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Michelle Bachelet Discuss Why Climate Crisis Is A Human Rights Issue; Brad Pitt Talks About His New Film "Ad Astra"; Regulating Big Tech; "Tools and Weapons". Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 18, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:18] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Hello everyone and welcome to "Amanpour." Here is what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAD PITT, ACTOR, "AD ASTRA": My father is alive, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt tells me about his new space epic "Ad Astra." What it means to be masculine and vulnerable. Then --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE BACHELET, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: We see today conflicts, displacement, migrations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: -- the catastrophic threat of the climate crisis. The U.N.'s Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet says it's also a threat to our right
to life in a sustainable world. Plus, Microsoft's President Brad Smith on why governments need to get real about regulating big tech.
Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Coming up, my interview with Brad Pitt on his new space film. But, first, from the galaxy, the horrifying images here on earth that clearly visible.
Fires raging in the Amazon, forests reduced to ashes, glaciers shrinking. But the climate crisis is not only having a devastating impact on the
places we live in, but also on our human rights.
As the existential issue of our time, it will take center stage at this year's U.N. General Assembly, which kicks off next week. Friday, we'll see
the next mass protest and youth climate strikes pioneered by the teenage activist and now icon, Greta Thunberg. Greta and other campaigners are
facing increasing hostility and abuse.
And Michelle Bachelet, the U.N.'s Human Rights Chief, is calling it out. Of the climate emergency, she says, the world has never seen a threat to
human rights of this scope. And I asked her what world leaders should do at next week's big U.N. climate summit that will kick off the annual
general assembly meeting in New York.
AMANPOUR: Michelle Bachelet, welcome to the program.
BACHELET: Thank you, Christiane. I'm very happy to be here with you.
AMANPOUR: Your entire opening statement in letter to the session of the U.N. is about climate. And you have written that everybody has the right
to a healthy and sustainable climate. It's a human rights issue. Tell me how you come to that definition.
BACHELET: Well, the first thing I have to say that I've been involved with climate change many years ago in different capacities and in my last term
as president, we did a lot in terms of marine protected areas, in terms of renewable energy, in terms of big national parks and banning plastic bags.
So, for me it was clear.
It probably since (ph) I was in New York in the -- as U.N. Women, we had this vision that -- and when I heard first time the star report that
climate change was a threat, that what we have been seeing right now is not for the future, it's already here, is that you see today conflicts,
displacements, migrations linked to droughts, to floodings, to all kinds of disasters that are linked with climate change.
On the other hand, we know that if the temperature is higher than what we would like, we will have a scarcity of water. We will have other potential
threats that will mean that the rights of the people, in terms of the right to health, in terms of the right to food security, and so on, will be
And what happened, Christiane, is that unfortunately, usually the most vulnerable ones, the most poor ones, the most marginalized one are the ones
who are really more affected because they have less tools, less possibilities to tackle the issues.
AMANPOUR: You've also, in your letter, talked about needing to defend the defenders, in other words, the environmental defenders. And there's been
an unprecedented spike in the assault, the injury, the deaths of environmental activists and, indeed, journalists who cover the environment.
What can the U.N. do? What can your office do and how bad is that situation?
BACHELET: Well, on human right defenders, it's one of our priorities. We work to the societies. We speak out when it's needed so that they know
that they're not alone and that that we are -- the office is behind them. We talk to governments on the shrinking of civic space and democratic
For example, in Mexico there is this mechanism where they can support people with police action when it's needed in terms of protection. But
also -- UNESCO are in charge of working on the protection of journalists.
[13:05:00] So, we identify risk where sometimes in countries we see early warning signs that we can inform governments and so they can take the
measures needed not to have so much killings. Because unfortunately, as you said Christiane, the number of human right defenders, particularly
environmentalists, women on property -- land property, (INAUDIBLE), and indigenous people are among the human right defenders most affected with
this casualties of harassment, and of course journalists as we have seen in many parts of the world.
AMANPOUR: So let's talk about that. I mean, you know, the great Greta Thunberg, I say great but she's only 16 years old but she's made a great,
great impact, she has said that we take these attacks as a badge of honor. But, you know, that's putting a brave face on it.
And you just mentioned indigenous people and, of course, Brazil has been in the spotlight recently with the burning of the Amazon and with the very
defiant response from President Bolsonaro and his foreign minister. You have also alluded in your letter to how worried you are by the climate
crisis magnified by the burning of trees and deforestation.
BACHELET: Well, yes. I mean, we see deforestation. We see the disappearance of our land. We see these fires raging across the Amazonian-
- in three countries, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. On the other hand, we see in Ireland the ice melting. So we do see the changes that the planet
is having. And my concern is that I have the impression that people are not taking seriously enough.
So one of the thing that I will expect is that, next week when in New York, you know, the general assembly meets a high level general assembly meeting
with the three summits, the one on climate change, the one in universal health coverage and the one on agenda 2030 and to leave no one behind, I
hope member states go there not with speeches, and that's what the secretary general asked us, but concrete commitment. What will be the
concrete plan of action?
AMANPOUR: Tell me what action and who would you call out if you will be at these meetings?
BACHELET: Well, I would say -- one of the things that I already -- and I think I said it also in my open statement in the Human Rights Council, is a
small island are really leading because they are already leaving the consequences. So it's not -- and many of them already have national action
plans in terms of mitigation, in terms of adaptation, and, of course, in terms of prevention.
So what I think it needs to be done on one hand is to do a lot of education, civic education with the children, with the people because we
need a cultural change, a behavioral change. I mean, people needs to change the way they leave, the way they consume, the way we produce,
because otherwise this won't work.
We need also the governments to be -- to have the courage, because it needs to make difficult decisions. For example, sometimes you want the economy
to go well, of course, I did, as well, because you need to provide people with other things and a country has to develop. But on the other hand,
sometimes you have to make difficult decisions in terms of environment.
The third thing is we need business onboard, as well, because green economy and blue economy can't provide a lot of opportunities. It's not that the
economy is going to end, it's just that we need to learn that we cannot continue doing business as usual. And we do have very important companies
who are doing a lot on this regard. So we need everyone onboard.
AMANPOUR: I want to stick with Brazil, actually, and on the issue of human rights, not just the environment but other human rights, because you have
called out Brazil for all sorts of violations recently and the president, Jair Bolsonaro, who is a bit of a populist and who has a certain way of
speaking in public, he then turned around and sort of attacked you for what happened to your father, who was tortured under the regime of Augusto
Pinochet in Chile. Let me play the sound bite from the Brazilian president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): He is defending the human rights of a vagabonds (ph). She says more still. She criticized
that Brazil is losing its democratic arena. Mrs. Michelle Bachelet, if the people led by Pinochet have not defeated the left of 1973, including your
father, today, Chile would be like Cuba.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Michelle Bachelet, that's an extraordinary attack. I mean, that's from one president against you, a former president of a neighboring
country, Chile. How do you take that when he said that?
BACHELET: Well, I mean, I don't take it personal because what I totally feel that it's wrong is that any leader could excuse torture and violation
of human rights. They're so many. You listen to them every time saying that, you know, they're fighting extremism so that's why they cannot follow
the international standards of human right, the humanitarian laws.
[13:10:10] And that, I mean, very few, just to be honest, very few excuse torture. I haven't heard it many times. But I don't take it personal
because that's not the point. I know and I'm honored to have my father and what happened to him in terms of that he was a Democrat who really
supported democracy in my country, so I'm very proud of him.
But the thing that I really care or I'm concern about is when you see leaders either with a hate speech, either with sort of incentivating
xenophobia, racism or trying to rewrite the history of Latin America. I mean, in Latin America we did have dictatorship, we did have torture, we
did have extrajudicial killing, we did have people whose human rights were violated. And I think many of us really learned from those lessons. And I
think that there was a lot of people who rejected this kind of arguments.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, again it was really, it was really extraordinary. And as you say, I mean, it seems to, I don't know, it seems to whitewash
what happened in the regime and to your family.
Just remind us, for people who are not so familiar, you also were tortured. Obviously, your parents were arrested and tortured. Your father died in
prison. But you also were arrested and tortured. Just remind us what happened and how that informs your leadership of the human rights counsel.
BACHELET: Probably younger people believe that the 9/11 is only linked to the U.S., but in Chile's history the 9/11 on 1973 there was a coup d'etat
and -- military coup d'etat and many people were detained, among others my father. And he was arrested -- because he was a Democrat. He really
believed that the way to change a government, if people don't like it, is through elections.
So he did not support their coup d'etat, of course, and he was put into prison. A lot of different accusations were thrown at him and he was
tortured and he died under the torture of a heart attack.
My mother and me stayed for some time over there, but then I was studying medicine, I'm getting my medical doctor, and that -- and then afterwards,
they took us to prison and so we left for Australia where my brother was living.
And then, of course, I came back to Chile in 1979 to continue my life there, work, also, like a human right defender as well. I worked in an NGO
who was -- I was a doctor for -- because I did -- I finished the school, but then I did pediatric so I was the pediatrician of young children who
were either the daughter or sons of people in prison or killed or disappeared.
So I did -- I was a person whose human rights were being violated, but I also worked with people whose human rights were violated trying to give
them some comfort and some remedy.
So afterwards, of course, I work in the public sector as a doctor and then I studied defense issues and then I became -- under President Lagos
government, I became minister of health, afterwards minister of defense, and afterwards president of the republic, the first time. Then I was the
director of U.N. Women. And then I was -- again, run again and won again the presidency.
So that's when you're telling me this, I am telling you, I ran to this position, I tried to bring to this position because I do believe that
states are the responsible for promoting, protecting human rights.
I bring to this, on one hand, my own experience as an NGO, my own experience of a family victim of human rights violation, but also my own
experience being a minister, being a president who understand, which has the logics to takes this issues and try to think on which can be the best
proposals, the best narrative, how it convince government to do the right thing, how it convince parliaments, how it work with national commission of
human rights. So I try to bring all those experience to this post and I hope it works.
AMANPOUR: We just mentioned Bolsonaro of Brazil who has a big, you know, following there. And we also know that President Maduro, Nicolas Maduro,
has said nasty things about you, as well. And he has, well, certainly the Bolivarian Revolution had quite a lot of-- and the Chavistas had quite a
lot of populist support. But this is what Maduro has said about you and your efforts on behalf of human rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLAS MADURO, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translation): What does Michelle Bachelet have against the Bolivarian Revolution? What does she
have against us? Why you're envy?
[13:15:00] Why you're meanness? Why you're negative attitude? She lies, Michelle Bachelet. Repent yourself, Michelle Bachelet. Enough lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: How do you, not just really respond, but how do you actually do what you have to do as a human rights commissioner to try to engage even
those countries in terms of respecting human rights.
BACHELET: Well, in particular in the case of Venezuela, if you remember Christiane, I went there. I send first technical mission in March and then
I went there in June. And to everyone I speak in a very transparent way. I give recommendations. Countries can follow it or not, that's their own
issue. But to be honest, I do speak what the truth.
I mean, what I believe is the truth that I had received from all kinds of people. And we also sit to governments before we leave a country. Look,
this is what is going to come. Our report will include that and that and that. And we use the same methodology for all countries of the world.
So I would say it's very common, to be honest, that countries don't like to be criticized, government particularly don't like to be criticized, and
they always make comments or sometimes they try to convince the office not to release a report and so on. But that's part of their job.
AMANPOUR: That's part of their job. So you have also said that you're alarmed by the U.S. government, the Trump administration's treatment, for
instance, of migrants and particularly the detention of child migrants at the border. What will you say to the U.S. government, if you run into, I
don't know, President Trump at a meeting or in the hallway at this U.N. General Assembly?
BACHELET: Well, I'm not sure that's going to happen, really. But anyway, what I could say -- this year is the 30th anniversary of the Convention on
the Rights of the Children. And in the international human rights law on children, it is completely prohibited to detain children being at in the
situation that they are. So I would say we cannot punish children by the decision of their parents.
We have heard histories of child whose parents were deported and the child is now in New York, 5 years old, and he doesn't know anything about his
family, desperate. And so we listen to many dramatic situations that even the Supreme Court of the U.S. commented to the government that this was a
violation of children's rights and that this thing should be stopped.
AMANPOUR: Michelle Bachelet, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, thank you very much for joining me.
BACHELET: Thank you, Christiane. We'll see you in another time. Bye-bye.
AMANPOUR: So my next guest tonight is one of the most famous actors in the world. Yet the real life Brad Pitt remains something of an enigma. His
career spanning three decades has earned him a reputation as one of the best in the business. He's currently starring as a stunt man in Quentin
Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time" in Hollywood.
But his latest movie is an entirely new venture for Pitt, sci-fi film "Ad Astra." (INAUDIBLE) tackle a space odyssey for the first time. Pitt stars
as an astronaut send to the outer edges of the solar system to find his long lost father, a hero space commander who now poses a threat to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PITT: This is Major Roy McBride. I'm attempting to reach Dr. Clifford McBride. This is Dr. McBride's son. Dad, I would like to see you again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, "Ad Astra" means to the stars in Latin. And the film comes out here in the U.K. today and will hit theaters in the United States on
Friday. And this movie isn't just a space adventure, but it's a story about masculinity and vulnerability, a subject that Pitt has been keen to
AMANPOUR: Brad Pitt, welcome to the program.
PITT: Thank you. Thanks for being here out there.
AMANPOUR: Out here. I mean, you know, it's kind of relevant because what you've done is a big space epic, "Ad Astra," which is all about being here
and there and in the outer space. What in the first place made you want to do this?
PITT: Well, there were several factors, certainly a love for the sci-fi genre. I didn't want to do it until I figured we could do something that
would add to a really successful genre, something different. And I think James Gray had a really interesting take that we hadn't seen before. James
Gray is our writer/director. He's an old, old friend of mine.
PITT: And we certainly have a shorthand as friends.
[13:20:02] And it just seemed the subject matter of, I guess, finding oneself at this age of my life, it seemed interesting.
AMANPOUR: Well, there there's so much to talk about, because it is very different as a sci-fi film, as a space odyssey. And we're going to get
into that. But in general, what do you see as the big difference in terms of this one versus others that have been out there?
PITT: Well, in this one, for one, you know, usually in sci-fi we're dealing with aliens that are either out to destroy us or impart some
benevolent wisdom upon us and we're going to evolve either way.
And this one started with a quote that's attributed to Arthur Clarke, which is either we're not alone in the universe or we're completely alone. And
either outcome is equally terrifying. And the idea that, what if it was just us, then what? And that this idea could be terrifying to us, maybe
something I worry even actually running from. It was an interesting jumping off point.
AMANPOUR: So I'm going to play the first of a couple of clips we have. And this one is about you being told about the Lima Project and you're
being talked to by space command because they're looking for your dad in an even. Let's just play this and we'll talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Major, what can you tell us about the Lima Project?
PITT: First manned expedition to the outer solar system, sir, some 29 years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that commander was?
PITT: It was my father, sir. The ship disappeared approximately 16 years into the mission. I know data isn't going to be (ph) covered. Deep-space
missions were halted after that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We have something that might come as quite a shock to you. We believe your father is still alive near Neptune.
PITT: My father is alive, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that's the beginning of the mystery. Your father, you discovered, they think is alive. I'm not sure that you think it yet in the
film. And they tell you that he's in charge of this thing, which could have a chain reaction that could destroy all known living beings and
unbeings in the solar system. Just tell us a little bit about what they then ask you to do.
PITT: It's actually to make contact. They're asserting that he's gone rogue and has become a danger to our solar system. So, yes, the universe
is in peril.
AMANPOUR: And you've said that this is the most difficult film that you've ever worked on. Why?
PITT: It is the most delicate film because it's just so delicate to my surprise. When we were -- as we were putting this together, you know, we
set out to make a very sincere film. I mean, a real bare bones, bare raw kind of honesty. And the danger in that is that in sincerity it can become
too earnest and tip the scales of the film.
And it was very interesting to see how one piece of voiceover or holding on a take for too long can suddenly make it just too earnest and then if we
worked conversely the other way. And we're talking about seconds. And if we got out too early, it would be flat and the emotion wasn't there. I've
never quite wrestled with a film in that way.
AMANPOUR: Well, in a way, that clip showed a little bit of that because, you know, my father is alive, sir. I mean, you say this in a very, very
restrained manner. I mean, he's been gone 29 years and now they're telling you, his son, his presumably grief-stricken son, that he's alive. And this
is a repetitive theme of the way you perform here. It's incredibly restrained.
We showed in the introduction where you sending a message to your father. You're saying, dad, I'd like to see you again. This is part of the
expedition. And, you know, it's, again, restrained and you have to clear your throat afterwards and contain yourself and regain your composure.
You've never done anything like that before, have you?
PITT: Probably not to this degree. I'm usually more physical. But, you know, I think of the great Anthony Hopkins and I've always been mesmerized
by what he did in "Remains of the Day." And that it was -- he was able in stillness to still be -- to invoke incredible emotion. And I think looking
back I've certainly taken a page from him in this.
[13:25:01] AMANPOUR: And then the other thing, which you cannot escape, and you sort of alluded to it, it is also about loneliness. It's also
about father and son, their relationship. It's also about masculinity and vulnerability.
Before I get down to the nitty-gritty of each of those, how do you process all of that? I mean, you said it's, you know, it's come at a time in your
life where it's interesting for you to grapple in such a public way with those emotions
PITT: Well, I mean, on one hand, you know, you get older and you just get tired of protecting yourself or having any secrets, you know. You just
want to get on with it. And we wanted to get on with it in this film in a way -- I mean, we all carry, I think, great pains, great regrets. We've
all experienced loss. We've all experienced great loneliness at times.
And we're good at packing that away, not dealing with -- some are really good at getting through it and coming out the other side in a more well
rounded, I think, more confident and loving human being. So we just wanted to, like, no holds barred. Let's just go. Let's get it out there.
AMANPOUR: Well, look, here is a lovely clip that -- I mean, we have it because it's available, but it's still a really important clip in this
regard. So we're just going play -- this is, again, part of what you say to your dad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PITT (voice-over): I recall how we used to watch black and white movies together. Musicals were you favorite. I remember you tutoring me in math.
You instilled in me a strong work ethic. You should know I've chosen a career that you would approve of. I've dedicated my life to the
exploration of space, and I thank you for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, that was a voice-over and you're telling your dad those things. But, how did it sort of reflect your own life, your own
relationship? You have sons and daughters and you are a son. How did it sort of bond with the real Brad Pitt?
PITT: My individual experience is somewhat universal in the fact that our, you know, our parents are our universe, our God, our first imprint on how
to behave, react, feel in the world. And with that to different degrees, some of us more than others carry pain and confusion from that. I think it
almost takes a lifetime to understand what was yours and what was theirs.
As a child, I think most kids usually take fault or something of that nature on ourselves. So, I think it was just a real investigation of
parsing through that and to really be able to understand yourself.
As a dad -- I mean, my dad always said he wanted to give me a better life than he had coming from extreme poverty. And he did it. And it makes me
think, as a dad, what do I have to offer that's better than I had to my kids?
AMANPOUR: What about women? It's interesting that the two female characters are pretty minor characters, pretty minimal appearances on, you
know, onscreen. And some people have remarked on that. Tell me the reason for that and the thinking behind that.
PITT: I'm not sure what the remarks are. I mean, this is -- you know, it is an investigation of masculinity in our definitions of a more of romance
type never show weakness versus, I guess, vulnerability.
And so, you know, like Liv Tyler's character represents his regrets, whether you got wrong. What do you feel she mishandled or missed? And
that she is an example of -- in the feminine, an example that maybe in the masculine we need to take better note of, we could take better note off.
And then Ruth Negga's character is more this voice of wisdom that sent us off in the direction, the fated direction that will be the ultimate, I
guess, death, rebirth, if I can speak poetically.
AMANPOUR: You've been through some fairly public, you know, sad things recently. You've been divorced and publicly you then spoke about what it
was like to go through one of these things that not many men talk about and many men don't think it's OK to get help for certain things like alcohol
and other kinds of substance.
And you spoke without revealing the obvious confidential nature of alcoholics anonymous about what it did and what it gave to you. Can you
tell me, so that other people, you know, who are in that kind of situation, might get a little bit of a, you know, a boost from somebody like you, if
they need that kind of help.
PITT: I don't know. I mean, certainly for me, you know, what I realized was I was running to things to avoid tough feelings, painful feelings. I
just didn't know how to deal with them and looking for anything I found that I used for escape to escape.
Those kinds of, I guess, difficult feelings. I don't know how better to describe it. I mean, it can be anything. It can be drugs, booze, Netflix,
I don't want to be -- I don't want at this point to be running from anything. I want to be -- I want to sit in it, I want to feel it, I want
to get through the rough night.
And I found in doing so, you just -- you come out the other side with a more profound understanding of yourself and a greater gratefulness for
those in your life, and the birds and the trees, and everything else.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you about the other film that has been a summer hit that you starred in which is "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." And it's
obviously much more of a buddy film, much more of an ensemble.
You are the stunt man to Leonardo DiCaprio's lead actor, and it is an extraordinary performance. It's extraordinary sort of dynamic between the
two of you.
Some have said, and I think even James Gray have said, and I'm going to get it all mangled. But he said, you know, I've been struck as to how Brad
Pitt hasn't necessarily been a leading man up until now.
You know, not so much of a character actor. And now you're doing much more of that. Can you reflect on that?
PITT: I don't -- I don't know. I mean, I don't have a lot to say about "Once Upon a Time" because Quentin and Leo are pretty magical in their own
rights and there's some really good alchemy there.
But no, I'm doing like I've always done it. I was winged on '70s films. And then when I got started, there were people like Penn who was doing
"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and this really interesting characters, Mickey Rourke in Pope.
And that really struck me as you can do all the things. And it just felt more interesting because we are all those things.
AMANPOUR: Your breakout film I think, correct me if I'm wrong, was "Thelma and Louise", right? that made you a massive star presence on the horizon.
I don't know whether it's just me or whether you heard from other people that some, certainly, women who watched the film maybe couldn't separate
you from the character and found what you did to Thelma just, oh, my goodness.
PITT: Because I robbed her?
PITT: Because my character robbed her?
PITT: Yes. Yes. Well, it's back to the '70s characters, isn't it? You know, we're all a bit flawed.
AMANPOUR: What did you like about that film? And this is leading me to somewhere.
PITT: Well, first it was, you know, I mean they let me in the game. That was the first big game. And it's Ridley Scott who made "Blade Runner" and
"Alien", a couple of my favorites, still, and it's Geena.
And I was just, you know, it was just one of those things I was in. Now, what am I going to do with it?
AMANPOUR: I was just interviewing Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey who have written "She Said" and it's the inside story of Harvey Weinstein and how
they reported and broke the news that launched the #MeTooMovement.
And they have a lot of great things to say about Gwyneth Paltrow and how instrumental she was in helping them when they needed to sort of connect
the dots and try to, you know, try to find a way to confirm some of the things that he did.
And as you know, this has been a huge and important story that's rocked Hollywood. But this is what they said about Gwyneth's role, and in
relation to that, about your role, as well. So I just want to play you a little sound bite and get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JODI KANTOR, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: The essence of the Gwyneth story is not just about the fact that she says he ended a business
meeting at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills by placing hands on her and saying let's finish this in the bedroom. The point is, she had been cast
in the movie "Emma" which was a star-making role. It was a great part but it hadn't been filmed yet.
And after Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time, confronted Weinstein, Weinstein called Gwyneth, according to her, and said you're going to ruin
everything. You're going to screw up your whole career and she thought she was going to be fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Brad Pitt, it's obviously Gwyneth's story to tell and the reporter's story to tell. But I wonder if you feel, you know, you can add
anything to that. Because you do come out as, you know, one of the heroes of this story. You confronted a guy that very few people were willing to
PITT: Oh, well, I think that's a -- I mean a bit much. I have a couple of things to say.
I mean at that moment, you know, I was a boyfriend in the Ozarks on the playground and that's -- I mean that was -- that's how we confronted with
things and wanted to make sure nothing happened further because she was going to do two films.
You know, I think that the interesting thing is that we, Hollywood specifically, but the workplace, men and women's dynamics is being
recalibrated in a very good way and it's long overdue. And I do think that's an important story to tell.
AMANPOUR: Well, I'm glad. And it took a boy from the Ozarks to do that, anyway, on that particularly difficult playground. And, again, it's all
part of the issue of masculinity and that's what your new film "Ad Astra" is about. So, Brad Pitt, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
PITT: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I'm a big fan.
AMANPOUR: It's a true epic with an amazing message.
And now, we separate the fact from the science fiction with our next guest, Brad Smith. As president of Microsoft, he leads one of the world's most
His new book pulls back the curtain on Microsoft as the company grapples with the ethical questions that come with technology like artificial
intelligence. Coauthored with Carol-Ann Brown, it's called "Tools and Weapons."
And he sat down with our Hari Sreenivasan to talk about the promise and the peril of the digital age and why he's one of the few tech leaders today
calling for more, not less, privacy regulation.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CONTRIBUTOR: Early on in your book, I'm just going to read a quick paragraph. When you're describing a data center that you walk
into, you say somewhere in one of these rooms, in one of these buildings, there are data files that belong to you. They have the e-mail you wrote
this morning, the document you worked on last night, and the photo you took yesterday afternoon.
They also, likely contain personal information from your bank, doctor, and employer. And you lead with that information belongs to me, but I don't
feel like I really have control over it. I mean, how do I find it, delete it once and for all, if it's copied in all these different rooms that I
have no access where they are.
BRAD SMITH, PRESIDENT, MICROSOFT: I think that is one of the great questions of our time. These huge data center campuses have become, in
many ways, the most important piece of infrastructure of the 21st Century. Yet no one ever gets to go inside.
SREENIVASAN: Like Digital Fort Knox.
SMITH: Yes. And that's why we start the book by taking people on a tour of a data center to see this. Because I think until you sort of grasp that
physical reality, you can't quite then get your mind around the security issues, the privacy issues, the broader technical issues that are just
SREENIVASAN: You know, there's this old phrase that I remember from when I covered the tech industry, if you can't see the product, you are the
product, right? That they're basically -- the data about you and how you use these services is being bought and sold.
So I'm wondering if I use Bing Search and if I have a Hot Mail account and if I use an Edge Browser, isn't the default that advertisers have access to
how I navigate the world and aren't they figuring out all sorts of little bits of information about me?
SMITH: I don't think every company is approaching this in the same way. I think the challenge is it's hard to know, you know, what the different
companies are doing.
You know, in Microsoft, we focus more on, you know, really saying, hey, our business is not fundamentally advertising, it's on protecting your data
rather than trying to monetize it in that way. But I also think that this really turns on the protection of privacy more broadly.
One reason we devoted a chapter on the development of consumer privacy issues is because we think this has been, you know, going through waves of
evolution, starting in the 1990s. But we think we're now approaching a third wave where we're going to see more government rules in place because
I think what the marketplace is telling us is that people do care about privacy but they don't feel they can pull away from these services and
instead they, in fact, want more government rules to protect them.
SREENIVASAN: Most tech companies have been, for a while, saying I don't want any government interference in this. And they've really had that run
up the place. And here you are saying I think there's a happy medium here and we should go in that direction.
SMITH: I think we at Microsoft sometimes approach these issues from a somewhat different perspective in part because of our own historical
experience. We went through this episode in the late 1990s when the U.S. government and states obtained a court order to break the company up.
You know, we successfully defended against it but we learned we had to change. That we needed to connect with the world. We needed to assume
And I think what that taught us, in part, is that when you think about a long-term vision, stability, success is served best by sustaining the
publics' trust. And you can't expect the public to trust companies if that's the only thing they're allowed to trust.
The public does depend on laws and controls and a fabric that supports the community as a whole. And so we do think that a broader perspective, if
you will, is a more enlightened one.
SREENIVASAN: So as a software and services company, how does Microsoft's operation differ from Google or Facebook who make their money from
SMITH: If you look at where most of Microsoft's revenue comes from, it is basically persuading you to pay us to use our software or devices, you
know, in our software as a service. And then, yes, I would say part of our value proposition is you're paying us to keep you secure, to honor the fact
that the data is your own.
Obviously, there are advertising business based models. And, you know, in that case, you don't pay the company with your money. You do still pay the
company, I believe, because you pay by providing the company with access to your data and the company gets paid but the company gets paid by
And so there is this interesting economic tension, if you will, between honoring the needs of the people who use your service and working with the
advertisers who pay you for the data that you were getting.
SREENIVASAN: I feel like right now where information is headed that there could be a future where privacy is the ultimate luxury. That the more
powerful you are, the more you're going to be able to employ resources, to pick up your digital crumbs whether it's in the cloud or other places.
Because there's so many pieces of my information that are being transacted today that I don't have any control over, that I'm certainly not being paid
SMITH: One of the things that I think is so interesting is the United States has been slow to adopt privacy laws. Europe has really been the
birthplace of modern privacy protection, especially since the 1990s.
But there's a really important lesson from the last year. California adopted a sweeping privacy law. You might ask but why California?
The answer is very clear. It's because they have a ballot opportunity. You can put an initiative on the ballot and once people look at the
polling, they saw that more than 80 percent of the California voters were likely to support this.
That shows you where the public voice and interest is. And I think that is a voice that we need to listen to regardless whether we create technology
or we're just like, all of us, we use it. We rely on it every day.
I think ultimately we need a national privacy law. I gave a speech in 2005 saying this and most people in the tech sector just yawned.
But I think now people are awake and ultimately national law would serve us best. It there's not a national law, the California law will be the de
facto national law of the United States.
SREENIVASAN: In the book, you write about a few moments in the past few years that increased our awareness of data. 2013, Edward Snowden's
revolutions, also, another big moment. 2018, Cambridge Analytica. So what does Microsoft do to, I guess, maybe police either your clients or access
to any of our information?
SMITH: Well, the first thing I would say is this decade has had these two critical inflection points. 2013 with the Snowden disclosures was the
awakening of where data was being used in the U.S. government. 2018 with Cambridge Analytica was a political awakening, especially, with concerns
about what companies were doing.
And so to really answer your question, I think it starts with exercising more self-restraint, having clear principles on how we think about data,
how we use data. But it actually, also, really requires creating the technology tools so that every business, every government, every nonprofit
can manage its data in a way that protects privacy, both privacy as required by laws that are changing, privacy with changing expectations
SREENIVASAN: One of the big revelations also in 2018, or 2016 I should say, was the integrity of our elections. I mean the U.S. Intelligence
agencies said there's been multiple incursions by other state actors, Russia and others.
Also, around the election, there was this reckoning that technology companies certainly were ones that owned the platforms are enabling the
spread of misinformation and disinformation in an unparalleled way. I mean to what extent are platforms or should platforms be responsible for the
information that is trafficked across them? I mean, the United States has a rule basically that indemnifies the tech companies but other countries
SMITH: When we see these kinds of threats to our democracy, we all have a responsibility to take action. That means if you're a tech company, first
thing I would say is, regardless whether you have a legal duty, I think we have a civic responsibility to step up.
And I would be the first to say companies are. We have more to do and we always will, I think.
But then the second thing is governments need to do more, as well. It's good for governments to put more pressure on companies to do more. But
there's no other area where you would say, oh, we're going to defend the country from foreign threats by just asking a bunch of businesses to do
That is almost a quintessential responsibility of the government. And it needs a collaboration, new forms of collaboration, if you will.
SREENIVASAN: You've been responsible for leading the Paris call for trust and security in cyberspace. The U.S. is not a party. Neither are Russia,
Iran, China, Israel. These are major actors.
So even if you have a coalition of the willing, when you don't have these major actors in the game agreeing to the set of rules --
SMITH: Well, with the Paris call on cybersecurity, we have a clear goal. It's to bring together the democracies of the world with nonprofit groups
and businesses of the democratic nations to protect the internet, our fundamental infrastructure from attacks. Attacks, that in some cases, are
obviously coming from nondemocratic nations.
You know, in the world today, there are roughly 75 democratic countries and they have roughly half the world's population. We are disappointed that
the United States hasn't signed the Paris call, but 67 nations have.
Most of the democratic societies of the world are working together. All 28 members of the European Union, 25 of the 27 members of NATO. To me, it's a
great example of a coalition of the willing. Keep working, keep building, the day will come when the U.S. thinks.
SREENIVASAN: You're an optimist?
SREENIVASAN: Right now, at least on the political campaign trail, on the Democrat side, there's definitely a push to break up tech companies that --
and the platforms and essentially these near monopolies are stifling competition.
You've heard all these arguments before. You've lived through them. What is the piece of advice that you'd give to the companies that are now under
the, you know, watchful gaze of the attorney generals around the United States?
SMITH: I think the most important thing that we learn when we had our years on the hot seat was that you have to look at yourself, you have to
see what other people see in you. And unfortunately, that's never as positive as what you think you see when you look in the mirror.
Understand their concerns and start to address them. Be prepared to comprise.
Our fundamental message is, if you create the technology that changes the world, you have a responsibility to help address the world that you have
SREENIVASAN: Recently, some of your employees protested your decision to go forward with the $10 billion contract at the Pentagon. You wrote on
Microsoft Blog that, listen, you've been working with the Department of Defense for 40 years. You're going to stay engaged. You're going to be
proactive. This is a way that you can influence the policy from the inside.
But can you give me an example of how you have used your position inside different government agencies to advocate for something that perhaps they
didn't think of in a way that is respectful of privacy?
SMITH: Sure. Well, one of them is what is what's happening with facial recognition. Because facial recognition is important for privacy, it's
important for people's broader rights.
You know, and we've turned down deals in nondemocratic countries where we would see human rights put at risk through broad based facial recognition,
but even in the United States. We've shared there was a law enforcement agency in California that came to us, they wanted to put cameras in every
police car, use facial recognition to identify whether the people being pulled over for any purpose at all were a match for their data base.
We said no. We said, look, this technology is not ready or suitable for that purpose. It is likely to be biased and lead to falsely identifying
people, especially people of color and women for whom the data sets are just not as strong.
And we then work with that law enforcement agency. We're advocating for legislation across the country to, among other things, address that risk of
SREENIVASAN: How concerned should people be about facial recognition and the data that's being gathered by companies and countries as I walk through
the streets in my life right now?
SMITH: One of the reasons we devoted a chapter in our book to facial recognition is because, perhaps, it's becoming almost a quintessential tool
and potential weapon. It's one reason we advocate strongly both for governments moving faster, if there is any single area where I just feel we
need urgent action by governments, it's to start adopting laws in the field of facial recognition.
But at the same time, we shouldn't just give companies a pass. You know, that's why we have said we're taking the principles that we are encouraging
governments to adopt the law and we're applying them to ourselves immediately. I think people should be asking everybody in the tech sector
to do more of that.
SREENIVASAN: You know it seems that China right now is going to use facial recognition and artificial intelligence in a totally different way. They
want an ordered world and they want this technology to help them control dissident, et cetera.
Russia, on the other hand, might be using it to start a different cold war and use all these technologies to spy on and maybe even disrupt elections
and so forth. The United States doesn't seem to have some sort of coherent strategy on how we want to harness the power that is inside A.I.
SMITH: You raise, I think, a fundamentally important point. In our book, it's, in part, a call to action.
In the United States, in the democratic societies of the world, if we want to protect values that we think are timeless, like democratic freedoms,
human rights, we do need a more coherent approach in the United States across the democracies of the world.
And, you know, we need to get after it. We can't just study this and debate this and watch gridlock continue to unfold in Washington, D.C., or
That's why we, frankly, are appealing to everybody trying to make these issues more assessable to all of us who are affected by them so the public
voice can be heard.
SREENIVASAN: Look, I totally hear what you're saying about democratic values and human rights. And somebody is going to watch this interview and
say but what about all the data centers they have in China right now? And at the same time, you've got possibly a million, million and a half Uighurs
in the western part of the country that are in reeducation camps in 2019.
SMITH: Well, actually, you know, one reason we devote -- it was the hardest chapter in the book to write about, China, is because the
complexity of these issues. There are certain services that we're comfortable putting there. You know, services for businesses and the like.
But, you know, consumer data, consumer e-mail service, we don't have that in China. We don't have that in certain other countries. We don't put
that kind of data in certain countries because whenever you put data about somebody in a country, you put that person's most precious information
potentially at risk.
You have to think long and hard. We need people to be thoughtful before we just build these data centers everywhere and put all the data in the world
SREENIVASAN: You know you are the longest serving executive now at Microsoft in 26 years. What is the biggest argument that you lost where
you wish you could say to everyone see, I told you so, we should have done this?
SMITH: Well, you don't become the longest serving anything by being the one who walks around saying I told you so. That's usually not a recipe for
We have learned so much over the year. And, you know, not surprisingly, you know, as somebody who was in the middle of the anti-trust issues, at
least to some degree in the '90s, you know, I was very happy when we all had the opportunity to learn some lessons that were so important about what
it takes to, you know, just sort of step up and connect with people, companies, competitors, governments, the public.
And, to me, a lot of life is about variations on that theme. Think about the long-term. Listen to what other people have to say. Be curious about
their point of view. But perhaps most importantly, think about the public interest.
You know, there was the old story of, you know, the CEO of General Motors who long ago said that what was good for General Motors was good for
America. I have the opposite view. I believe that what is good for America will be good for Microsoft.
We are the product of the values of this kind of democracy. And if we need to adapt to serve democracy, we should. And when we do, we'll do well.
SREENIVASAN: All right. The book is called "Tools and Weapons." Brad Smith of Microsoft along with Carol-Ann Brown, the coauthor, thank you so
much for joining us.
SMITH: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And these tech issues are not going away any time soon.
That's it for our program. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com. And you can follow me on Instagram and
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.