Return to Transcripts main page
Interview with Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown; Interview with The New York Times Opinion Columnist Jamelle Bouie; Interview with "The Shark Is Broken" Actor and Co-Writer Ian Shaw. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired August 11, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORDON BROWN, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This is gender persecution. It is gender apartheid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Two years since the Taliban takeover, Afghan women and girls are all but erased from public life. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
joins me about why he thinks it should now be called a crime against humanity.
Then, "New York Times" opinion columnist. Jamelle Bouie, talks to Walter Isaacson about the fragility of America's institutions and the never-ending
drama of its politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IAN SHAW, ACTOR AND CO-WRITER, "THE SHARK IS BROKEN": The shark wasn't working, so the frustrations were building. So, there was this atmosphere
ripe for fighting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What really went on behind the scenes during the filming of "Jaws"? That drama is coming to Broadway. And we bring you my conversation
with its writer and star, Ian Shaw, son of Robert Shaw, the film's original shark hunter.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The scenes are impossible to forget. Chaos and desperation at the Kabul Airport as Americans hastily left Afghanistan and the Taliban took over. It
was nearly two years ago now, and any hope that this Taliban 2.0 might be a more moderate version has all but vanished. The rights of women and girls
are continuously under assault. Secondary schools are still closed for girls. And the latest edict, closed beauty salons. Not just a place of
work, but one of the last all women spaces where they could socialize.
Listen to one Kabul shop owner struggling to make sense of it all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (through translator): I am experiencing one of the worst and darkest days of my life. Total, absolute disappointment. We
started our work with lots of passion and enthusiasm, but unfortunately, everything is over now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: She added that the only way to live a good life now is to leave the country. Gordon Brown was Britain's prime minister during the war in
Afghanistan. His troops were part of the western coalition there. And now, he is the U.N. global envoy on education, and he's making a bold
declaration, that the denial of female education and any rights for women in Afghanistan should be declared a crime against humanity.
In an op-ed for Britain's "Guardian" newspaper, he's calling on world leaders to unite against the Taliban's repression of women and girls.
Prime Minister Brown, welcome back to the program.
GORDON BROWN, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: A pleasure.
AMANPOUR: So, you are in office, both as chancellor then as prime minister during the years where the Taliban were defeated, Al Qaeda was defeated,
and it seemed the whole point was to free Afghan women and to create some kind of stable political environment. When you see what's happening now to
the women, what do you think?
BROWN: And millions of girls and women went to school for the first time, there was a huge expansion of rights and opportunities for girls and women,
and to see what is happening now, the exclusion of girls from education, women from employment, the ban on entry into public places, most recently,
a ban on even entry to cemeteries where the relatives are buried that is afflicted on women and on girls, is the most heinous and vicious crime that
is being perpetrated against women and girls around the world.
And I'm surprised there is so little international attention on this flagrant abuse of human rights, which is systematic, which will continue as
long as pressure is not put on the Taliban regime and needs to be dealt with. And that's why I'm proposing that the International Criminal Court
look specifically at the violation of the rights of girls and women in Afghanistan, and I believe that governments like the American government
and the U.K. government must impose sanctions on those people who are directly responsible for this policy.
It's not enough now just to complain about what's happening. We need a systematic plan to be able to force the hand of the Taliban regime, so that
girls and women's rights are upheld and returned to them as they were being returned in the 20 years before the Taliban took control again.
AMANPOUR: So, let me just go deeply into what the U.N. has said, and this is now two years since the Taliban has been in power. Obviously, the plight
of women in Afghanistan, they say, is the worst globally. In June, they say, women and girls in Afghanistan are experiencing severe discrimination
that may amount to gender persecution, a crime against humanity, and be characterized as gender apartheid, as the de facto authorities appeared to
be governing by systematic discrimination with the intention to subject women and girls to total domination.
This is very strong language for the U.N., which is not often known for its very strong language. Now, obviously, the United Nations does not recognize
the Taliban. How do you -- you call for sanctions, you call for accountability, but they've proven, you know, resistant to that in the last
BROWN: What we have, I think, is a split within the Afghanistan authorities. It's clear that this is being directed by the religious
authorities in Kandahar, and it's clear that the minute that there is an attempt to bring education back to girls and women in Afghanistan, the
religious clerics, the mullahs, has step up their campaign.
So, increasingly, they have banned the entry of women and girls into public spaces, public parks, into any forms of entertainment, beauty parlors,
everything that they can really target they are trying to ban. But there is a split in the regime.
It's absolutely clear that within the ministry of education there are people who want to restore the rights to girls. It's also clear that in
some provinces, the implementation of this is not happening in the way that the clerics have intended. We know, of course, that there are underground
schools that many organizations, NGOs, are supporting. We know that the internet education is getting through into Afghanistan. We've got to step
up all these things to make sure that the Afghans know that they can try and re-press for some time, but they will never be able to repress forever.
That they can ban books and ban education, but the world will get through.
And I think it's very important to recognize that there are very brave young Afghan girls and women who are fighting at the risk of torture and
the risk of being imprisoned for the rights of girls to go to school. And of course, the most prominent leader of the NGO in Afghanistan that is
pressing for women's education and girls' education is now in prison. We need to alert the world to what is happening. And of course, I think we
need to expose the splits within the Afghan regime.
AMANPOUR: So, that is a very interesting thing that you put your finger on, because my reporting has revealed that as well. But here's the thing,
as you say, the more practical pragmatic minded Taliban, who actually control the most militia and are the most powerful, they are in Kabul. But
they seem not to want -- on pain of death and sanctions that everything else, they seem not to want to challenge the religious authorities, the
fundamentalist in Kandahar.
So, what would you prescribe for some kind of way of changing the fundamentalist religious authorities?
BROWN: That's why, in addition to the legal opinion, we are publishing in the next few days, and in addition to asking individual governments to put
sanctions on the regime, I think it's very important for the Muslim majority countries, the leaders of these countries, to form a delegation,
to meet the religious clerics in Kandahar.
Everybody, I think, who studies this knows that there is nothing in Islam that says that girl's education should be banned or suppressed. There's
nothing in the religious edicts of the religion that should allow for this discrimination to happen. And you're right to say, as I say in the opinion
that we do, that this is gender persecution, it is gender apartheid. And that's why it is something that we've got to fight in Afghanistan to
prevent it happening in every other part of the world.
So, I would appeal to the Muslim majority countries leaders who have expressed distaste for the policy, who have called on it to be changed, but
to go further and lead delegations into Afghanistan, to the clerics, and not just to the political leaders, and tell them that this is not only
anti-Islam, but it's an offense against basic human rights that we cannot ever uphold, and at the same time, we are not going to allow other
countries to face this in the future. So, it cannot succeed in Afghanistan.
So, we have had meetings. The Taliban have a number of committees in the government looking at these issues. But you are right to say that the ban
by the religious clerics has got to be taken head on. And religious clerics from the rest of the world, as well as political leaders, should be putting
pressure on these Kandahar mullahs who are standing in the way of girls getting the proper rights to education.
AMANPOUR: So, you're the U.N. global education envoy, and as you've mentioned, there is a split. So, this -- you are recommending the ICC
levels charges of crimes against humanity. Is that a blanket allegation to all the Taliban? Does it name particular? What do you -- how will it work
and what will be the result, do you think?
BROWN: I think you know the way the International Criminal Court works, and it's doing an investigation generally into Afghanistan at the moment.
But the way it works is that charges are going to be laid against individuals for their decisions and for their part in the crimes against
Gender persecution, I think, is now recognized as a crime against humanity. And this is the classic case of where it's happening in a way we've got to
act. And so, I would urge the International Criminal Court, the prosecutors of the court, to open an investigation specifically into genders
discrimination. Either that or extend the existing review of they're doing into including, specifically, gender discrimination. And I would want to
see a report done on this.
Now, there's a precedent in the last few months, because the ICC has taken action against Russia, by opening the investigation and laying charges in
relation to the transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia. And so, for the first time, in a way, the International Criminal Court is dealing with
the needs of children in a way that we've been arguing for some years. But to extend the investigation in Afghanistan into specifically the crime of
gender discrimination under the aegis, of course, a crime against humanity would be the right thing to do next.
Now, of course, the International Criminal Court is independent, and it's right that it be so, but I think governments should say that they will
support the prosecutor if he is in a position and decides to launch this investigation and to lay charges against the leaders. That would be the
ministers for education, but it could also be the clerics, of course. But it would be those people who have made the fundamental decision to deprive
girls of education, and of course, women of employment.
BROWN: Women banned only a few weeks ago from doing medical exams at university. Women banned from going into public places with other edicts
only a few weeks ago, and this systematic abuse of women's rights continues and seems to be stepped up by some of the clerics --
AMANPOUR: You know --
BROWN: -- and we've got to show that we are not going to take this.
AMANPOUR: -- one of the terrible -- well, one of the only recourses, a lot of women think they have, is to flee. And there are many reasons why there
is a global refugee crisis and why the tragedies are, you know, innumerable. You've got yet another boat that's capsized, killing's dozens
of people, this time off Italy, before that it was off Greec recently.
And you have your own country putting asylum seekers and refugees and "small boat riders" on to what is being described as unsanitary and unsafe
boat, you know, fit for 200 people, 500 people are being crammed onto it. What is your view of that policy here?
BROWN: Well, let's be clear. I did not support the boats policy that is being prescribed at the moment. But let me look at what that means for
Afghan girls and women. There are means by which a fast-tracked asylum- seeking offer can be made to Afghan girls and women. There were two particular fast-tracked schemes for refugees or asylum seekers to come to
And, yes, you're right, the present policy is something that I do not support, but there are ways that we can help Afghan girls and women at the
moment, either get education within Afghanistan, leave Afghanistan to a neighboring country with some support, or at the same time, if it becomes
necessary and that is what required, there are two schemes to help people get into this country without the usual problems.
AMANPOUR: Another, obviously, huge driver of refugees, plus the whole existential crisis that the whole world faces, is climate change. And we've
seen this really chaotic summer of massive overwhelming heat and then huge fluctuations in temperature and storms, it's really obvious now to even the
most reluctant believer.
But here in the U.K., both the current government, and, indeed, the opposition, appeared to be diluting their commitment to climate mitigation.
Can you tell me why you think that's happening?
BROWN: Look --
AMANPOUR: It's obviously for votes. And how can we get governments to actually step up instead of retreating?
BROWN: Well, I'm not diminishing my commitment to climate adaptation and mitigation. And I think as chairman of education Cannot Wait, which is the
organization that helps displaced and refugee children, I think you'll know from your reporting that it used to be the case that most children who were
displaced and refugees were because of conflict, and that is still a huge issue in perhaps 40 conflicts around the world.
But the bigger number now is climate change, either through droughts or through floods or through fires or through the melting of ice caps and so
on and so forth, we are seeing people dispersed across different continents and displaced as a result of that and unable to get education and
schooling. So, the first thing, I think, we've got to do is finance the help that we make available to the displaced and refugee, particularly
children, to enable them to have a possible start in life that is being denied at the moment.
But I also agree with you that COP 28 is going to be an important event, because it is a test of whether, after all the talk and after all the
promises and after all the aspirations that had been set out on paper, which many have thought have just been greenwashing, the world and the
International Community is going to be able to come up with the funds that are necessary to allow for mitigation and adaptation to take place,
particularly in the poorest countries of the world.
As you know, we have never met, as an International Community, the hundred billion that has been promised to deal with mitigation and adaptation for
the vulnerable countries. The loss and damage fund has hardly any contributors to it, even though it was set up at the last COP in Egypt. And
we will have to come up.
And I think the oil economies of the Middle East have a particular responsibility here because the COP 28 is in Dubai, it's in the UAE, a
particular responsibility to bring people together with an offer that is a financial one based on the money that they have had as windfall profits
from oil and gas as well as the responsibilities that historic and current emitters have to deal with this problem.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, just finally then, you were well known for drawing the global coalition together to, you know, come out of the financial crisis.
What is it that prevents that happening again in a global way around climate? Why isn't there, you know, a commitment by all the countries, not
just the poor, not just the rich giving to the poor, but everybody who needs to come together on climate?
BROWN: It's a retreat worldwide into protectionism, internationalism and into mercantilism, and that has been a feature of the recent years, in the
decade after 2010. We started by having bans on imports and bans on immigration and everything else. Now, we have a more aggressive policy
pursued by many, many countries that is essentially protectionist and nationalist.
And what I would be looking for at COP 28, you've got the G20 coming in India in the September beforehand, the IMF and World Bank meetings, which
are a chance to prepare the ground, what I'll be looking for his new multilateralism. I'd like to see countries recognizing that there are
common challenges. And that's what we've persuaded people to do in 2009. It wasn't just an American crisis of banking failures, it was a global crisis
of financial instability and to persuade people, that because you have a global crisis and a global problem, you need to come together to agree to
coordinated global solutions.
And it's this desire to come together that's got to be fostered over the next few months instead of countries for treating into the silos, doing
their own thing and then blaming other people for not doing enough. We need to have a common aspiration to get to some agreement on what needs to be
done financially on climate change, but to deal with financial instability, to deal with the potential of another pandemic, to deal with all the
problems that arise from the proliferation of nuclear weapons at the moment. I think all these problems need a common grounding through
countries being prepared to adopt a new kind of multilateralism.
AMANPOUR: On that note, Prime Minister Brown, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
BROWN: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Turning now to another fight for women's rights, this one next door to Afghanistan in Iran. It's been almost a year since the tragic death
of Mahsa Amini that sparked protests all over the country. But despite calls for change, the government is clamping down on women not wearing the
hijab, even trying to pass a new and stricter law. Jomana Karadsheh reports.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Iran's brave women are fighting for their freedom with everyday acts of defiance
like this, out on the streets without the mandatory hijab. This recent video appeared to show a woman harassed and called a criminal for refusing
to cover up. The days of being afraid of you are over, she says.
Nearly a year after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini in the custody of the so-called morality police, the uprising sparked by her death
may have been crushed by a bloody crackdown, but not the will of those standing up for their most basic of rights. Countless women have been
defying the clerical establishment, choosing not to wear the compulsory hijab.
And now, the regime is lashing out with a campaign of renewed repression, announcing the return of morality police patrols.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Being a woman in Iran is now harder than ever because of all the attention. Our privacy and safety is a
wish. You should always be worried and careful about police.
KARADSHEH (voiceover): This young woman, we're not identifying for her safety, spoke to us from inside Iran.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The morality police are mostly in metro stations and sometimes on the streets. They warn you if you
disobey, they take video or photos. And normal people who are still on the government's side work like paparazzi.
KARADSHEH (voiceover): And that's not all. Authorities are considering a draconian new bill that would make failure to abide by the strict Islamic
dress code a more severe offense, with unprecedently harsh penalties, including five to 10-year jail sentences and fines of more than $8,000.
This may be just a warning to intimidate those who dare to dissent.
But an intensified crackdown has been well underway. This chilling video released by a group affiliated with the security apparatus captures some of
their terrifying tactics. Facial recognition technology purportedly being used to identify and threaten unveiled women.
Cameras are everywhere. Thousands have had their cars confiscated, according to Amnesty International, and women without a veil are being
denied access to education and public services.
Perhaps even more disturbing is courts have been imposing degrading punishments on women, including counseling sessions for "anti- social
behavior," cleaning government buildings and washing corpses in morgues.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voiceover): I couldn't believe the mortuary punishment until I saw some judgment papers with my own eyes, which was
washing corpses for a month.
KARADSHEH: Are you and other women around you scared when you're out in public?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voiceover): The first days were scary, but with time, the courage inside everyone grows. And now, no one is scared. People were
just waiting for a spark and that happened last year. We keep going for the kids who were murdered during the protests.
KARADSHEH (voiceover): Many like her say this is not just about the hijab; this is about standing up to tyranny and they're not backing down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voiceover): Most people believe in freedom now because they've tasted it. We know about the punishments but we know
everything has a cost and if this is the cost of freedom, we're ready to pay for that. I'm sure we will see Iran breathing again one day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That was correspondent Jomana Karadsheh. Now, with the 2024 U.S. presidential race well underway, democracy continues to be tested. Trump's
latest indictment gets to the heart of the matter. What will be the consequences for a sitting president who spread lies about an election and
attempted to overturn the results? Jamelle Bouie is a columnist for the "New York Times", and he's joining Walter Isaacson to assess the current
state of U.S. politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank, you Christiane. And, Jamelle Bouie, welcome to the show.
JAMELLE BOUIE, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thank you for having me.
ISAACSON: You've been writing some really tough columns in your "New York Times" column about Trump and the indictment. And yet, with all of these
indictments, still more than 50 percent of Republicans say they're going to support him, and you say he's likely to become the nominee. How did we get
BOUIE: I think the answer to that lies just with the immediate aftermath of the January 6th attack on the capitol. As soon as most Republicans in
Congress has said they were going to rally around the president, and really as soon as it was clear that Republicans in the Senate did not necessarily
have the stomach to vote to convict him in the impeachment trial, then you've essentially set up the conditions for him to rocket back to the top
of the Republican Party as the de facto leader. There is no serious effort in the wake of January 6th to really remove Trump from that position.
And so, in the absence of that effort, in the absence of really any serious alternative to Trump for a political leadership in the party, you've kind
of just have Trump.
ISAACSON: Yes. But there's got to be a deeper reason. I mean, the Republicans wouldn't be doing this if they didn't feel somehow another that
Trump has got a stranglehold on their party. Why does he have that? What's the deeper reasons here?
BOUIE: I actually don't think that the deeper reasons are all that complicated. I mean, there are certainly deeper reasons for the emergence
of Trump, but in terms of his hold on the Republican Party, it's basically two things. The first is that Trump won. He won at the 2016 election.
Now, he did not win a popular vote victory but he did win the presidency and was a thorn in the side of liberals at Democrats and many other
Americans for those four years. And both the winning and the extent to which in, I guess, the common parlance, the extent to which Trump "owned
the libs," really endeared him to a lot of Republicans.
And the Republican Party, as we both witnessed over the course of that presidency, essentially reshaped itself around Trump. And the -- sort of
interesting thing is that Trump has both been electoral poison for the Republican Party, beginning in 2018, it's basically been losing consecutive
national elections, but I think for many Republicans, they don't really see the alternative, especially given that Trump, even while losing, has
generated massive turnout amongst low propensity Republican voters, right?
In 2020, huge Republican turnout that no prior Republican nominee has been able to generate. And so, I think, in terms of Republicans who are looking
at this in terms of just how do we win pure electoral strategy, they see Trump as their best bet. And when you add that to, again, the way the party
culturally reshaped itself around Trump during his presidency, we kind of just have the ingredients for the domination we're seeing right now amongst
ISAACSON: Yes. And you say that there's no alternatives. Of course, a couple people like Chris Christie or Isa Hutchinson, who are trying to take
Trump on directly, some a little bit so, like Vice President Mike Pence, former vice president, but nobody's been able to get any traction,
including those who are trying to support Trump in a small way, like Ron DeSantis. What's the cause of that?
BOUIE: Again, I really think that so much of not just this current situation with Trump likely winning the Republican primary but also, even
going back to 2016 is a collective action problem among Republican office and Republican elites. And basically, the same thing is happening now. You
had a collective action problem with Republicans after January 6th. They have this clearly transgressive president who did something unprecedented
in American history, and we have an opportunity to basically knock him out of politics for the duration if we vote to convict in this impeachment
But Republican officeholders could not figure out a way to come together and make that result happen. They essentially deferred it. Maybe Democrats
will be able to figure it out. Maybe someone else will be able to figure out. The core issue for Republicans is that at no point have they ever
really tried to jettison Trump from their orbit.
And because of his solid -- rock solid core of support amongst Republicans, this essentially gives him a platform by which to make a bid for
controlling the party, which is what he's doing.
ISAACSON: Well, let's talk about this latest indictment, the third indictment, the one that Special Prosecutor Jack Smith has brought. You
talked about reading very carefully that indictment and there were parts of it that leapt out, you say in your column, including an exchange involving
Patrick Philbin. Explain -- he was the deputy White House counsel, explain why that leaked out to you.
BOUIE: That exchange leapt out to me because I thought it was just profoundly disturbing. It was about the likely consequences of what might
happen if the White House were able to successfully overturn the election. And former deputy White House counsel essentially said, listen, if we do
this, there's going to be riots in every city in America. And the official with whom he is speaking, co-conspirator for, says, well, that's why we
have the Insurrection Act.
And a casual reader might not recognize what's happening here, but the previous year, the administration, or at least Trump, had wanted to use the
Insurrection Act to basically use military force to put down protests related to the killing of George Floyd.
And so, in that exchange, you get the sense that what was being seriously contemplated in the White House in the days before January 6th was both
overturning the election, A, and then, once Americans understandably began protesting it, sending in the military to use force, potentially lethal
force, to put down the protests.
And then, to me, and I think what I wrote, is that it demonstrates just the profound contempt for American democracy, for America's democratic
institutions, for just the very idea of popular self-government.
ISAACSON: You've often written about reconstruction. You talk about the Insurrection Act and even the law under which Trump has been charged. It
dates back to reconstruction. Explain that and tell me what you think the echoes of reconstruction or maybe even the perverse echoes of
reconstruction are today.
BOUIE: So, the statute that Trump is being charged under comes from the -- I believe, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1870, the first of the Ku Klux Klan
Acts. There are multiple of them passed in 1870, in 1871 by the Republicans Reconstruction Congress to provide the federal government the tools
necessary to convict -- or prosecute and convict people accused of attacking free and free blacks who are trying to exercise their right to
And basically, the statute says, right, that it is a crime to interfere with the exercising of someone's constitutionally guaranteed rights. So, I
think the echoes are kind of clear. Like the interfering with the exercising of someone's constitutional rights in the late 1860s and early
1870s was not just attacking voters and preventing them from voting, from casting a ballot, but really attacking elected governments. The
reconstruction government throughout the south faced like violent attacks from former confederates, from, you know, members of these vigilante groups
like the Ku Klux Klan or the Knights of the White Lotus, there were a bunch of them.
And to me, this is like a clear lineage. Like the Ku Klux Klan Act was passed essentially to defend democracy in the south. And it's being used --
at least part of it is being used today to defend one of the institutions of American democracy in the (INAUDIBLE).
ISAACSON: You've talked about the latest indictments, there have been three of them, there may be a fourth one from Georgia, and yet, the federal
government in particular didn't do much, didn't really push a case that hard until in the past few months. We've had this spade of indictments.
In some ways there's a lot of pushbacks, especially from Republicans, that this is weaponizing the Department of Justice, that this should be decided
at the polls and that this is going to open up a can of worms if we start indicting former presidents. What do you say to that?
BOUIE: I mean, I think it will open up a can of worms if it becomes the norm for outgoing presidents to attempt to seize power against the will of
the voters, then, in which case, it will open up a can of worms, a bad one. But I think the bad-ness of it will have much more to do with the attempted
coups, then prosecution after the fact.
But to be perfectly serious, I think this is a ridiculous complaint. The former president of the United States, rather than accept the tradition of
the United States, going back to the election of 1800, right, going back to our first real, highly contested and partisan election, which is for the
loser to peacefully hand over power, the former president, Donald Trump, rejected that. Attempted to subvert it. And did so by inciting supporters
to attack the capitol and by organizing with close aides and other supporters to try to subvert the process of counting votes and counting
That, to me, is more than worthy of prosecution, both for its own sake and it's wrong, and for its deterrent value, to tell future officeholders who
may be in the position of losing a presidential election that you cannot do this, that this is actually completely inimical to what we think American
I think if many Republicans weren't so committed to defending Trump against all charges, they would recognize that this is simply not a precedent you
want to establish. The ballot box is not actually the place to handle this. We handled Trump at the ballot box, he lost. And the fact that he rejected
that loss and tried to unlawfully overturn it is what we are now responding to.
ISAACSON: The effects of these indictments, however, have been to rally, it seems, Republicans to the side of Trump. It's partly because he's gone
up in the polls after these indictments, after it seems that the Biden administration is going after him. Do you think that this backlash is a
BOUIE: I don't know how we could have avoided this rallying around Trump as long as, again, Republican officeholders and Republican elites and the
Republican establishment is willing to support and back Trump. That, to me -- I guess I'm repeating myself a little bit, but that, to me, is the
critical variable here.
If high level Republican officials had responded to the indictment by saying, this is the right thing to do, I don't think we would've seen the
same rally around effect. The reason I say this is that after the 2022 midterm elections, there's about a week -- about a week or two-week period
where after this surprising loss in the Senate and this near lost in the house, Republicans were openly talking about how Trump was a political
loser, how they needed to find someone else, the (INAUDIBLE) for the party, how they needed to move past Trump. And what did we see in terms of his
standing with Republican voters? It began to decline. It began to decline because voters took the signal.
And so, the only way we could've avoided, in my view with this backlash, is for Republican officeholders to take a stand against Trump. And the ideal,
the optimal point to have done that, was right after January 6th. That was -- it was a slim period of time, but that was the critical moment for
Republican officeholders to just, you know, dust their hands of Trump once and for all and move on. And once they decided not to do that, I think they
more or less set in motion this current chain of events.
ISAACSON: You say that it's difficult for Americans to really believe that democracy as we know it could be in trouble. Why are Americans having
trouble understanding that this is a threat to democracy?
BOUIE: I think it's partially a product of our good fortune, you might say. I mentioned earlier that the United States has had peaceful transfers
of power since 1800, we have the oldest continuously and operating constitution among democracies. We are the oldest democracy, if you want to
use that term broadly. At least the oldest country where governments are determined by some degree of popular sovereignty. And so, I think we've
just gotten used to this idea that this is where it's always going to be, but it's not.
And I will say that I think there are some Americans, and not just, you know, immigrants, recent or otherwise, from countries that have been
authoritarian states or have been autocracies, but we have -- they're putting Americans whose heritage are in this country that have a very real
recognition of the fact that democracy is not guaranteed.
You know, black Americans in this country, to go back to a reconstruction discussion, experienced democracy for a short period of time in the 19th
century and then lost it for nearly a century, and are continuously working and fighting to ensure that their ability to participate in American
democracy isn't restricted or revoked.
We have this homegrown experience with autocratic government, with authoritarian government, with attacks on democracy that I think should
inform our sense of actually how durable the American democratic experiment is. It's not as durable as we'd like to think and require real vigilance to
ISAACSON: This whole set of indictments about Trump seems to play into something larger, which is a real deep division, underlying divisions in
our society based on resentment. How do you think the outcome of this situation, whether or not he gets convicted or acquitted or pardoned, how
do you think that's going to play into the divisions and what can we do to heal some of those divisions?
BOUIE: You know, that is a question I'm not sure I really have a great answer for. My view of the current situation is that it's going to be a lot
of just having to push through it as much as possible. We know, at the very least, that a majority of Americans reject the idea of the president can
try to overturn the election, they rejected Trump twice, in fact, just one of times accounted (ph).
And if next year -- if next year's presidential election it is Trump v. Biden again and Biden wins again with the majority of the vote, then the
American public will have rejected him again. And I think that will likely lead to increased division. There will likely be plenty of people who feel
that this was an unjust result, that it shouldn't have happened, that for whatever reason Trump is entitled to power.
And I think the response to that is just going to have to be, again, to push through it. I'm not sure that there is something we could do at this
moment to sort of bring in those Americans, groups of voters who have become completely devoted to Trump's political power and political
So, I feel this is a very unsatisfying answer, but it's the best one I have. Sometimes you are simply in political situation where there aren't a
ton of good options and you just have to do your best to work with the materials you have.
ISAACSON: Jamelle Bouie, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
BOUIE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, for a change of scenery, we go to Broadway. When Steven Spielberg released his 1975 thriller, "Jaws," it was a mega hit. But the
cast and crew encountered some rough seas during filming on the Atlantic Ocean. The cast were often at each other's throats.
Now, the play that's based on that behind-the-scenes drama is opening on Broadway, after a successful West End run here in London. Ian Shaw co-wrote
and starts in the show, reprising his father Robert Shaw's role as a shark hunter, Quint, in Spielberg's film.
The show was first performed here in London's West End in 2021, which is when I boarded the iconic Orca. Here is our conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Ian Shaw, welcome to the program.
IAN SHAW, ACTOR AND CO-WRITER, "THE SHARK IS BROKEN": Thank you.
AMANPOUR: You know, so many people know "Jaws," obviously, and you must have a lot of fans who come to this play. What did you know about "Jaws"?
And when did you know it?
SHAW: Well, I was on the set when I was a little boy, you know, not -- I was -- I must have been five. So, I wasn't, you know, hugely impressed by
anything. It was kind of, you know, not a particularly interesting place to be, except for the fact that I met Bruce, the shark. And that was scary.
AMANPOUR: Was it huge? I mean, just describe what it was like for a five- year-old.
SHAW: Enormous, you know, even though it wasn't moving. It was just, you know, there, had a blanket over its head. It was scary.
AMANPOUR: And then, of course, the shark in the film, in the story, actually eats your father alive, I mean, bites him in two, right? Quint is
Robert Shaw's character.
AMANPOUR: Was that nightmarish for you?
SHAW: You know, what was nightmarish was the fact of sharks, because I can remember having a nightmare about them swimming around my bed, and calling
out for my dad, who I'd seen obviously being eaten in the movie. But it was -- I was able to separate fact from fiction on that level. You know, I knew
that he wasn't really eaten. But even so, the movie had instilled in me a terror of sharks.
AMANPOUR: So, then the obvious question, I guess is, why would you do a whole play about a shark?
SHAW: A few separate coincidences, I think. I mean, I'd always loved the film. And then, I met Richard Dreyfuss. He was auditioning -- I can't
remember which part I was going up for (INAUDIBLE), but it was "Hamlet."
AMANPOUR: He was directing "Hamlet." He watched your audition.
SHAW: He was directing.
AMANPOUR: He was a key part of the original film "Jaws."
SHAW: Absolutely. Played Hooper in "Jaws." And I'd always loved him as an actor anyway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD DREYFUSS, ACTOR: That's it. Goodbye. I'm not going to waste my time arguing with a man who is lining up to be a hot lunch. I'm going to
see you later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: And I had either forgotten or didn't know that Robert and Richard clashed on the set.
AMANPOUR: That's kind of an understatement.
SHAW: Yes, an understatement.
AMANPOUR: I mean, they didn't seem to like each other at all. Your father did not seem to like --
SHAW: Well, it was complicated, though, because there was an affection there. But it was definitely a -- I think Richard was traumatized a little
by Robert, or traumatized a lot by Robert, because his reaction when I introduced myself -- I wasn't expecting -- I was expecting to get a hug or
something, you know. His reaction was as if I'd punched him in the stomach, I think.
AMANPOUR: By telling him, hi, I'm Robert Shaw's son?
SHAW: Hi. I'm Robert Shaw's son, yes.
AMANPOUR: And that then led to you wanting to do this play?
SHAW: No. I had stored -- I had squirreled that piece of information away just because I found it interesting. But it did lead me on to reading "The
Jaws Log," which was Carl Gottlieb, who was the screenwriter post-Peter Benchley. And that was a fascinating read. And it uncovered, you know, what
I had either forgotten or didn't know, that -- the whole story of Robert and Richard's relationship on the set, which I found fascinating.
AMANPOUR: And why was your father so harsh on Richard Dreyfuss? And he got him to do really silly pranks, like, you know, climb up the mast and jump
off into the middle of the sea and stuff like that. What do you think was the reason for his tormenting his co-star?
SHAW: I think it was a few things. I think, obviously, they were -- you know, as we said, the pressures were piling on. So, they were going over
time, and they -- you know, the shark wasn't working. So, the frustrations were building. So, there was this atmosphere ripe for fighting.
Robert was drinking. But I think he felt that -- you know, and their personalities were so different. He felt that Richard was arrogant and
brash and hadn't earned his stripes and that he was, you know, an established actor who had focused on, you know, the hard work and had come
along to this point. And I think he was -- felt that he needed to school Richard a little bit.
AMANPOUR: And from what I read, he also -- from the logs, that he also thought he got a better performance out of Richard and everybody.
SHAW: That's the other theory.
AMANPOUR: Do you buy that?
SHAW: I mean, I think it's true that they did have a fantastic chemistry on screen. And so, it can't have hurt that. It must have helped that.
AMANPOUR: I mean, obviously, they made a beautiful movie in the end, very successful. But the dysfunction in terms of Bruce, the shark, breaking
down, in terms of this relationship between your father and the other star of the film, Richard Dreyfuss -- of course, there was Roy Scheider. Is that
also what interested you?
SHAW: There was a lot of stress. I mean, drama is about stress, I think, seeing what people do, you know, in these situations. If everyone's sitting
around getting on very happily, it's not particularly interesting.
The shark was broken. So, the shoot went -- spiraled over budget and over time. They were filming on the sea on a boat.
AMANPOUR: Kind of a little like what we're doing now, make-believe. We're on a boat.
SHAW: Yes, but -- I mean, but with real --
AMANPOUR: It's an amazing set.
SHAW: -- real seasickness and --
AMANPOUR: They had real seasickness.
AMANPOUR: But you know what? I don't know whether your audience ever reacts to this, but when I watched it, I felt a little, a little seasick,
because the sea is actually moving in CGI or whatever it is.
SHAW: I -- in fact, one or two people have certainly said that they have definitely felt the motion.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Yes. By the way, talking about the audience, there are a lot of "Jaws" fans. I mean, it's a cult movie. Do you get reaction from the
SHAW: I mean, one time, slightly embarrassingly, almost, I entered and there was a little sort of whooping reaction, because I think they were
just so pleased to see, one or two of them, you know, the hardcore fans, pleased to see Quint back, you know.
AMANPOUR: Because you do look very much like Robert Shaw. Was it always a blessing? In other words, many kids of famous and very successful parents
obviously feel they have a lot to live up to.
AMANPOUR: Did you?
SHAW: Yes, I --
AMANPOUR: Especially taking on this.
SHAW: With this, I was very reluctant to do it. You know, when all the -- when all these separate coincidences had come together, and I thought that
maybe this -- there was a story to tell, I was very reluctant to tell it. It took a lot of persuasion by -- from other people to push me into writing
it with Joseph Nixon.
AMANPOUR: Because of?
SHAW: Because of the fact that I didn't want to get it wrong. I didn't want to -- I mean, I spent most of my life avoiding association with my
father, trying to carve my own path. And then, to play him, to write about him, I didn't want to judge him. But, at the same time, I didn't want to
put him on a pedestal.
AMANPOUR: And particularly poignantly, you decided to grapple with the overdrinking. I mean, your father drank a lot.
AMANPOUR: And I assume he was an alcoholic?
SHAW: He was, yes. Yes.
AMANPOUR: And you grappled with how much of that to show, whether that was betraying the family?
SHAW: Yes. I mean, you know -- yes. I mean, I felt anguished at times in the process, because I felt that, if we got the tone wrong, you know, that
it would be a disaster.
AMANPOUR: I was really interested to read something that you told in a different interview. You talked about working-class actors drinking
heavily. And you sort of surmise that it might be a reaction to these really macho dudes having to wear, as you put it, tights and makeup, let's
say, for Shakespeare and that kind of stuff, and how this was their way of claiming their manhood, the drinking. Do you feel that way?
SHAW: I do feel that way. I mean, I don't know whether that's right or wrong. It's a feeling I have, that they felt -- you know, that a part of
them felt uncomfortable with the femininity of the profession, which I don't think actors feel so much now. I think we have got past that, you
AMANPOUR: Let's get back to the film and play a little clip about the whole meaning of life. In other words, what is this film about?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What do you think it's about?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: This movie, this goddamn movie. It's got to be about something, right? Everything is about something. I think it's about the
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Say again?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You know, sharks are these ancient primal creatures, right? Well, they represent all the primal fear in all of us, all the
terrors and desires we keep buried down deep, all the Freudian crap my therapist is always going on about. That's what the shark is. You don't
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well, it's an interesting theory.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All right. Well, what do you think it's about?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I think it's about responsibility.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Huh?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well, when the government are putting profit before people's lives, and you can't get rid of the jerks, you have got to take
care of the mess yourself, even if it terrifies you, for the good of the community.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Whoa. That's deep. What about you, Robert? What do you think it's about?
ROBERT SHAW, ACTOR, "JAWS": It's about a shark.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No, what's it really about?
R. SHAW: It's really about a shock. Don't rig me more into it. It's a thriller, a machine for making money. Do you really think they're going to
be talking about this in 40 years?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What is the film about for you? Is it also just about a shark and the play?
SHAW: You know, nobody's really asked me that question because I do have my own little theory and I don't know -- I mean, of course, it is just
about a shark. But I do think there's a little bit of Vietnam in there. At the time, that was what was going on.
AMANPOUR: Look at this, you're right. I mean, this paper is a prop that you used. This is Nixon Resigns. So, it's 1974, at the height of Watergate.
He finally resigns. And Vietnam was at its highest, of course.
SHAW: You know, not long ago, I watched Ken Burns' documentary on Vietnam, which is just spell binding. And there were these young men who were being
sent off and dying and dying and dying. And, you know, there was -- you know, to this far away land and people couldn't understand why it was
happening and there is a sort of a relationship, I think, between those two things for me.
AMANPOUR: That's the first time I've heard that, that's really interesting. This is the famous USS Indianapolis speech that is delivered
by Robert Shaw's character.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. SHAW: Sometimes that shark, it looks right into you, right into your eyes. You know a thing about the shark, he's got lifeless eyes, black eye,
like a doll's eye. When he comes at you, doesn't seem to be living until he bites you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Why was that so important, that speech?
SHAW: I think it was -- it's instrumental in the film and it's often cited as one of being -- you know, as being one of the most compelling scenes in
cinema history. I think that it's pivotal because it really explains Quint and really roots him down and you understand and have sympathy, I think,
with the character at that point. And it completely changes the tone of the film.
AMANPOUR: Just tell me, because this is a phenomenal set, and that idea of the sea and this boat and all the rest of it. Was this set obvious to you
or did it come with a lot of talking?
SHAW: The Orca, interior of the Orca was front, center in my mind writing the play.
AMANPOUR: The Orca being boat?
AMANPOUR: This boat that we're sitting in?
SHAW: Yes. Because I was always thinking about the Indianapolis speech and Robert was sitting where you are looking -- and the camera was here looking
that way. So, that was always going to be the center point. And, you know, the stress of being confined, the fact that the shoot went on for 159 days
meant that, you know, that was a useful dramatic device.
AMANPOUR: And finally, I noticed you call him Robert throughout our interview. You don't say dad. Do you think Robert, dad, would have been
proud of this play? What would he have thought about the play compared to - -
SHAW: It's like a quantum physics question because with him here, it wouldn't exist. It's about the loss of him, partly. He talks about the loss
of his father in the play. And when I am doing that, I can't help but think of the loss of him. So, I don't know how to answer. You know, I hope that
we don't do him a disservice.
AMANPOUR: Have you heard from the only surviving cast member, Richard Dreyfuss?
SHAW: No. We haven't. I haven't. I would love to -- you know, I'd love to meet up with him again.
AMANPOUR: Well, Ian Shaw, thank you very much. Really entertaining, really a great play.
SHAW: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: An American classic now coming to Broadway after a very successful West End run.
That is it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can always
catch us online, on our website and all over social media. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.