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Morgan Freeman Accused of Sexual Harassment; Trump Cancels North Korea Summit; Harvey Weinstein to Surrender Tomorrow; Trump Pardons Jack Johnson. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired May 24, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Freeman subjected her to unwanted touching of her lower back and comments about her figure on a near daily basis. In one incident she said Freeman kept trying to lift up her skirt and asking her if she was wearing underwear. This incident took place in front of her co-star Alan Arkin who allegedly told him to stop. Now he could not be reached for comment.
Morgan Freeman issued the statement, Brooke, shortly after our story published. Quote, "Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend anyone or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected. It was never my intent."
BALDWIN: These allegations, these stories you all have been hearing is just limited to movie sets or beyond?
AN PHUNG, CNN MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT DEPUTY EDITOR: Brooke, no, that's what is so alarming about what we are reporting, much of what was alleged was happening out in the open on movie sets in front of other actors and crew members. Some of it even happened when the cameras were rolling.
Three individuals who attended a birthday thrown for Morgan Freeman at his production company claims that staffers were asked to stand in a circle, and Freeman allegedly walked up to the women, looked them up and down and stood within an inch of their face before moving onto the next woman in the circle. A source who was there a said there were sexual undertones to this exchange. And another claimed Freeman he witnessed Freeman massage the shoulders of a young intern who appeared visibly uncomfortable with the touching. And another female employee says Freeman walked up to her on set and said, quote, how do you feel about sexual harassment? When she appeared flustered by the question, Freeman turned and said to the rest of the set, and said, see, guys, this is how you do it. The source told us she was just stunned by the question.
BALDWIN: And this is coming from entertainment reporters and producers as well.
MELAS: Yes, so one of the women that we spoke to for this investigation, her name is Tyra Martin, she's a producer at WGN in Chicago. She said over the course of a decade she interviewed Freeman multiple times and that he always, consistently made sexual comments to her. But one time she feels really crossed a line when he asked her not to pull her skirt down as she stood up to leave the interview. It's unclear if that exchange was ever caught on tape but we do have an example of some of his behavior with her from another interview. There's music underneath this clip but it was not added by CNN. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYRA MARTIN, WGN PRODUCER: How are you?
MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR AND PRODUCER: Better now.
MARTIN: I don't have any magic tricks I kind of feel like I showed up for dinner without anything.
FREEMAN: I wouldn't worry about that. You got magic written all over you, child.
MARTIN: Oh, thank you. Good medicine for a single girl.
FREEMAN: I'm single, too.
MARTIN: Are you?
MARTIN: Are you enjoying bachelorhood?
FREEMAN: I'm enjoying bachelor life immensely. I get to look at you and drool.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELAS: Brooke, the impetus for this investigation was my own experience with Freeman at a junket last year for the film "Going in Style." Right when I walked into the room, he began to make sexually suggestive comments to me. As an entertainment reporter for over a decade, it was unlike anything I've ever experienced. One of those comments was caught on tape in which he says to me, "Boy, do I wish I was there" while looking me up and down. I was six months pregnant at the time. His co-stars were both there next to him, witnessed that exchange. They look at him, we have that on tape and take note of Freeman's eyes in this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:05:00] MICHAEL CAINE: One time I congratulate a woman on being pregnant and she wasn't, so I've never done it again. 50 years I've never done it.
MELAS: You've learned your lesson.
FREEMAN: Boy, do I wish I was there.
MELAS: This movie is --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELAS: I have to explain for those that don't understand this exchange because they weren't there is that there were comments that were sexual in nature made before and after this one, but they weren't caught on camera. We reached out to Alan Arkin, who could not be reached for comment and Caine declined to comment on this, Brooke.
BALDWIN: You can take a look on CNN.com
PHUNG: Take a look there are many more allegations to read about.
BALDWIN: An and Chloe, thank you so much for that on Morgan Freeman.
Back to our breaking news, the White House abruptly cancelling the summit with North Korea, just hours after they destroyed part of a nuclear test site in North Korea as a sign of goodwill. We will be joined live by a former CIA analyst to discuss where we go from here.
[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: President Trump today cancelling his summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. The talks are off after months of high stakes maneuvering between Washington and Pyongyang. The President citing North Korea's recent threats and open hostility, but he made sure to leave some wiggle room should Kim decide to pursue a different path.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If and when Kim Jong-un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting. In the meantime, our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed and maximum pressure campaign will continue as it has been continuing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go to Jung Pak, a Korea studies chair at the Brookings Institution and former CIA analyst. It middle of the night in North Korea. How do you think they'll react to this?
JUNG PAK, KOREA STUDIES CHAIR AT THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION AND FORMER CIA ANALYST: I think they'll be as surprised and shocked as we are. I suspect that given some of the statements that they gave overnight and threatening to withdraw from the talks, they probably had some inkling that the U.S. might take them up on that. But I think given what the administration officials were saying, including what President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo were saying yesterday about planning going forward and that the summit seemed to be on for June 12th, this abrupt turn around overnight is probably going to be a shock to them as well.
BALDWIN: This whole thing seemed to catch a lot of people by surprise, including allies. While we still don't know the details, would it make sense for the U.S. would not alert allies that the summit was off?
I think judging from their reactions, the White House probably did not give them a heads up. Apparently, the South Korean President Moon was very surprised, and he called an emergency national security council meeting to figure out what President Trump's intentions are. And he was just here in Washington to talk to President Trump about North Korea's recent statements about the exercises and about pulling out of the summit.
So, he was probably surprised because he probably left Washington thinking that he had assuaged Trump's concerns. Not to mention the fact that the foreign ministers of Japan, China and South Korea were all here and they got the impression that things were going apace. So, I think the allies were probably in the dark about all of this as well.
BALDWIN: So, they're in the dark. Then keep in mind while this is going down today, you have a number of foreign journalists deep in North Korea, right, including our own correspondent Will Ripley, and they're there to witness this apparent dismantling of a remote North Korean nuclear test site. Will actually called in to CNN right after this whole event because he was alerting North Korean officials that this had apparently happened. Listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We were taken to the nuclear site. We spent nine hours, watched them blow up three tunnels in the nuclear site and all of the buildings on the site as well. We don't have experts with us to verify this instruction is actually, if it's absolute, if it means the nuclear site is unusable as the North Koreans claim. They tell us we're being transparent here, we're showing you our nuclear site for the first time, the first time foreign journalists have ever visited it.
We are blowing it up, we are we're willing to denuclearize and talk to the United States and nonetheless being inside this country just hours after they've blown up the nuclear site and just learning of this, it was a very awkward and uncomfortable moment. We'll have to see what happens in the coming hours and days on the ground here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Can you imagine? Jung, listening to Will and also on this destruction, quote unquote, is that all a show?
PAK: Yes. I think for the destruction, the so-called destruction of the nuclear test site, given what the reporters had to go through, with their window shades down, going on this long bus ride and they weren't allowed to look out the window and finally appearing here. Without the experts to, as Will said, to confirm whether or not the tunnels are usable or not and I think that's what North Koreans call transparency but it's more about showmanship and symbolism rather than an actual movement toward denuclearization. But that said, if given the optics of the North Koreans blowing off
this nuclear test site and President Trump pulling out of the summit, it makes it seem as if the U.S. is pulling out rather than the North Koreans creating the conditions for the U.S. pulling out. So, but I have to say that the two statements that came from the regime with their threats to pull out of the summit with President Trump did not come from Kim himself. So, Kim still has the wiggle room to come back and either double down on threats or come back and say we can still work this out.
[15:45:00] BALDWIN: As we wait for that reaction from Kim, I should also point out we just found out that this single-page letter, which I recommend everyone take a look and read on CNN.com from Trump, we found out from officials he dictated every single word of that letter himself. Jung Pak, thank you for joining me.
I want to get to news involving Harvey Weinstein, who is facing a number of allegations of sexual misconduct. We have word the disgraced Hollywood film producer is about to turn himself in. Details next.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Breaking news. We are learning that Harvey Weinstein is about to turn himself in on criminal charges related to alleged sexual myths misconduct. Brynn Gingras is covering this for us, and also, we have Jennifer Rodgers, former federal prosecutor and also CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos on the phone.
But Brynn, first to you, wow.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, this is something women around the world have been waiting for. We don't know the exact timing at this point. The wheels are in motion. We are hearing the earliest this could happen is tomorrow. And possibly even next week. We have also known this whole time a grand jury convened, listening to testimony from women, evidence, hearing all sides of what police, investigators collected against Harvey Weinstein. But now we are hearing, yes, the wheels in motion. Set to turn himself in on sexual misconduct charges and there was a conversation going on, was it a financial charges, related to the sexual misconduct we have heard so much about? Sounds like related to the sexual misconduct charges as early as tomorrow.
BALDWIN: So, if you're his lawyer, why are you doing this?
JENNIFER RODGERS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, look. The choices are if they're about to bring a charge against your client or already have, your choices are you make an appointment effectively and bring your client in dressed in suit or let them arrest him, haul him out in handcuffs in front of cameras.
BALDWIN: Which they want no part of.
RODGERS: Exactly. Make it as smooth as it can be with as little embarrassment as possible.
BALDWIN: MARK GERAGOS, what do you think about this?
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think there's no way it happens today because it's Thursday on the east coast and almost 4:00. So, if it happens and if you're representing him and you're the defense lawyer, you want it to happen Friday in the afternoon before a three- day weekend.
BALDWIN: So, it can be -- they're hoping not as covered.
GERAGOS: Yes. It goes into the Easter somehow that all presumes that you've got bail already worked out. Or at least you think you're going to have bail worked out.
BALDWIN: On bail, would it not be sky high?
GERAGOS: Yes. Bail will be sky high. It wouldn't surprise me if the prosecutors argue he's a flight risk and blah blah blah. That's a standard operating or standard script and I would expect them to argue here he's a flight risk and should be sky high or she should be detained.
BALDWIN: So, OK. And then back to you, ladies. This is involving you said one charge of sexual conduct.
BRYNN GINGRAS: I was going to add to Mark. It's unclear how many charges he could face, there could be one there could be several. We know that Lucia Evans one of the women came forward in Ronan Farrow explosive article that really opened this wide open.
BALDWIN: In "The New Yorker."
GINGRAS: We know that she's part of this investigation, she has always been part of this investigation. We also know that other women have come forward and it is unclear how many, what sort of story they have. What is -- what they have been able to prove to a grand jury so that's still, again, happening. Grand jury process happening and all we know right now is he is going to turn himself in and then really when that happens we get the real explosive details of what you're asking.
BALDWIN: Final thought from you?
RODGERS: I mean, you know, it is interesting because this case is so public. Normally I would expect them to kind of marshal the evidence and come forward with the women they find credible at one time but here's I'm not so sure because I feel like there's pressure and then maybe they do come with one and later add people in as the case develops.
BALDWIN: Jennifer, Brynn and Mark, on Harvey Weinstein set to turn himself in, timeline TBD. Thank you all so much. We'll stay on that.
Next, Sylvester Stallone inside the Oval Office with President Trump? Hear why he's there and see what happened. [15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: A new generation of politicians made the marks during primary elections across the nation this week winning the chance to advance to the November midterms and this particular group of millennials happens to be Democrats. 23-year-old Aisha Yaqoob is the founder of the Georgia Muslim Voter Project and now she's turned her work as an advocate for civil and immigration rights into a run for the Georgia State House.
In Texas, 32-year-old Andrew Morris is trying to unseat a Republican incumbent there. He moved to north Texas from Australia in 2008 and just became a U.S. citizen three years ago. Also, in Texas, conservationist, author and educator Erin Zwiener also one her primary bid for a Texas house seat, the 32-year-old's slogan is let's put the all back in y'all.
Among the unexpected announcements out of the White House today, how about this one? President Trump granted a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson boxing's first black heavyweight champion. Johnson was convicted in 1913 on charges that he transported a white woman, his girlfriend, across state lines.
[16:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Johnson served ten months in federal prison for what many view as a racially motivated injustice. He was treated very rough. I believe that Jack Johnson is worthy for a full pardon and in this case, posthumous pardon. I'm correcting a wrong and honoring a truly legendary boxing champion, legendary athlete and a person that when people got to know him they really liked him, and they really thought he was treated unfairly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And at the President's side there, here he is. Sylvester Stallone that advocated for the pardon in the first place. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Let's go to Washington. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.