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California Wildfires Devastate Wine Country; Catalonia Political Crisis; Trump IQ Boast; Harvey Weinstein's Wife Announces Separation; Harvey Weinstein Scandal; International Day of the Girl. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired October 11, 2017 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, entire neighborhoods of California's famed wine country wiped out as some of the worst wildfires in state history rages on.
A shocking new report claims the one big-time Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein used his power and position to rape women.
Catalonia's president claims we have earned the right to be independent, a statement challenging 300 years of Spanish history.
Hello and welcome to our viewers from all around the world, I'm Isha Sesay. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.
SESAY: High winds and low humidity are fueling more than a dozen wildfires across Northern California right now. At least 17 people are dead and authorities fear the death toll will rise because the flames are spreading so fast.
The fires have destroyed more than 40,000 hectares of land and forced more than 20,000 people from their homes. A major wildfire is burning here in Southern California as well; the Canyon 2 fire in Anaheim has scorched more than 3,000 hectares and is looming over some of the state's best-known tourist attractions.
Here's CNN's Amara Walker.
AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eerie images in a tourist mecca. The iconic smiling face of Mickey Mouse shrouded in angry orange skies. Halloween pumpkins backlit with fire clouds, making for a menacing display.
A statute of Walt Disney almost looks to be pointing at the sinister haze. Social media pictures from Anaheim's Disneyland give an ominous view of California's wildfires, raging uncontrollably nearby. As thousands are forced to flee, scenes of destruction are all that's
left of some of California's famed destinations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I walked about a mile up that way. Armageddon. It's just gone. Everything's gone.
WALKER (voice-over): In Northern California, the rolling hills of Napa Valley, home to world class wineries that draw millions of tourists every year, now reduced to ashes. In opulent Wine Hall, enveloped in fire, bottles of fine wine, burned out on racks. Vine- covered fields decimated with flames.
Nearby, pro golfers battled on one of Napa's lush courses hours before they, too, were forced to leave as the site of a PGA tournament was scorched by flames. Of course, visitors can return home but many residents will return to this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My house is OK. All my neighbors aren't. I just don't know where to go from here.
WALKER (voice-over): Where California's famous palm trees once lined well-kept neighborhoods, ash now surrounds burned-out homes and white smoke blots out the sun in sunny California -- Amara Walker, CNN.
SESAY: The devastation to California's world-famous wine industry could mean higher prices; it could even affect the taste of future bottles. But let's face it, for winery owners, the damage is much more palpable. We're dealing with things like this. This was the Paradise Ridge winery in Sonoma County. The owners of this family-run business say the fire reduced their tasting room, event center and winery to ash.
SESAY: Sonia Barwick joins me now, she's co-owner of the Paradise Ridge Winery.
Sonia, thank you so much for being with us. You have been through an absolute nightmare.
Let's start with, when did you realize that your property was in trouble?
SONIA BARWICK, PARADISE RIDGE WINERY: We got a call in the early morning hours of Monday morning, around 1 o'clock, my husband, who is the winemaker, tried to get to the winery and even trying to get to the winery, by the time we -- he got there, which is about a 20-minute drive, the fire had crossed the highway.
here was no way to get to our property. And within about 20 minutes, we were seeing pictures from the front gate, of the fire 30 feet in the air, right where everything we have is. So it was very fast- moving, definitely too fast to do anything.
SESAY: I can't even imagine that. You mean, you are sitting at a distance, watching the fire devour your property.
What went through your mind?
What could you even say those around you?
BARWICK: Well, at that point, we were still hoping, because we saw the fire but we couldn't see the buildings, because it's from the road and you can't see the buildings from the road. We were hoping that there would be something left standing.
And there were no buildings left standing. But we did have -- we did have our vineyard survive, which is a huge relief for us, because that gives us a chance to have another vintage from our vines.
SESAY: We're showing the viewers pictures from your property and the scale of the damage is truly devastating. I can't even imagine how you're feeling right now. You've said, though, that there's been a tremendous display of community, bonding, everyone coming together, everyone supporting everyone. Tell us about that.
BARWICK: It's -- actually, that has been one of the most beautiful things about this. Our community is so amazing. Within hours of finding out that the building was gone, which we had one of our partners, who is part of our art garden, offer her home to host weddings. Because we are a wedding -- we host weddings at the winery.
And she offered her home to host a wedding that we were supposed to have this weekend. We were getting calls from many of our -- the businesses who sells us barrels and things, ready to give us whatever support we needed.
The support from all of our friends and family and from all over the world, they are hearing about this and they are asking what they can do to help and it's absolutely beautiful to see a community coming together like this.
SESAY: The really is. As you say, it's something good out of all of this horror.
What about your employees, what about the folks who work for you, what happens to them now?
BARWICK: Well, unfortunately, one of our employees also lost her home. And so she -- we are struggling with all of that, because that is where, you know, you feel at a very loss of what to do.
But our employees, luckily, we have very good insurance and our insurance will cover our employees and rebuilding the winery, which is what we plan to do. And so we are planning right now to keep our employees and have them help us rebuild.
SESAY: And what does the future look like?
You're talking about rebuilding. How are you feeling about the process?
How are you feeling about the future of Paradise Ridge?
BARWICK: I'm going to follow my amazing father's footsteps. He's not with us right now. He's in Europe. But he said it's going to come back and it's going to be better than before. And we're going to make this the best we can make it.
And I think we have the people behind us, our team, and we expect it to take some time but we're hoping that we can clean up and move forward as fast as we can and really keep things going.
We do have a small tasting room in the Kenwood area that right now has not -- that is still standing right now. It's in the way of some of the fire. So we're hoping that, with that, we can continue to have guests and to sell wine and to keep moving. And that's what we hope everybody will do.
SESAY: We're rooting for you, Sonia, everyone's rooting for you all around the world. Please stay safe and wishing you the very best with the future. And we will check in with you. Sonia Barwick there, thank you so much. Best of luck.
BARWICK: Thank you. Thank you so much.
SESAY: Hard to see all of that damage in life turned upside down.
Switching gears to Spain now. Spain's political standoff between Madrid and Barcelona is entering an uncertain new phase. The president of Catalonia is delaying a full and immediate declaration of independence but Carles Puigdemont is now calling for a dialogue with the central government.
He says Catalonia has won the right to be independent after a contested referendum Madrid calls illegal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLES PUIGDEMONT, CATALONIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I defend the mandate of the people of Catalonia to become an independent republic. We propose that parliament suspend the effects of the declaration of independence so that the following weeks, we can have a dialogue.
SESAY: It is uncertain whether those talks will actually happen, the Spanish prime minister has said he will not negotiate unless Catalan leaders stop claiming independence.
Dominic Thomas is back with us. He's the chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies at the University of California Los Angeles.
Dominic, thank you being with us to help us understand what exactly took place in the regional parliament. The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, made this speech that has people wondering, was it an olive branch to Madrid or is he setting the stage to blackmail them?
DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH & FRANCOPHONE STUDIES, UCLA, CALIFORNIA: Right, well, I think, Isha, when you look up in the dictionary, political crisis, you find two words, Catalonia and Spain.
And I think that's where we're at right now, is two sides competing for some kind of uncertain goal or victory.
On the one hand, he announced he had the mandate, that the vote of October 1st essentially confirmed that there was support for secession and for the separatists. But came short of actually proclaiming official independence.
SESAY: He did sign a declaration.
THOMAS: He did sign a declaration and what was interesting is he also shifted between speaking in Catalan to speaking in Spanish to appeal to a broader audience. And as far as he's concerned, he's acted responsibly. And reached out to the government in Madrid and some would say he's thrown the ball into their court to see how they react.
It's a trap in a way. Now the prime minister has to respond. But the prime minister can ask himself, to what does he have to respond? It's been declared unconstitutional and they don't recognize the validity of the referendum.
So Puigdemont in some ways has disappointed his hardcore separatist supporters by not proclaiming independence. But the prime minister will now also have pressure on him to act in a forceful manner, to demonstrate his support for the constitution.
This will potentially galvanize supporters in Catalonia in favor of the referendum. What's interesting, the background to this, and the prime minister knows it, ultimately the Catalonia referendum wasn't a true referendum and does not reflect the will of the people --
SESAY: -- 43 percent turnout.
THOMAS: -- 43 percent turnout in a referendum that had declared unconstitutional, in which the government had threatened to come in and close down polling stations and use the police as necessary, which, of course, drove people away.
Now one could argue why doesn't he just call a referendum?
But that is the issue. The Spanish state is indissoluble. It cannot broken down into smaller parts. So there is no such thing even as far as Prime Minister Rajoy is concerned, as a legal referendum on this issue.
SESAY: We heard from the deputy prime minister after Puigdemont spoke. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SORAYA SAENZ DE SANTAMARIA, SPANISH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Neither President Puigdemont or anyone cannot impose mediation without going back to democracy. The dialogue and democracy is done by the rules and not inventing them as you please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: You get that's a dismissive response to Puigdemont's speech in parliament.
But as you look at it really good now, we've already laid it out in stark terms, that this is a crisis.
Is there any room for compromise?
Is there any area of common agreement that would bring them to the table?
THOMAS: Well, if Puigdemont wants a referendum and wants secede or to separate from Spain, then, no.
If he's going to be a bit more realistic and realize --
SESAY: What would that look like?
THOMAS: Well, there are some genuine grievances that people living in the region have. And by addressing those he could perhaps alleviate some of those tensions and move away from a referendum and from separation or secession.
But that's not what he wants. It's not what his supporters want in this particular context. So it's very difficult to see a way out of this, short of a negotiated settlement.
But there is absolutely no way that the Spanish state will recognize a secession of the region of Catalonia. So there's no way out in that particular context.
The prime minister could also completely ignore this and just simply say we don't recognize this referendum and we're not going to act on it. What was interesting though, today, is that he was scheduled to speak at 6:00; it was delayed for an hour, which most likely led to this suspended proclamation of independence.
And also the European Union stepped up today, because there were forceful statements made by the E.U. Commission council, by the council and the commission and so on, too, asking for him to stop short of proclaiming independence so there's some kind of mediation could come about.
But then French president Macron said, no. There should be no (INAUDIBLE) and not the job of the European Union. So this is something we need to keep watching and the outcome is uncertain at this stage. SESAY: Dominic, we appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you very much.
For the first time since 1986, the United States men's football team will not be part of the World Cup. They fell to Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 in Tuesday night's qualifier. They lost Team USA to fifth place in their qualifying table, meaning they will miss out on next year's tournament in Russia. We'll much more later on this on "WORLD SPORT".
Right now, we will take a quick break.
Coming up, President Trump's challenges, as he challenges his secretary of state to an IQ faceoff but is he just joking?
What the White House says next. And the president is lashing out again at a top Republican senator; what he is saying about Bob Corker. We will tell you.
SESAY: Hello, everyone.
U.S. President Donald Trump belittling his own staff and top members of his own party, he's even questioning his secretary of state's IQ.
(INAUDIBLE) "Forbes" magazine interview about Rex Tillerson allegedly calling him "a moron," Mr. Trump responded this way, "I think it's fake news, but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win."
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insists the president was joking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president certainly didn't imply that the secretary of state wasn't incredibly intelligent. He made a joke, nothing more than that. He has full confidence in the secretary of state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Let's talk about all of this. Joining me now, Democratic strategist Matthew Littman and Republican strategist Charles Moran.
Charles, welcome to the show.
Matt, let me start with you. The president has devised clearly a new reality show called, I have a higher IQ than yours, and the first contestant is Rex Tillerson. Sanders says we should get a sense of humor, he was joking.
Are you buying the joke defense? MATTHEW LITTMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Oh, Donald Trump is such a great joke-teller. And by the way, this isn't the first time he's talked about IQ. He talks about IQ all the time. But when she says he's joking, I think maybe he's joking about having a higher IQ than Rex Tillerson, is probably what this is.
This is Donald Trump and his own secretary of state that he's trying to insult today. The fight with Bob Corker, that's the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, these are his allies and this is what we've come to.
SESAY: Charles, before you respond, Matt did bring up the point that the president has brought his IQ up before. Let's remind our viewers of some of those instances.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I guarantee my IQ is much higher than any of these people.
I have an IQ better than all of them.
Governor Perry, very nice guy, he made nasty statements about me. And then I challenged his IQ.
I guarantee you, my IQ is much higher than theirs, all right?
And I keep hearing about global warming. Now they'll say, he doesn't understand. This is a worldwide problem. Oh, no, I don't understand. Let's do IQ tests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Charles, you are the Trump whisperer tonight.
Why does the president keep coming back to the issue of his IQ?
CHARLES MORAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You can use net worth, you can use IQ, you can use a lot of different measures but at the end of the day, these are two global titans, Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson, who ran a multinational oil conglomerate, he is surrounded himself with excellent and amazing businessmen and titans of industry.
And I think this is just some of the jocular behavior you see as a lot of different executives from different entities try to line up, size one another up in each other's industries. This is par for the course.
But at the end of the day every one of these individuals signed up to serve President Trump and serve the American people under his administration.
SESAY: Matt, what's interesting, is the president, when he talks about his IQ and talks about how smart he, seems to be making a correlation, saying because I'm smart, I'm an effective president but there's no correlation between those. In terms of an IQ for anyone, doesn't mean you will be good at your job. LITTMAN: Donald Trump has some enormous problems right now. There's a lot of reporting today that he's being babysat basically by his chief of staff. There's a lot of talk today about how miserable the people are who work in the White House.
And most of all, Donald Trump really hasn't accomplished anything legislatively at all, zero legislative accomplishments so far. We're in October. We were promised tax reform, health care reform, infrastructure reform by the end of July. He's accomplished nothing so far.
So one of the reasons he boasts that he has a high IQ is nobody's testing him. Such an easy boast to make.
SESAY: I wanted to turn to Corker in a moment but, Charles, to stay with this issue just for a second, the fact of the matter is, when the president undercuts Rex Tillerson, which is how its read, when he puts out the tweets, when he says things about his IQ, he's surely weakening him when he goes into capitals around the world and speaks to world leaders, because he's now sitting there with people knowing that his own president speaks of him in this manner.
And you couldn't blame them for certainly thinking, is he really speaking for the President of the United States?
MORAN: I think Donald Trump is, one of the best things he's known for is the famous line, "You're fired." If Donald Trump didn't want Rex Tillerson there, he wouldn't be there. And he has clearly let go of people in other positions within the government.
At the end of the day, I agree with Matt. Donald Trump was sent to the White House with a mandate from the American people. He wasn't the candidate that was supposed to win. And he ended up taking the White House and installing an administration that is results driven.
And I think that's something that is actually going to roll down on the Republicans in the Senate, the fact that we've not been able to repeal ObamaCare, that we potentially could be stalling on the tax reform issues and we're still not getting enough ambassadors and people confirmed in the United States Senate.
This is not a Donald Trump problem, this is a Republican establishment problem and Donald Trump is going to have a mandate. And I think he's calling out on it, even members of his own party, for some accountability.
LITTMAN: That's absolutely wrong. Sorry, no offense --
LITTMAN: -- don't want to be too hard on you but Donald Trump hasn't put forth a lot of the people for ambassadors, that's what people normally do. He hasn't put forth a lot of the people within his administration for which he needs appointments. That's what people normally do.
He's put about one-fifth of --
SESAY: -- (INAUDIBLE) 500 more people --
LITTMAN: -- 80 or something that he's put forth. That said also in terms of being results driven, let's remember that, on health care, Donald Trump didn't know what was in the health care plan. Republicans would come out of meetings with him and say, he's not really detail oriented, so he's not able to talk about it.
When he would do big rallies, he wouldn't talk about health care reform, he'd talk about his grudges and grievances. So he never really pushed for it. So when we say he's results-driven, there are no results so far.
SESAY: Let's talk about Corker really quickly. I want to talk about this tweet that the president put out on Tuesday, "Liddle Bob Corker"
This is what he said, "The failing 'New York Times' set Liddle Bob Corker up by recording his conversation, was made to sound like a fool and that's what I'm dealing with."
Charles, to you, what's the upside for the president taking on Bob Corker, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, part of the slim majority in the Senate, when you're trying to get an agenda through?
MORAN: Well, Bob Corker has made the political decision not to run for re-election again. Unfortunately, we're in a situation -- and I was actually sitting in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee two weeks ago at the confirmation hearing of one of my friends and mentors, as he was trying to be confirmed as an ambassador to a major country in Europe.
The Senate is not moving fast enough. My former client, Jon Huntsman, who has now been confirmed as the ambassador to Russia, was nominated early this year and just a week ago was actually confirmed by the Senate.
SESAY: What does that have to do with calling him Liddle Corker?
MORAN: This is Trump trying to increase the pressure on Senate Republicans to push forward with these appointments. The president has been making appointments. They are caught up in the Senate, they are caught up in committee.
LITTMAN: Charles --
MORAN: The Republicans have not been moving fast enough. And we have a majority, when people like John McCain and Susan Collins and different senators are going rogue on these issues, again, Republicans are going to be blamed if we can't move forward with --
LITTMAN: One thing that Donald Trump is definitely not doing with this tweet is trying to get his ambassadors confirmed more quickly, I can assure you of that. Bob Corker came out, you're right, he's not running for re-election. Bob Corker should have come out a long time ago. He shouldn't have waited until now.
It's not exactly a profile in courage to wait until you're not running for re-election to start telling the truth about Donald Trump. And he's not the only one. There are a lot of other people who are very concerned. I mean, listen, Rex Tillerson is the secretary of state, he did call Trump a moron. These are Trump's allies who are speaking this way about him. And it's a big concern.
SESAY: Gentlemen, we must leave it there but thank you. There is so much to discuss every day of this administration. We shall continue, thank you.
Matt, Charles, thank you.
All right, quick break here. Disturbing new allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood horror stories about Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and other A-list actresses, all of that just ahead.
SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour:
SESAY: The wife of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein says she's leaving her husband. Georgina Chapman tells "People" magazine, her heart breaks for the women who have suffered from his unforgivable actions.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton condemned Weinstein, who is a long-time Democratic donor.
Clinton says, "I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated."
And former president Barack Obama said this, "Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status."
The allegations against Weinstein now include rape. CNN's Randi Kaye reports.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): He allegedly preyed on some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Actress Ashley Judd said film producer Harvey Weinstein asked if he could give her a massage or if she would watch him shower.
When Gwyneth Paltrow was just 22, she told "The New York Times" that the mega producer had put his hands on her and suggested they head to the bedroom of his hotel suite.
Actress Angelina Jolie told "The Times" that Weinstein made unwanted advances toward her in a hotel room back in the 1990s. Actress Mira Sorvino told "The New Yorker" magazine that Weinstein sexually harassed her more than two decades ago at the Toronto Film Festival, chasing her around a hotel room.
Weinstein harassed or assaulted at least 20 women over the years, according to "The New Yorker" and "The New York Times," many of them aspiring actresses, who were hoping to get their big break.
Just today "The New Yorker" released audio of Weinstein trying to convince a model named Ambra Gutierrez to come to his hotel room in Manhattan a day after he allegedly forcibly groped her. The disturbing conversation caught on tape during a sting operation by the NYPD in March 2015.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
AMBRA BATTILANA GUTIERREZ, MODEL: What do we have to do here?
HARVEY WEINSTEIN, CO-FOUNDER, THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY: Nothing. I'm going to take a shower. You sit there and have a drink.
GUTIERREZ: I don't drink.
WEINSTEIN: Then have a glass of water.
GUTIERREZ: Can I stay on the bar?
WEINSTEIN: I won't do a thing, please. I swear I won't. Just sit with me. Don't embarrass me in the hotel. I'm here all the time. Sit with me, I promise.
GUTIERREZ: I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.
WEINSTEIN: Please come in now. And one minute. And if you want to leave when the guy comes with my jacket, you can go.
GUTIERREZ: Why yesterday you touch my breast?
WEINSTEIN: Oh, please. I'm sorry. Just come on in. I'm used to that. GUTIERREZ: You're used to that?
WEINSTEIN: Yes, come in.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KAYE (voice-over): In another incident detailed in "The New Yorker," Lucia Evans said she was assaulted by Weinstein back in 2004 when she was still in college. It happened during a meeting arranged by of one Weinstein's assistants which is how many of these meetings came to be.
After she says he told her about two scripts, she says he forced her to perform oral sex on him.
One accuser, a former FOX News anchor, said Weinstein cornered her in a hotel a decade ago and masturbated in front of her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's where he cornered me in this vestibule and leaned in and tried to kiss me. That's when he blocked the entrance or exit for me and said, well then, just stand there and be quiet. He immediately exposed himself and, you know, began pleasuring himself.
KAYE (voice-over): In response to "The New York Times" investigation, Harvey Weinstein released a statement saying, "I appreciate the way I behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain and I sincerely apologize for it."
He promised he was working with therapists and would deal with this issue head-on. A spokesperson for him also telling "The New Yorker," "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are univocally denied by Mr. Weinstein," adding, "Mr. Weinstein has confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances."
This spokesperson says Weinstein is hoping for a second chance.
KAYE: A second chance?
Weinstein has already been fired from The Weinstein Companies, a stunning blow to one of the biggest names in Hollywood, a man some women say subjected them to what they called turn-down duty.
According to "The New York Times," that meant preparing Harvey Weinstein for sleep, with Weinstein at times appearing naked in front of them and requiring them to be present for bathing or massages, all of this for years an open secret in Hollywood.
SETH MACFARLANE, ACTOR: Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.
KAYE (voice-over): What was once a joke on the Oscars stage now revealed as a horrible truth as the allegations grow -- Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Quick break now.
Who runs the world?
Girls. These girls are bringing out their inner Beyonce to celebrate the International Day of the Girl, their moves and their message next.
SESAY: Nobel Prize winner and education activist Malala Yousafzai once said, "We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silent."
Voices are an essential aspect of our humanity. The millions of women and girls are fighting for their voices and freedom every day. Today is the International Day of the Girl, a global celebration of our progress but also a reminder that women and girls deserve to speak, to be heard, to be believed and to be empowered.
When we do that together, little girls with dreams become strong women with a vision. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY (voice-over): This film of girls around the world walking out to Beyonce's song, "Freedom," shows that there is no force most powerful than a girl (INAUDIBLE) rise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
The director of that film, MJ Delaney, joins me now from New York.
MJ, welcome and congratulations on making a very powerful film. You've described this as defiant.
How did you come up with the concept?
MJ DELANEY, FILM DIRECTOR: Last year we made a film for The Global Goals, which was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of "Wannabe," the Spice Girls track, and so we remade that video as kind of a celebration of 20 years of girl power and it was very much a kind of joyful celebration of female solidarity and the strength of female friendship and it was very playful and joyous.
And then this year, we had to do it again but we made last year's one in the spring of 2016 and a lot had happened in the interim. And this year it felt like a sort of angry, more defiant voice was going to be one that people responded to better, given the current global political climate. SESAY: In terms of the anger, it is justified. The film draws attention to the shock and reality that millions of girls are facing. I want to share some of the stats with our viewers, which are also highlighted in your film: 71 percent of human trafficking victims are female; 63 million girls have undergone genital mutilation; 130 million girls are out of school.
Girls are twice as likely to become infected with HIV. We all know, back in 2015, 193 countries signed onto the U.N.'s global goals which you referenced just there. And this is a set of 17 targets meant to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world today. Help our viewers understand what those goals mean for the many issues girls are facing.
DELANEY: It means an awful lot. To go back to the very beginning of this, (INAUDIBLE) girls, which we know as global goals in the year 2000, the amount that has been achieved already in the past 17 years is phenomenal. And so even some of the more shocking statistics in this film, such as the FGM statistic that you mentioned, if you look at what The Global Goals have already achieved in a country like Kenya, in the past few years they have reduced their instances of -- they've reduced the rates of female genital mutilation from 41 percent to 11 percent.
But of course that figure is as high as it is because there's still lots of other countries in the world in which girls are being genitally mutilated still. And the goals are a cause of great optimism.
If you look at what's been achieved so far and what we could stand to achieve by 2030, if all of these world leaders stay true to their word and if we, as citizens, of these countries hold them accountable to the promises they've made, the differences can be quite phenomenal. And it's a great cause and source of optimism.
SESAY: Why did you feel that a film in this style was the most effective way to challenge or tackle the challenges facing girls and the role of The Global Goals in changing the reality for girls?
DELANEY: What's so nice about being a filmmaker now, especially when dealing with subjects like this, is that audiences that you can reach globally. I think historically when people created media and film and so forth for global issues such as this, the more successful tended to make something a splash in the global north but never really had any traction in the countries they purported to speak on behalf of.
And I think what we managed to do last year was get huge numbers of viewers in places like India and Brazil and West Africa.
And so what this kind of messaging can do through music but also through the age of YouTube and short viral films is that we can reach huge numbers of people. And these are global goals and it will take a global effort to achieve them. So in that respect, these videos can often reach much further than other messaging around the cause.
SESAY: What do you want people to come away with after watching "Freedom"?
DELANEY: There's two thing. The first thing is a general sense of keeping the girls at the forefront of everybody's mind, reminding people that these world leaders have signed up to this, reminding them that it's up to us to make sure that we put the pressure on that they stay true to their word in a general sense.
But also at the end of the film, you can click through to a landing page and that will take you to various organizations, working from the ground up to make these things happen for young girls around the world.
With the #FreedomForGirls is whatever freedom is to you can take you any number of organizations, whether it is freedom from child marriage or the freedom to not be catcalled on the street or the freedom to not have to pay tax on your sanitary protection, like there is a huge number of organizations great and small that this film will link through so that each person can actually be a positive part of the change that they want to see, whether that's through volunteering or donation or awareness and that includes actually Beyonce's own charity, BeyGOOD, which is currently doing work with water and sanitation in Burundi.
SESAY: Well, MJ Delaney, let me say once again congratulations, it is a --
DELANEY: Thank you very much.
SESAY: -- wonderful watch and I encourage everyone to click on it and dare them not to get up and get involved in the fight and improve the life of girls.
MJ, thank you.
DELANEY: Thank you very much for having me.
SESAY: The whole world needs to get involved in the fight to improve the lot of girls.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. "WORLD SPORT" is up next and I'll be back with another hour of news from all around the world. You're watching CNN.