that's a good indication or a good start anyway.
WENTWORTH: Right. So you had this kind of intuition. But what's remarkable is that the way you went about finding out if she was cheating was highly technological. In fact, you had an alarm clock with a hidden camera. Is that how you actually saw the act? So to speak? Of her with another man?
SAVAGE: Well, it started off with just recording, you know -- I've asked a dozen times, what's going on, who are you talking to? If it's old boyfriends, it's fine, I don't mind. I trusted my wife.
It led to really there's nothing going on. And I knew there was something. So I bought technology to prove otherwise and, you know, I was right. WENTWORTH: And so, I'm curious, you had this hidden camera and you videotaped your wife with this man which you then watched streamlined at work. Correct?
SAVAGE: I could have. I didn't use it to that degree, but it was set up and ready to go type thing. It was more physically chatting on the computers is what sealed it for me. Also --
WENTWORTH: So, Ken, you didn't actually watch videotape of your wife having sex with another man?
SAVAGE: No, no, no.
SAVAGE: It wouldn't have gotten that far. That's for sure.
WENTWORTH: Yes. Well, it's -- I went on your Web site, and it's -- it's basically people who have been cheated on writing their stories of how they dealt with infidelity. Now it's gotten a lot of hits. It's become extremely popular.
Now do you find that people go on the Web site, they read the stories and it sort of hits home for them and they think, oh my god, I need to check out my spouse? My spouse was doing the same things, or wearing the same sweat pants and going out for Chinese at 3:00 in the morning? Have you found that?
SAVAGE: Right. A lot of people come and ask questions like I'm an expert at spying on your -- your spouse. I'm not. I just try to put the story out there and how I found out and how easy it was to use Facebook to set up relationships.
You know, I just wanted to trust my wife and I used technology to prove otherwise.
WENTWORTH: Well, it opens up a whole other world for relationships. Don't you find that, Bethenny?
FRANKEL: Well, I mean I think that you can't really have much privacy with Facebook and Twitter. I mean someone could be in a restaurant thousands of miles away and you could find out exactly what they're doing.
So I mean it might be a way for people to catch their spouses cheating. It's sick, but --
SYMONDS: I think Facebook is a wonderful way of finding out if your partner is cheating on you or not. As sad as it is, it's the product of, you know, 21st century.
SAVAGE: But at the same -- but at the same time, if you're dumb enough to put that on Facebook then you're going to get caught anyway. So what's the point?
SYMONDS: True. (CROSSTALK)
WENTWORTH: Well, I think a psychiatrist would say you're dying to get caught.
SYMONDS: It's better to be caught and not know at all.
FRANKEL: But it wouldn't be you -- necessarily you, sir. It might be someone just saw somebody and post the picture. It doesn't have to be that you're doing espionage.
SYMONDS: Well, then you confront your partner. But isn't it better to put it out there and know than live in denial? You know what's the point of that? What's the point swim in denial? That's no --
FRANKEL: You are the mistress, right? I just want to -- and you were the mistress --
HILL: It's the dishonesty that is wrong.
SYMONDS: I was.
HILL: It's not the sex that's wrong.
FRANKEL: So how have you been wronged?
HILL: And we're demonizing sex because we've surrounded it with dishonesty.
FRANKEL: Holly, excuse me one second.
HILL: We need to start --
FRANKEL: Holly, excuse me. How are you wronged if you're the mistress? I'm really confused. How are you wronged if you're the mistress, Sarah?
SYMONDS: How was I was?
HILL: A mistress encourages her -- the man in her life to lie to his wife. This is not about --
FRANKEL: I know. I'm asking, too. I'm asking --
SYMONDS: You know a mistress --
HILL: A mistress is about lying as well. (CROSSTALK)
SYMONDS: A mistress and a wife has a lot in common.
HILL: Negotiating infidelity is very different from cheating.
SYMONDS: They are both in love with a man who's cheating on them and lying to them. A mistress is very much like a wife setting up with a man who's --
HILL: Negotiated infidelity --
FRANKEL: Except if you're the mistress, you knew what was -- you know that a person is married.
HILL: A mistress is a dishonest wife.
FRANKEL: I know, Holly.
HILL: She's a liar.
FRANKEL: Holly, you need a --
SYMONDS: Can I answer the question or not?
WENTWORTH: All right. I need to take over. As much fun as it is to watch the big cockfight out here. I do want to ask Ken one question which is, Ken, have you found that as a support group your Web site has really worked? Do people comment to each other? Do they befriend each other and say, hey, I went through the same thing and, you know, this is how I'm dealing with it?
SAVAGE: Yes, a lot of people, they go on the Web site. Thousands read it. Hundreds comment and they say, you know, nobody's saying hey, thanks for the information. They're telling their story.
I told my story and I just kind of sat back and let other people do theirs. They're revealing what's going on, and --
SAVAGE: That's part of the community. That's part of what the Web site -- why it's so successful.
WENTWORTH: Well, I think it's great and I --
SAVAGE: People sharing and finding out. WENTWORTH: I think it's great, Ken, and I actually think that you're going to find probably the love of your life somehow on that support Web site. So good luck to you.
And more on marriage, monogamy and misbehaving spouses, and if I'm lucky I can get all three of my guests in a big mud pile together. So stay with us.
WENTWORTH: We're back with Bethenny Frankel, Holly Hill and Sarah Symonds. And we're talking about infidelity, a very hot subject that could really take us through until breakfast.
The one thing I really want to get a strong opinion from all my guests is what you three women believe in when I say, does infidelity make for a stronger marriage? Now call me old-fashioned, if my husband cheats, I leave, I write a tell-all book, it becomes a movie with Meryl Streep, and I'm happy.
But, let's start with you, Bethenny. Do you believe that if either you or your husband stray it will make your marriage stronger?
FRANKEL: It is a cancer in a relationship that at least one person will never be able to get over. And marriage is not a negotiation. It's a commitment. And don't get married. If you want to sleep around, sleep with everybody in town. Don't get married. And if you want to have kids, you could have kids alone. It's a very modern age right now. You don't have to be married and embarrassing yourself and your children.
WENTWORTH: Holly? Holly Hill?
HILL: I completely disagree. A marriage -- I completely disagree. A marriage isn't a commitment. It is a negotiation. You shouldn't be negotiating everything in the relationship. And that if you -- if you bring out your man's competitive nature, which is part of his biology, your marriage will be much healthier for it, because he's not going to want someone sitting at home that's dedicated to him 24/7, that's got the kitchen apron on and has let herself go. But if you're both out having other lovers, it's the sure way to keep the marriage alive and healthy.
WENTWORTH: Holly, let me ask you this very quickly, because I'm a bit of a germophobe, I don't need to be riddled in STDs if my husband is out having fun. How do you feel about disease when it comes to making your marriage stronger through infidelities? How do you answer that?
HILL: Well, it's a very big rule, and this is the thing. If you're managing your partner's fidelity, if you're walking the dog on a leash and not letting him escape through the hole in the back fence, you're going to make sure he doesn't get fleas. The STDs come in where he's cheating or he's pashing off some drunk girl at the pub. If you take control of the reins, you aren't going to have STDs, because you're in control of the situation and you're making sure that they use protection.
WENTWORTH: Sarah, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.
SYDMONDS: OK. I'm a little bit torn between Bethenny and Holly, because I agree with Bethenny, amazingly, in the fact that if your relationship is the right one, you shouldn't be looking for somebody else. As I said earlier, trust me, if there's a real housewife, there's a real mistress behind her.
With Holly, I know where she's coming from, but don't agree with the fact that all men have to have something else on the side. You know, if you're in -- I do agree with women having to be open to things. I think all women should be open to having, perhaps, a threesome. Saying open to it -- it doesn't mean you have to do it. But the moment you close the door on man's fantasy is the moment that he walks out and does it with somebody else, and there's always another woman who will do it with him.
All I'm saying to women is be empowered. Be the best woman you can. Make him want you and live his fantasies out. Don't make him want somebody else. Be everything he wants.
WENTWORTH: We're talking a lot about men going off and cheating. What about the woman? Is it OK for the women --
: Like I said, we have till breakfast. So go.
FRANKEL: Of course women are cheating.
HILL: A cheating woman is a lot more dangerous than a cheating man, because women have sex for intimacy, whereas men have sex for the thrill.
FRANKEL: You think of the world as women in aprons and men going out like animals. It's a lot more equal now. I'm certainly not -- I'm ironically a chef, but I don't spend that much time in an apron. I'm a businessperson. I'm equally as strong minded as a man.
WENTWORTH: Listen, if my husband is going off with, you know, stewardesses and cocktail waitresses then I'm heading out on a greyhound bus to L.A to find --
FRANKEL: They could be nurses and doctors and lawyers. Don't stereotypical (sic) the type of other woman you think that they're going after because it's so not true. That is a misconception.
WENTWORTH: Who's ever seen a successful relationship or marriage where both men or women are outside of the marriage having infidelities? I have not seen a successful marriage --
FRANKEL: I think it's happening a lot.
FRANKEL: How about Bill Clinton and Hillary? How about Bill Clinton and Hillary? That's a successful marriage when they were doing their own thing outside of the marriage.
WENTWORTH: Well, we don't know all the details of that.
Ladies, I think in this topic we're swimming with sharks. Now we are literally going to go swimming with sharks. We're going to get ready to hit the beach in Cape Cod and find out why there are so many great white sharks off shore. What's going on? Are they negotiating infidelities with humans? We'll tell you next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember seeing a dark fin coming toward me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
: It's Shark Week on TV and in real life. The Discovery Channel is promoting its 23rd annual Shark Week just as sharks are being spotted off the coast of Massachusetts and New Jersey. Yesterday, a 37-year-old woman's arm was shredded in a shark attack in Florida.
Joining us, Andy Dehart. He's Discovery Channel's shark adviser and marine biologist and part of the network's Shark Week. Krishna Thompson is a shark attack survivor. Celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife in the Bahamas, he lost his leg when a bull shark tore into him. Philippe Cousteau is chief ocean correspondent for Planet Green. This month, he's hosting Blue August, a month of special programming about the world's oceans. He's the president of Earth Eco International and grandson of legendary oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.
Wow. You guys have a long intro, don't you? Welcome. Thank you so much for being here. I have to say there's nothing that scares me more than a shark, which is why I won't even take a bath. I think most people would say that it's "Jaws" that ruined it for them. It's been, you know, two decades since "Jaws." But all of a sudden, we're seeing in the news more and more great white sharks being sighted, like they said, in Cape Cod and New Jersey. Andy, why?
ANDY DEHART, DISCOVERY CHANNEL MARINE BIOLOGIST: Well, we've done a great job at saving our seal populations in Massachusetts. When you save the marine mammals, which are food to great whites, the great whites are going to hone in on that and come back to feed.
WENTWORTH: So they're looking for seals and instead --
DEHART: they are looking for seals. They're not looking for people. Great whites do not routinely feed on people.
WENTWORTH: Can't they tell? Like with me, I have blond hair. I'm in a Lily Pulitzer (ph) bikini. No.
DEHART: They can. That's why you haven't been bitten by a great white shark.
WENTWORTH: Well, that's because I don't go in water. I'm a sand girl. I want to talk to you because you had -- it was your tenth wedding anniversary.
KRISHNA THOMPSON, SHARK ATTACK SURVIVOR: Actually, today is my wedding anniversary. August 3rd.
WENTWORTH: Thank you so much for being here. Is she mad? We've been talking about infidelity and stuff. I hope you have a little bit of bling to bring home.
THOMPSON: She's fine.
: Yes, she is. Can you let us have a window into what happened with your incredible tragedy?
THOMPSON: Back in 2001 we were celebrating our tenth year wedding anniversary.
THOMPSON: And it was a milestone. We decided to go to the Bahamas to celebrate. And basically I went in the water and from the corner of my eye I --
WENTWORTH: How far out are you now in the water?
THOMPSON: I am actually --
WENTWORTH: About 20 feet out?
THOMPSON: You know, I don't want to -- I'm not really sure how far out, but I was in the shallow. I remember the water was between five and six feet, you know, with the waves five to six feet.
WENTWORTH: Andy, that's nothing. That's nothing.
DEHART: If you look at shark attacks statistics, one to three feet is about the average for shark attacks. It's not because sharks are feeding there more often.
WENTWORTH: They're stuck?
DEHART: It's just that's where we're bathing frequently.
WENTWORTH: I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'm trying to protect myself.
THOMPSON: Also, Hurricane Barry was off the coast, so the water was very murky, choppy. And it was just frigid. It wasn't like the day before when I was in the water.
WENTWORTH: So you're swimming and you see a fin coming right toward you?
THOMPSON: It's coming right towards me from the corner -- from the right side of my eye, I saw this shark fin approaching me. And the first thing I had to do was just get out of its path. I just tried to turn around and start swimming toward the land and to get away from the shark. But, of course, I -- I actually --
WENTWORTH: This is a re-enactment we're showing here, which is horrifying.
THOMPSON: I actually thought I was going to get away, but it caught my left leg between my knee and my ankle.
WENTWORTH: But This is -- you know, this is everyone's greatest fear, a fin coming toward you. What's going through your head? Are you thinking how do I get away? Are you having flashbacks of your life? I mean --
THOMPSON: No, I'm just thinking I'm just going to get out of the way before the shark gets to where I am right now.
WENTWORTH: You just start swimming like crazy?
THOMPSON: Yes. Exactly. I actually thought I was going to get away, but it caught my left leg.
WENTWORTH: Now when it caught your left leg, I would imagine -- what I've read about sharks is they kind of pull -- they tug you and pull you under. Are you still swimming?
THOMPSON: Actually I felt the shark swim between my legs. It grazed my right inner knee, caught my left leg. I heard its teeth go -- it caught me.
WENTWORTH: You heard the teeth on your bones?
THOMPSON: I heard those teeth crunch right on to my leg. It just starting towing me out, further out into the ocean. You're just shocked. You can't believe it. You're kind of hangs out there. You know, like in Seaworld when dolphins have you --
WENTWORTH: Yes, I don't go there anymore either.
THOMPSON: And the water splashing in your face. And you kind of just -- for a couple seconds, you're just out of it. You just can't believe it.
WENTWORTH: Phillipe, let me ask you this: did he do the right thing? If a great white or any shark is coming toward you, should you start swimming as fast as you can toward shore?
PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CHIEF OCEAN CORRESPONDENT, "PLANET GREAN": No. Not necessarily. I mean, sharks can certainly out-swim human beings and they can sense panic. So probably the best thing to do is try and stay calm and actually turn around and face that shark. I have to say, every time there's a shark attack or two every summer, people declare it the summer of the shark. I think that that's a mistake. This does happen, but it happens so infrequently. If people are afraid of being attacked by sharks, then they should really be afraid of being hit by lightning. That happens more often. They should buy a lot of Lottery tickets, because you're more likely to win the lottery oftentimes than you are of being attacked by a shark.
Last week in Yellowstone, three campers were attacked by a grizzly bear. One of them was killed. We're not calling it the year of the bear. I think while it's grisly and I think our fear of sharks taps into a primal fear of the unknown, a primal fear of the darkness beneath us that we can't see, we have to understand it's very, very rare. And sharks are very important to the health of the ecosystems.
And that we kill upwards of 100 million sharks every year. And ultimately sharks have a lot more to be afraid of from us than we do from them.
WENTWORTH: OK. Well, no -- and I agree, but sharks are good for TV ratings, if I can just say that.
COUSTEAU: That's true.
WENTWORTH: We're going to come back and talk more about sharks, because there's -- I have a million questions, especially if one is coming after you, what will you do? Stay with us.
: Andy, I want to ask you this: when a human being is swimming in the ocean, usually sharks take a bite, aren't interested in and leave. I mean, it's really -- that's more the case than they actually attack and eat, swallow, digest a human being. Right?
DEHART: Correct. The usual case is the shark sees the human and swims the opposite direction. Less than 100 attacks per year worldwide. Last year, only 61 attacks, five fatalities. So, as Phillipe said, you're far more likely to get hit by lightning on the beach than you are by a shark.
But, yes, sometimes when sharks do come to investigate, it's usually a case of mistaken identity. It thinks you might be a seal. It will come up, take one bite. They do not come back and they don't digest you.
WENTWORTH: It's like me with pate. I take a bite, I spit it out. It's disgusting. Now, Krishna, you've been back in the water since then. Most people would take up golf. You've actually swum in the Bahamas since this attack.
THOMPSON: Actually, no, I've been to Jamaica. I went back to Jamaica. WENTWORTH: And swam in the ocean?
WENTWORTH: You are now affiliated with each other. I want to learn what you've done since this attack. You know, people -- it's always different what they chose to do after they have some kind of a life-changing moment.
THOMPSON: Right. One of the first things that I -- right now, I'm on the Speaker as a Bureau for the Blood Services. I basically motivate people -- I go to colleges and companies and motivate people to donate blood, because I know how important that is firsthand.
WENTWORTH: Yeah. You lost a lot.
THOMPSON: Yes, a whole lot. And secondly, I also protect the sharks. I help conservation of sharks. I help to keep them alive.
WENTWORTH: Why -- Andy and Phillipe as well, why are we killing all these sharks? Is it for steaks? Is it for kabobs?
DEHART: They're worth a lot of money. A bowl of Shark Fin Soup in China can go for 150 dollars a bowl.
COUSTEAU: It's luxury item, as well. That's the thing that's frustrating. Mostly, for the Shark Fin Soup trade, where they cut off the shark's fins, oftentimes when they're still alive, and then dump them back in the water. This is happening and decimating shark populations around the world. They use that to make a soup that they actually flavor with chicken broth, because the cartilage in the fin has very little flavor. It's really the texture and the prestige of Shark Fin Soup in Asian cultures, mostly Chinese cultures, Singapore, China and Chinatowns around the United States and around the world where this is consumed.
However, we are hunting systematically sharks around the world, which has a debilitating effect on the health of the eco systems in which they live. If you think of wolves, for example, out in the Midwest and how they help to keep the elk and deer populations healthy, sharks provide much the same service in the oceans. Without a healthy shark population, you can bet that the ecosystem as a whole will be degraded, including the types of fish that people rely on to either sell or in many of these developing countries that rely on as their primary source of protein.
So destroying the shark population has a very, very negative effect on both the health of wild ecosystems and, in many cases, human society.
WENTWORTH: Are more sharks being killed than are being replenished in our oceans?
COUSTEAU: I think so. You know, the rate of over 100 million sharks a year being killed is far faster than we can replenish them. We know from research in most countries -- most oceans around the world that shark populations are plummeting from baselines of just a few decades ago. And this is one of the greatest fisheries crises that we're facing.
I think that a lot of people are complacent in that, because they look and think of a shark as the only good shark is a dead shark. That's just not really true.
WENTWORTH: Andy, would you say it's really about changing our image of what a shark is? I know that there was an animated movie "Shark Tale" that came out a few years ago. Again, he was a good guy. I think maybe people need to change their perception.
DEHART: Certainly. I think it's a good point that the hammerhead population, for example, in the northeastern Atlantic has dropped by 90 percent -- over 90 percent in just the last 20 years. Again, it's this change of perception. I think We are seeing that gradually over time. A lot of it has to do with public aquariums. A lot of it has to do with programming that gets people involved with sharks.
I think if we were seeing now what we we're seeing in Massachusetts 20 years ago, you would see every fisherman -- every fishing boat in Massachusetts out there trying to shoot and harpoon these great whites. We're not seeing that this year, which is a good thing.
COUSTEAU: It is a good thing. I must say, I've been diving with sharks myself. I know Andy has as well. Sharks are beautiful and they're graceful. I talk to so many people who have been on shark dives. And they're afraid of getting in the water. When they do, when they get under water, they see how graceful and beautiful they are and majestic. They're not these mindless, man-eating monsters.
WENTWORTH: They are beautiful from afar. Coming up, what to do if you are attacked by a shark, right after this break.
: Welcome back. Wyclef Jean will be here Thursday. It's an exclusive, his first since making the decision about running for president of Haiti. That's Thursday's LARRY KING LIVE.
We're back with sharks. Now, hypothetically, if a shark was coming after you or if you were maybe thinking of swimming in a great body of water -- I actually have a list of things that people on this particular website about shark attacks have said. "Always swim in a group," because I guess if you're swimming alone, they think you are a sea lion or seal. Is that correct? "Avoid the water at night, dawn or dusk." Is that correct?
DEHART: Dawn and dusk are peak feeding times for sharks. So good time to avoid.
WENTWORTH: Don't enter the water if you are bleeding.
DEHART: It's a gimme. WENTWORTH: I think that makes sense. Don't wear shiny jewelry, because they think it's a fin or --
DEHART: That can be an old wives tale.
WENTWORTH: That's just because men don't want to buy us bling, really.
DEHART: It could be.
WENTWORTH: Obviously, avoid waters that are being fished a lot.
WENTWORTH: Because, to me, then you're going to end up on a hook more than a shark. Here is one: "don't enter the water if sharks are present."
DEHART: Unless you're shark diving.
WENTWORTH: Unless you're shark diving, but then you have a cage.
DEHART: Or not.
WENTWORTH: And a professional person or --
WENTWORTH: Don't you have a dart gun? Is there anything you have with you?
WENTWORTH: If you want to go swim with sharks, god bless. Don't splash a lot, is that right?
DEHART: Sharks are attracted by low-frequency noises. Splashing, thrashing can potentially bring them in. Not always.
WENTWORTH: OK. He swam probably -- you probably thrashed around a little while you were swimming to shore. Look at him. Right?
DEHART: Krishna is a great example of a shark attack survive. The willingness to live, do whatever it takes to get away from the shark and it makes a difference.
THOMPSON: That's right. Can't panic. That's the first thing.
WENTWORTH: Don't panic?
THOMPSON: Don't panic at all.
WENTWORTH: It's so easy for you to say. I'm just -- I'm sphitzing just thinking about this. Also, they say don't try to touch a shark if you see one. Again, I don't know who is writing this list, but it's sort of self explanatory. Don't try to touch the shark. DEHART: You would be amazed at the number of people who scuba dive that try to grab a nurse shark and pull them out of a cave. There's been more than 50 attacks by nurse sharks, primarily from people trying to grab them and pull them out of their cave to look at them.
WENTWORTH: OK, don't touch the sharks. Don't try to pet the sharks. Don't feed the sharks, right?
: Keep your distance from the sharks.
DEHART: Just watch them. Enjoy your experience. Don't touch.
WENTWORTH: You've seen this footage of a shark that sort of washed up on the Jersey Shore, and he's kind of flipping on the sand. They always show in these news stories the big great white shark jumping out of the water, pulling a helicopter down.
WENTWORTH: This one is the sweetest little shark. You want to name him, you know, Fido and take him home. It's sweet. I wish they showed more of this every time they said in Chattah, Massachusetts, a great white sighting. No. It's a little minnow. It's a Disney character. So I think it's important to say that. I think we should sort of change our thinking about sharks in general.
More than half the shark species are less than three feet long. There's over 400 species of sharks.
So, yes, there's a very big misconception that all sharks are man eaters, and none of them are.
WENTWORTH: OK. Also, this doesn't have it on the list, but I would say, stay away from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Isn't that kind of Spring Break for sharks?
DEHART: It's a fantastic place to dive. I'm sure Phillipe could tell you the same thing.
WENTWORTH: It is? Would you ever dive with sharks?
WENTWORTH: You're a strong man. You're a really strong man. I'm impressed. I don't know if I could go back. Philippe, what would you do if a shark was coming after you?
COUSTEAU: I think it would depend on the circumstances.
WENTWORTH: You're swimming. COUSTEAU: If I'm swimming, I know that I wouldn't be able to out-swim the shark. I think probably the best thing to do -- what I would do would be turn around and face it, see if there's some way that if the shark -- we know from a lot of reports that a shark will often times bump somebody and then come back, or sense -- try to find out what's going on because it's an alien creature in the water. I think you probably have a better chance if the shark was coming at me to try to bump its nose or to try and veer it off than swimming away from it, because there's no out-swimming a shark.
WENTWORTH: OK. But let's not friend Facebook --
COUSTEAU: No. We definitely want to give them respect and stay away.
WENTWORTH: Larry, thank you so much for letting me sit in tonight. Enjoy your vacation. Time now for "ANDERSON COOPER 360." Have a good evening.