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Interview with Israeli Prison Service Former Head of Intelligence and Nephew Killed and Remains Held by Hamas Yuval Bitton; Interview with Designer Diane von Furstenberg; Interview with "Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge" Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; Interview with "Fifteen Cents on a Dollar" Co-Author Ebony Reed; Interview with "Fifteen Cents on a Dollar" Co-Author Louise Story. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired June 20, 2024 - 13:00:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.



saved Sinwar's life in prison. I was the doctor who diagnosed the problem he had.


AMANPOUR: The Israeli doctor who came to Yahya Sinwar's rescue. Yuval Bitton tells his unbelievable story for the first time since October 7th on

international television.

Then --


DIANE VON FURSTENBERG, DESIGNER: I created the wrap dress and I wrapped America around.


AMANPOUR: -- a fashion icon's extraordinary life. I speak to the woman herself, Diane von Furstenberg and director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

Plus --


EBONY REED, CO-AUTHOR, "FIFTEEN CENTS ON A DOLLAR": We have to go all the way back to the beginning when black Americans were enslaved people.

Because that is the beginning of working and not being paid.


AMANPOUR: -- "Fifteen Cents on the Dollar." Reporters Ebony Reed and Louise Story tell Hari Sreenivasan some of the personal stories behind the

black and white wealth gap.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Israel's military appears to be countering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's goals for the war in Gaza. In a TV interview, IDF Spokesman

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari has acknowledged what many observers have been arguing for months. Take a listen.


DANIEL HAGARISRAEL DEFENSE FORMERS SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Hamas is an idea. Those who think we can make Hamas disappear are wrong.

I'm not talking about the alternatives. This is a decision of the political echelon, and the IDF will implement.

But the issue of eliminating Hamas is simply to throw dust in the eyes of the public. If we don't bring something else to Gaza, in the end of the

day, we will get Hamas.


AMANPOUR: And my first guest agrees, and he probably knows the top level of Hamas better than anyone. That's because Israeli doctor Yuval Bitton was

working as a dentist for the state prison service in the 1990s, when he met Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

Bitton says they spent hundreds of hours together. And one day in 2004, when Sinwar faced a medical emergency, Bitton swooped in and saved his

life. Sinwar thanked him when he was later released in the extraordinary prisoner hostage swap for Gilad Shalit.

But on October 7th, Bitton's nephew Tamir was murdered by Hamas at Kibbutz Nir Oz. It is an extraordinary story, and Bitton tells us the lessons he

learned about what drives Hamas and Sinwar, and what the Israeli leadership continues to get wrong.

Since October 7th, Bitton has not spoken on international television until tonight. So, here's our recent conversation.


AMANPOUR: Yuval, you said that on the morning of October 7th, you knew immediately who had planned this massacre. How come?


know the person who planned and conceived and initiated this criminal attack. I have known him since 1996, and not only him, but the entire Hamas

leadership in Gaza. And it was clear to me that this is what they were planning while they were still in prison, and this is the plan of Hamas. It

was very clear to me.

AMANPOUR: You are talking about Yahya Sinwar. And you said that when you realized what happened on October 7th, you were kind of tormented by what

you did for him in jail. You essentially saved his life. Tell me about that story.

BITTON (through translator): In 2004, I saved Sinwar's life in prison. I was the doctor who diagnosed the problem he had. When he explained to me

what was happening to him, I diagnosed it as a stroke. And together with a general practitioner, we decided to take him to the hospital.

He arrived at the hospital. The diagnosis was that he had abscess in the brain, and he was operated on that day, thus saving his life, because if it

had exploded, he would have died. He thanked me and the doctors for saving his life.


And he also asked the security officer, who was a Muslim, when we visited him in the hospital, to tell me in Arabic and explain to me what it means

for someone to save a Muslim's life. And that he owed me his life. He also told me that on the day he was released in the Gilad Shalitdeal in 2011,

that he owed me his life, and one day he will repay it.

And as you understand, he repaid it on October 7th, and that he was also directly responsible for the murder of my nephew in Kibbutz Nir Oz.

AMANPOUR: Your nephew went to try to save his family and others when the invasion happened and the massacres happened. And he was abducted and

apparently killed -- or he died of his wounds being dragged back into Gaza. Do you believe that had Sinwar known it was your nephew the outcome would

have been different?

BITTON (through translator): I did not and do not engage in speculation. My nephew came out to defend the community and the country and the Gaza

envelope. He fought in those terrible moments of the morning in Kibbutz Nir Oz. Hundreds of Nukhba terrorists infiltrated the kibbutz. They murdered,

raped, and slaughtered and burned 50 people from Nir Oz. 50 members of Kibbutz Nir Oz and 75 other members were kidnapped, including Tamir's

grandmother, Yafa Adar, the older woman on the scooter.

Tamir fought as an emergency squad member. He was seriously injured during his defense of the community. There were only five of them. They didn't

really stand a chance. And he was kidnapped while he was still seriously injured, unconscious, and died after a few hours in Gaza. So, it's

irrelevant what I think about what would have happened if.

AMANPOUR: OK. Just to be clear, the elderly lady, his grandmother, I believe was released in the first round during the negotiated release in

November. Can I ask you what you learned about Sinwar and Hamas in jail?

BITTON (through translator): I had many hours, hundreds of hours of conversation with Sinwar, both as a dentist and as an intelligence officer.

AMANPOUR: What impression did you get of his plans, of his goals?

BITTON (through translator): I learned from him and I learned from the other leaders, it was clear to me that Sinwar reflects the Hamas Gaza

worldview. Sinwar told me clearly in 2004 that they would be ready to sign a hudna, a truce, for 20 years because the State of Israel is currently a

strong state. But he also told me that in 20 years, he estimates that we will be weakened because of internal struggles between us within Israeli

society. And as soon as they recognize that we are weak, they will attack us.

And they also said clearly that we, as Jews, have no place on these lands, on the lands on which the State of Israel is located. These are Waqf lands.

These are Muslim lands. These are lands that do not belong to us. Therefore we, as Jews, have no right to exist on the lands. Therefore, there is no

compromise. There is no compromise on the 1967 borders or 1948 borders. It's either us or them.

Therefore, it's only a matter of time and timing that they will act against us and try to expel us from the place where we live. This is a worldview

that they did not hide. He told me that explicitly. But his way was much more extreme than others. His thought that this conflict can only be

resolved by force and the struggle they are waging against us, that Hamas is waging, is a religious struggle. The war is a religious war. It is not a

nationalist war. It is not about establishing a Palestinian State alongside the state of Israel, it's all Palestine. He only said this more bluntly

than other Hamas leaders in the West Bank.

AMANPOUR: Yuval, now, he, apparently, according to Israeli intelligence, I think, Sinwar is still somewhere in those tunnels in Gaza, still apparently

calling the shots nine months, eight months into this war. When you think about his mental state now and who he is, the person you know, what do you

think he's thinking about ceasefire, about anything, about releasing the hostages that still remain?

BITTON (through translator): I've made my opinion very clear for eight months, and at every stage of this war. I've made my opinion very clear.

And until today, I have unfortunately not been wrong about my assessments regarding Sinwar. I wish I was mistaken.


I was asked in the first few days of the war what Sinwar would demand in exchange for the hostages. It was clear to me that he would release the

women and children because of Hamas' interests, and not due to Israel's military pressure, because he was attacked by the entire world, and

especially by Qatar, which felt embarrassed.

And the moment that he released the women and children, and turned the pressure onto Israel, it was clear to me that the goal of this criminal and

murderous attack, in which women, children, and innocent civilians were murdered, raped and burned in their homes was to release Palestinian

prisoners. He stated this in 2011 when he was released during the Shalit deal.

He thought the Shalit deal was a bad deal, that Hamas should not have accepted. And he said the day he was released that the Shalit deal was a

bad deal. We will kidnap soldiers in order to release those we left behind and the success of the October 7th attacks caused a kidnapping of 240

Israeli civilians, some of whom were also soldiers.

And he brought on the IDF's response, which he did not expect, because he did not think he'd managed to kidnap 240 civilians and soldiers. He thought

he'd managed to get a number of soldiers, but didn't think the IDF would be left unprepared along the borders. If the main reason of the attack was to

release Palestinian prisoners, the IDF's response forced him to change his priorities.

And at the moment, since the day the IDF entered the Gaza Strip, his priority is to maintain his rule. He put the issue of releasing the

prisoners as a second priority. Now, the first priority is to maintain Hamas' rule. The condition for releasing the hostages will only be the

IDF's withdrawal from Gaza and the end of the war.

The hostages are being used to achieve his goals. Unfortunately, Israel made a mistake during its military operation, and in its thinking that only

military pressure would bring the release of hostages, which I said in the first month of the war, I thought a military effort was important in order

to dismantle Hamas, destroy it, and to hurt its military capabilities.

It's an important effort. But in order to return the hostages, it's not enough. Because Sinwar thinks only about the continuity of his rule. He is

willing to sacrifice even 100,000 Palestinians in order to ensure the survival of his rule. He is willing to pay with the lives of militants,

Hamas members, civilians. He doesn't care.

And therefore, Israel's mistake is that it did not create an alternative to Hamas' rule and didn't replace Hamas' rule and didn't allow an improved

version of the Fatah or Palestinian Authority forces to enter in order to make clear to Sinwar that he has lost everything, both his military

capability but mostly, his authority in Gaza that would have caused Sinwar to make a deal to return our hostages in exchange for prisoners.

Today, he feels he is in a powerful position. He is running the negotiations while still operating from within Gaza and still controls the

areas from which the IDF evacuated. He also controls the humanitarian aid, and therefore, he feels strong and won't sign an agreement to release the

hostages unless the IDF withdraws from Gaza and the fighting ends.

AMANPOUR: Yuval, you've just said that the Israeli government has made a mistake strategically by not providing for alternate Palestinian governance

inside Gaza as they go after Hamas. When you were a prison dentist, and when you were able to see Hamas, Fatah, all these different prisoners, what

was the difference between those sides that you noticed?

BITTON (through translator): Israel should have agreed to the Biden plan, which talks about the creation of a strategic access which would change the

Middle East, an access including the moderate Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, sponsored by the United States, that

would sponsor a Palestinian force associated with the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, that would enter the Gaza Strip. And in every place the IDF

evacuates, a civil authority would take its place, run by the Palestinian Authority which would enforce its rule and monitor it.

This mistake of not accepting Biden's plan enabled Sinwar to be the only player in the arena. With one hand, we applied military force and

dismantled them. And with the other hand, we have continued to enable Hamas' rule.


When I worked in the prison system, in 2007, Hamas violently overthrew Fatah, murdered hundreds of their people, threw them off roofs, if not

thousands. Some of them they tied to cars and drove them through the streets of Gaza until they died. Some of them were beheaded. Then Fatah

understood that its greatest enemy was Hamas and not Israel. It was then that Fatah understood that Hamas waves the green flag, the flag of Islam,

and not the Palestinian flag. That Hamas' struggle is not the same as Fatah's struggle.

Fatah talks about two states for two nations. Fatah talks about some sort of compromise within the 1967 or 1948 borders. Hamas is fighting a

religious war against the State of Israel. What Hamas did to Fatah in 2007, who are his brothers, they're Muslims, if he did that to Muslims, what will

they do to the Jews when they could?

In 2007, in prison, the Fatah leadership came to us, the intelligence officers, and demanded and requested of us to remove all of the Hamas

prisoners from the Fatah quarters, otherwise they will murder them. They told us, the intelligence officers and the Israeli commanders, that they

don't see Hamas as part of their struggle against Israel. They see them as traitors and enemies.

And since then, in the West Bank, Fatah is waging an all-out war against Hamas. Not because of their love for Israel, but because they suspect they

could lose control of the West Bank as they did in Gaza. And because they fear that Hamas could rise up in the West Bank as they did in Gaza.

Hamas only sees one way, a Muslim state, a Muslim caliphate, and if the Fatah gets in its way, it will harm Fatah too. Therefore, it was obvious

that we should have exploited this, the same way we did in prison, but outside as well.

Sinwar is most afraid of a scenario in which Fatah would control Gaza and not Israeli control, because Israel is an enemy in the eyes of the

Palestinians. So, he will always be able to draft people against Israel in order to conduct guerrilla warfare. But up against Fatah, it will be more

difficult because the Fatah is part of its own nation.

AMANPOUR: Final question, you say that Sinwar and the other Palestinians learned a lot about Israel, they learned Hebrew, they learned about society

while they were in prison. You learned something about Hamas, but did the government, did the Israeli security, intelligence, society learn anything

about Hamas?

BITTON (through translator): Unfortunately, the Israeli leadership did not study Hamas, and a lot of people among us, even in the intelligence

service, did not know and learn Hamas well enough. All we needed to do was listen to them. Our attitude towards Hamas was arrogant. We dismissed

Hamas. And Hamas said everything it intended to do but we didn't want to listen. This is one thing.

The second thing is there was a wrong conception. The conception with which we acted towards Hamas was wrong. Israel should have toppled Hamas in many

opportunities. Since 2007, when Hamas came into power in Gaza, we should have toppled it. Hamas rule had to be toppled. And each time we didn't do

it, we got an even stronger Hamas, strengthening its rule of Gaza and armoring itself for 2023.

The mistake was to differentiate between Gaza and the West Bank, between Hamas and Fatah. It served Hamas. It didn't serve us. We thought that we

could isolate Hamas, that we had the technological means to keep Hamas inside the borders of Gaza, and we will have intelligence to alert the

enemy's intention to hurt us and that we would be prepared for it ahead of time.

I think we established our intelligence too much on technology and less on human intelligence. And human intelligence could have recognized better the

intention of the enemy, the intention of Hamas to do this criminal raid, and we could have known about it in advance, and we wouldn't have found

ourselves surprised.

So, our conception collapsed. Also, the strengthening of Hamas with Qatari money was a mistake. We made many mistakes, because our leaders and IDF and

intelligence members were wrong about their conception or their understanding of Hamas.

AMANPOUR: Yuval Bitton, thank you very much indeed for your information and your insight.


AMANPOUR: And it really is extraordinary perspective, given what we've just reported that the chief IDF spokesman has agreed with some of this now

publicly in an Israeli TV interview. And we have seen that key members of the so-called war cabinet, before it was dissolved, actually resigned

because of some of this kind of perspective and information and seeing that the war was not achieving the maximalist goals that Netanyahu and his

right-wing coalition had set.


Next, to a trailblazing fashion designer and her extraordinary life story. If the world knows Diane von Furstenberg, it is for her iconic wrap

dresses. But her identity is far more complex than that simple item. She's the child of a Holocaust survivor, her mother barely out of Auschwitz.

She's unashamedly embraced life and love on her own terms, as she says, like any man would. And she's also the savvy businesswoman who built a

fashion empire.

Now, a new documentary, "Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge," tells the whole story. Here's a clip from the trailer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to woman who reinvented the dress, Diane von Furstenberg.

DIANNE VON FURSTENBERG, DESIGNER: I created the wrap dress and I wrapped America around.

GIOIA DILIBERTO, AUTHOR AND BIOGRAPHER: It epitomized modern woman who could have it all?

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: She was one of the first women who broke through the glass ceiling in business.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you get to be a princess?

VON FURSTENBERG: Well, in my case, I married a prince.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Egon and Diane, we're like this it couple. He have the attitude that everybody wanted to sleep with him. Male, female, and


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a time of free love.


AMANPOUR: It is co-directed by the Oscar winning director Sharmeen Obaid- Chinoy, herself a trailblazer in the film world. And they both recently joined me ahead of the film's release.


AMANPOUR: Diane von Furstenberg, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, welcome to the program.



AMANPOUR: So, listen, this is pretty amazing. Firstly, I've spoken to both of you separately in the past. I know some of Sharmeen's previous work.

Diane, obviously, I know your work. And I don't think I would have necessarily paired you.

So, first, Diane, I wonder, what is it about Sharmeen, what made you trust her to tell your story?

VON FURSTENBERG: I am a great admirer of her work, and a woman who, you know, gets two Oscars before she's 40 is pretty amazing. I obviously

couldn't be a producer. I couldn't be involved in anything. I had absolutely no involvement other than being the subject.

Of course, they had all access to my archives, and I helped them get people do interview, but I had absolutely -- and I actually love it like that.

It's much better to be the subject.

AMANPOUR: And, Sharmeen, what about Diane? What was it about her that attracted you?

OBAID-CHINOY: I've made films about women who've lived extraordinary lives, who've been faced with circumstances, adversity, and have sort of

risen through it. And if you look at the spine of Diane's life, here is a woman who was born out of the ashes of World War II, whose birth in itself

was a miracle and who started a business at a time when women needed men to co-sign for something as small as a credit card.

And her journey from Europe to America as an immigrant, starting a new business, being a single mother, it's an inspirational story off a woman

who was trying to chart her own yellow brick road, and that is what I wanted to focus on. Because I feel today women need to hear stories of how

you make it in the world and how you find your own voice. And Diane is a great example of someone who's fallen down many times and picked herself

back up.

AMANPOUR: Well, listen, one of the most extraordinary things is how you decided to start the program. Diane has always owned herself and has always

been authentic. And this clip we're going to play right now because I just laughed out loud when I saw it.


VON FURSTENBERG: I don't understand why so many people do not embrace age. I've always been attracted by wrinkles. You know, age means living. You

shouldn't say how old you are. You should say, how long have you lived?

If you take all your wrinkles away, you know, the map of your life is different. I don't really want to erase anything from my life.


AMANPOUR: Diane, are there many women that, you know, I mean, even younger than you, who would be that honest about age?

VON FURSTENBERG: But I'm -- what I don't understand -- I don't understand dishonest about age. I mean, age means you have lived. So, you have to

honor that. And when you age, you already have -- you know, you already have the years before.


So, I don't understand the concept of, oh, not wanting to say your age. I'm 77 years old, and I couldn't be a week younger, because last week, I

learned a lot. So, it's -- I just don't understand the concept of being intimidated by your age.

AMANPOUR: I know --

VON FURSTENBERG: I think it's a victory.

AMANPOUR: Yes, that's great. But you work in the fashion industry. You live in New York. You know so many women who are trying to erase the

wrinkles and jack up their faces and dress in a way. But that's why this is so interesting. And actually, your story may have something to do with

that. You say that, you know, 18 months after your mother emerged alive from Auschwitz, you were born. I'm going to get to that in a moment.

But first, I want to ask Sharmeen, because there's an extraordinary scene, whereby some of your mother, the fragments of the little letters your

mother wrote, that she was on the way, you know, essentially to the concentration camp, that were eventually found, because you found them,

decades later. I'm going to play this clip from the documentary.


VON FURSTENBERG: She took some cardboard and she wrote to her parents. And she threw it in the -- in -- on the street hoping that somebody would find

it. And she never -- you see, she said, merci beaucoup, she gave the address. And she wrote to her parents --

VON FURSTENBERG (through translator): Mommy and my little Daddy. Your little Lily is leaving. Where is going, she doesn't know. But God is

everywhere, isn't he? So, wherever she goes, she'll never be alone or unhappy. I want you to be both very brave. I'm leaving with a smile, I



AMANPOUR: I think that's extraordinary too. I leave with a smile is -- it takes something to be able to write that then.

VON FURSTENBERG: It wasn't true. I mean, it's not like she left with a smile, but she wanted her parents to think that she --


VON FURSTENBERG: And she did survive. You know, she survived 14 months and she always said that she felt that she survived because her mother's will.


AMANPOUR: You say throughout the film that your mantra is freedom and also being in charge as a woman. You keep using those words throughout the film.

And so, really, let's jump forward to when you came to the United States and around that time, essentially became a business woman out of nowhere

with the famous wrap dress and -- how difficult was that?

Because I read that -- I mean, I saw in the film that you had to crisscross all over America. That, you know, people were not prepared really to deal

with a woman who was peddling these wares at that time.

VON FURSTENBERG: It was the adventure of my life, you know. We -- when we don't choose where we are born, we don't choose our parents are, but what

we can do -- and we don't even choose our destiny, but we try to navigate it the best that we can.

I wanted very much to be a woman in charge, to be a woman independent. Even though I had married a young, very attractive aristocrat with money, I

wanted very much to have my own money and to be a woman in charge. And I became that woman because of a little dress.

And so, I traveled around and meeting women, wrapping dresses around them. And the more confident I was, the more I was actually selling confidence

with a dress. And it was the -- you know, the liberation of women, and it was the time, and this dress became also a flag of freedom.

AMANPOUR: And I wonder, Diane, you're sitting next to Sharmeen, I mean, obviously a younger generation, but also from a country, let's face it,

Pakistan, that simply would never be wearing wrap dresses. What does it feel like to be a successful woman in -- you know, in Pakistan?

OBAID-CHINOY: Well, I will say this, that I'm very much a product of Pakistan. I was born and raised there. I found my voice in Pakistan. I live

and work out of Pakistan. The space exists for women like myself to be there.

We have to continue to fight every single day for our rights. But let's be honest, women in America are fighting for their reproductive rights these

days. Women in Europe are fighting for their rights. There are giant steps being taken around the world for women who are being pushed back.

Some of us live in countries which are far more difficult for women than others. But I will say that women like myself stay in our countries, we

speak out and we try and push the narrative forward so that our children and our daughters have a better tomorrow.

AMANPOUR: And I wonder -- you know, I was actually very interested in when you touched on Diane's sexuality. And I mean, there was that amazing clip

where, you know, Diane talks about having had an affair or, I don't know how you describe it, but with Warren Beatty and Ryan O'Neal in the same

weekend and just nearly went into a threesome with Mick Jagger and David Bowie. I mean, that's pretty hot stuff. Why did you want to include that?


VON FURSTENBERG: Well, you should really ask me why I even said that. And the truth is that, at that time, you know, it was something to boast about.

Why a businessman can go on tour, arrive at the Beverly Hills Hotel and, you know, go out with one man and with one girl and another girl the next

day? And why can't a woman do that? I mean, why?

And so, it's -- I mean, it's part of, you know, just speaking the truth, and I was quite proud of it. I mean, I actually still am. They were hot.

They were in their early 30s.

AMANPOUR: I want to just flip back to your husband, your first husband, Prince Egon von Furstenberg. Because eventually -- or maybe you knew at the

beginning, but anyway, he was gay and it was at a time of this terrible, terrible AIDS crisis in New York and he did develop AIDS and he died of it.

And I just wonder what impact that had on your children and on you. You had two children with him.

VON FURSTENBERG: Well, first of all, more than being gay, he was promiscuous, you know. So -- and there was a time, also in New York, where

people were very promiscuous. And then, all of a sudden, AIDS came. And it was hard, mostly for my children, because they were growing up. At that

time, they were teenagers. And to be teenagers and to have a fear of, you know, a sexual relationship could kill you was something very different

than what I grew up with. And they talk about it in the movie.

And we never really actually addressed it while it was there. But the three of us were with Egon when he died, and it was a very profound moment, but

actually a very beautiful moment.

OBAID-CHINOY: I'll also say this that one of the beauties about the film - - I mean, one of the most incredible things about the film is how honest the family is. Alex and Tatiana both open up their relationship with their

mother, their relationship with their father. And it's the honesty in telling their story that makes Diane's story so much stronger.

AMANPOUR: Sharmeen, I want to ask you this, because you did get the children -- they're not children, they're adults, but you did get her kids

to open up and to appear and to talk. And I was actually really, really kind of moved when Diane is reading this letter that, once when she was a

kid, Tatiana wrote her, and it says, Dear Mommy, I was wondering if I could have a talk with you sometime, because, Mommy, you don't know anything

about my life. That just was like a dagger through my heart. I guess, Sharmeen, how did you feel about that moment?

VON FURSTENBERG: No, I love that letter. I love that letter so much that I have it.

AMANPOUR: I know, but, Diane, it was because you weren't around.

VON FURSTENBERG: And then -- yes, but it's part of the process, you know.


VON FURSTENBERG: I mean, the -- when your children grow up, it's part of the process. They test you. You test them. They thought, you know, I wasn't

there enough. I was actually there more than they thought. I never left them mentally when they went to boarding school. I wrote every day. You

know, and then you go through a process. And then, they grow up. And, I mean, my children and I, we talk twice a day, at least.

OBAID-CHINOY: As someone who's a working mother and who travels a lot for work, reading that letter and sort of filming the relationship that Diane

has with her children really taught me a lot about myself. Like Diane and I would often say, well, 25 years from now, your children are going to be

telling you that you were not there for them.

Let's be honest. We're not like miracle workers. There's going to be a ball that's going to drop at some point. As long as we pick it up and move on.

And I think this film will resonate with working mothers everywhere because they will see a reflection of their own relationship with their children in

the letters, in the moments that they feel like their children missed out on or they missed out on.

AMANPOUR: Yes. I just finally want to ask you, Diane, because you are in the love of your life now with your husband, Barry Diller. And what is it

about life that makes you pleased, satisfied at the age of 77, as you said, that you can say, yes, this is what it's all about?

VON FURSTENBERG: Well, first, it's family. I mean, when you look back, I mean, I'm now entering -- hopefully entering, the winter of my life. When

you look back at the end, the most important thing is the family. And the thing I'm proudest of, my best samples are my family.


So -- and then, it's really honoring life. My mother did not die. She -- from whatever miracle, she did not die. She survived. She put the torch of

freedom in my hand. So, all I did -- try to do all my life is honoring life.

AMANPOUR: Well, it's been an amazing life and it continues to be. And I just want to maybe end up with you, Sharmeen, because you've done a lot of

documentary. And now, you're going to be the first woman and the first woman of color to direct a "Star Wars."

OBAID-CHINOY: Yes, looking forward to that.

AMANPOUR: No, but come on, more than that. That's gigantic. That's massive.

OBAID-CHINOY: Well, you know, I'll say this, that following your own yellow brick road has been very important to me. And I've charted my own

sort of trajectory from the country that I come from, right here to Hollywood. And I've been able to do that because a number of women have

left the door open for me to walk through. And I think that is something that I hope will continue to happen, and that is something I hope to I will

be able to do for other women.

AMANPOUR: Well, that's a really nice way to end.

VON FURSTENBERG: And that's -- and that is really the reason why we did this movie.

AMANPOUR: That's a -- it's a lovely way to end. Diane von Furstenberg, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, thank you so much.

OBAID-CHINOY: Thank you.



AMANPOUR: Powerhouses both. "Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge," will be out on Hulu and Disney Plus next week, June 25th.

Now, this week, the United States has been marking Juneteenth, the federal holiday that celebrates and marks the end of slavery. But nearly 160 years

later, the financial inequality between African-Americans and their white peers remains stark, as our next guests lay out in their new book, "Fifteen

Cents on a Dollar: How Americans Made the Black-White Wealth Gap."

Co-authors Ebony Reed and Louise Story join Hari Sreenivasan to discuss possible solutions to closing that gap.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Louise Story, Ebony Reed, thank you both for joining us. Your book is

called "Fifteen Cents on a Dollar: How Americans Made the Black-White Wealth Gap."

Ebony, let me start with you. Well, explain that fifteen cents on the dollar phrase.

EBONY REED, CO-AUTHOR, "FIFTEEN CENTS ON A DOLLAR": Sure. Thank you for having us. Fifteen cents is the typical amount of wealth a black family has

in America for every $1 a typical white family has. And this is data from the Federal Reserve.

SREENIVASAN: Louise, why write this story in the first place?

LOUISE STORY, CO-AUTHOR, "FIFTEEN CENTS ON A DOLLAR": Well, Ebony and I were working together at the Wall Street Journal in the summer of 2020. And

as colleagues and as friends, we started having many of the same conversations I'm sure you had and many people you know had, which is, wow,

you know, where do things stand on race today? And in particular, since we were at the Wall Street Journal, we were wondering, where do things stand

on race and money?

And so, we read some books together. We looked up some data. I'll never forget when we crunched the data and came up with how many cents in the

dollar it was. I called up Ebony and I said, did you realize this figure? And we thought it was fascinating. And we soon found out by looking around

that there was not a book on black-white wealth gap through history. It didn't exist coming to the present and we decided we were the perfect pair

to write it.

SREENIVASAN: Louise, I can understand in the context of what was happening with the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd why it was resonant to

think about that. But there, you know, you can also say that there's a wealth gap between the very rich Americans and average Americans, right?

What was fascinating to you about kind of the dimension of race in this?

STORY: Well, actually there is a more severe wealth gap among races than there are just among white Americans. So, you're correct. There's a

distributional effect that affects all people and there is a wealth gap among white Americans.

But when you look at white versus black Americans at every income level, there is a wealth gap. And so, white Americans, even those who have less

money than the richest white Americans still have more wealth compared to black Americans with their same income.

And frankly, that was fascinating to me because, you know, I grew up in the 1980s. I remember when Martin Luther King Day became a holiday in much the

same sort of celebratory way as Juneteenth just became a holiday. And I really grew up hearing that the civil rights movement had worked and that

things, you know, had been solved.

And so, for me to understand in the numbers, and I have been a financial -- I've been a financial editor and a financial reporter all my career. So,

just understanding from the numbers that there's still such a big gap, I thought it was noteworthy and that more people should understand it.


SREENIVASAN: Ebony, you choose to focus the book and the stories in the book around Atlanta. Why did you focus on this city? I mean, you go back

really all the way to race riots in 1906 and further on how this wealth gap translates into how we see a modern American city.

REED: Right. Atlanta has been considered, you know, the black Mecca because of its large population of black Americans there. And a lot of

people feel like, you know, that's a place because of opportunity that black Americans can make it.

Now, in our book. we have a chapter on the two Atlantis and we really shine a light, you know, the black, black wealth gap, because there is a

difference between, you know, black Americans who are doing well economically and the experiences of those who are not. And so, because our

book covers people, black Americans, from all economic stratus, people will be able to see the differences in addition to understanding about the

black-white wealth gap.

SREENIVASAN: Louise, you follow Greenwood Bank. I mean, for people outside of Atlanta and who might not be aware of it, why was this bank significant?

I mean, this was an attempt to try to right some wrongs.

STORY: Greenwood Bank, as it was first called, was set up in the summer of 2020 by, first of all, notable people, you know, the rapper Killer Mike,

Michael Render. He goes by Killer Mike. He just won three Grammys. He set it up in partnership with Andrew Young, a former mayor of Atlanta and a

civil rights leader. So, they're famous and people admire them. And they said that the mission of this new company would be to help close racial

wealth gaps. So, that really excited and interested people.

We talked to people who had been out at many demonstrations in the summer of 2020. And yes, they were demonstrating about the murder of George Floyd,

but they will -- they were also demonstrating around systemic inequities, and money was on many people's minds. And so, this offered a solution.

People across the entire country signed up. This is a national company. It's a FinTech actually, which is a technology company that is a banking

platform. They were very excited and they were hoping that Greenwood would be able to make lending and investing much more inclusive of black and

Hispanic people.

SREENIVASAN: Did it work?

STORY: So far, Greenwood has not had the traction and the effect that people were hoping for at the beginning. But I will say, you know, startups

take a long time to come to fruition. The story is not fully told. We think the founders had really good intentions, but it's a hard path to pursue to

change things.

And just remember, you know, the whole financial infrastructure really is set up and run by, you know, largely white owned entities. So, for

something to come in and try to do something with black capital, it's difficult to change things.

SREENIVASAN: Ebony, you have a character in the book Tandreia Dixon. She says, it's more difficult for black entrepreneurs to get their business

started. Black Americans have fewer contacts who can help form business partnerships and invest. And part of it is getting a business loan.

Numerous studies have shown that black business owners have not been treated equally. Black Americans are not offered as many credit options as

white borrowers. And even when black Americans become entrepreneurs, they sometimes struggle to get capital to support their operations.

What were the experiences that she was sharing with you about this inequity?

REED: So, Tandreia, she was trying to raise up her family's economic fortunes. Her family has farmland North Carolina, and she was trying to

figure out what to do with that farmland and how to translate that into, you know, an economic mobility movement for her family.

She talked with us about, you know, her struggles, you know, as an entrepreneur. But I'd like to also highlight some other struggles that she

faced. She wanted to become a home owner because, you know, that's one of the drivers, you know, for wealth in our country. And after three years of

trying, she faced some issues with unemployment at the same time that she was also trying to start a business. She still hadn't been able to purchase

a home three years later.

SREENIVASAN: Louise, one of the characters we meet in the book is a man named Brook Bacon, who is black and he's married to a white woman. And even

in the dynamic of just this interracial relationship, you're able to tease out the different types of financial trend lines going back in history

through their families.

STORY: Yes, Brook and his wife, Sheila (ph) were a really interesting example. We were actually able to trace back their family lines back to the

1860s. And there's data we run through the whole book on the size of the black-white wealth gap. And right after 1860, the average white family had

58 times the wealth of the average black family.


And it turned out when we traced Sheila's family back and when we traced Brook's family back, so a white family back and a black family back, the

ratio of their wealth was 58 to one.


STORY: So, here we had this couple living today and their prior generations were right at the average of what happened to our country. And

so, we understood through their grandparents, their great-grandparents all the way the different things that had happened with them.

And, you know, Sheila's (ph) family is not a super-rich family, but there were things that she'd been able to do, her parents have been able to do

that were different from Brook. And they really go through a racial reckoning in the narrative and the storyline of our book because there was

a terrible tragedy in the summer of 2020, Brook's father was shot by a police officer. And so, we followed the story of what they did to come to

terms with that.

We went on a justice walk with them. It was a 63-mile justice walk and heard the story. And, you know, in reflecting with them over the years, we

had many interviews, at one point, Sheila (ph) said to us, you know, she hadn't realized, but in her being a white person and her marrying a black

person, the way she put it was, she had taken on systemic debt. And she was referring to the student loans that Brook had not been able -- had not paid

off at that point.

But it was interesting hearing both of their perspectives of how their lives and their finances and the legacy of their races were intertwined in

their marriage.

SREENIVASAN: Ebony, this tragedy that Louise just mentioned, that led to a financial windfall for Brook. What happened to that money?

REED: Well, Brook took that money that he was awarded from the State of Georgia, and he shared it with some of his relatives. You know, he had

relatives that had helped bury his father, and he also wanted to help his mom. And then he also was able to save that money. And he talks with us

about, you know, how it set him up for generational wealth for his children. So, he's also saving a portion of that, you know, to help his

family in the future. But of course, no amount of money can ever replace a loved one.

SREENIVASAN: Louise, one of the people in Brook's father's case was James Woodall, who is, at the at the time, was the president of the NAACP in

Georgia, and he served eight years in the military. But you really point out all these structural disadvantages, even in their own lives.

STORY: James Woodall was a rising star in the NAACP. You probably saw him on television in 2020, because he was out there talking about some of the

different police shootings and cases that year. And we examined his family's whole trajectory and his life.

And when he was a child, he was -- his mom was moving him around all the time. They moved, you know, many, many times a year as they struggled and

as she struggled to pay the rent in many places. Sometimes when she needed to get credit to keep on the electricity, she used his Social Security

number or his sibling's Social Security number. So, when he became an adult, he already had tarnished credit.

She took out student loans in order to have some funding to help feed her children. And, you know, his mother, Stefana (ph), I think a lot of readers

will really empathize with her. James Woodall's story is very moving and it helps you understand. Sometimes you see someone at the forefront out there

at the front of the line for the NAACP and you don't know their story, and he's lived a story of struggles.

And one of the things that comes through when you follow his story is that he pushed inside the NAACP for change. He pushed for the NAACP to pay more

of its state leaders, many of these positions are volunteer roles. But when he pushed for reform, he really ruffled some feathers. And so, his story is

a good one to read.

SREENIVASAN: Ebony, if you could, for people who haven't been kind of paying attention to the structural forces of what reinforced and what

created these wealth gaps, I mean, going back in Woodall's case to, you know, his grandfather and the GI Bill all the way to, you know, redlining,

what are some of the big kind of structural causes or an increase in this black-white wealth gap?

REED: Well, I think we have to go all the way back to the beginning when black Americans were enslaved people, because that is the beginning of

working and not being paid when we think about the black-white wealth gap. And then, as we move through history, as Louise and I cover in this book,

people will see points where programs were in place.


Sometimes they were exclusionary, but sometimes there were programs that had -- were not properly set up in a way for black Americans to participate

or to thrive in them. So, you mentioned the GI Bill, and that's a really good one to mention. When it was set up to benefit veterans of World War

II, was for all veterans, regardless of race. But it was not administered at a federal level, so it was administered in local communities.

And because of that, and because there was discrimination on the local level in some communities, many black Americans, the vast amount that were

veterans and tried to use the bill were not able to. And so, there are some estimates that that like less than 3 percent of black Americans were able

to use the GI Bill for housing. It was, of course, set up for housing, education, and also the ability to start, you know, businesses.

In our book, we have many families, you know, more than half a dozen that we interviewed, that told us their family stories about how they were not

able to use the GI Bill, which contributed to the setup of white middle class in our country. And so, when we think about that, you know, this was

a point in history where black Americans, they were just not able to take advantage of this benefit that would have had an economic impact for many

of them that were veterans and their family.

SREENIVASAN: Ebony, both of you have done a fantastic job of laying out what got us here, but you also go kind of a step further. You do have a

list of different types of solutions that you think can help improve this problem. So, if you can, you know, summarize some of those for us.

REED: Sure. So, one of our personal recommendations for people is that at some point in their lives they consider working on a project or an

initiative with a person who is different from them so that they can understand another person's lived experience and some of the issues that

they're facing today, you know, in society.

Louise and I are an example of this, because not only have we worked together, you know, on this -- at this book and we may appear to people

with -- you know, with the visual eye that she is white and I'm black, but we also, you know, had to work through geographic differences to create

this book.

I live in Kansas City, Missouri. She's based on the East Coast. We had to work through family structure differences. She's married and has three

children. I am single and was widowed in the pandemic. And so, that caused us to really have to think through what does it mean to be equitable and

how would we, you know, pay for expenses related to the book. Spend our time.

And we just think if more Americans were able to have this experience, that it would influence how they think about everything in our country from

affordable housing and student loans and other policies if they could just understand the experience of other people.

SREENIVASAN: And, Louise, you are both choosing to return the profits from this book to different causes. Explain that.

STORY: Yes. Well, the book covers many things, but one of the things it does cover is how sometimes white businesses or white entities have taken

advantage of black Americans. And I'm really grateful for the time and the stories that the people in our book shared with us. They shared their

stories to make an impact. Of course, as journalists, we do not compensate people for their stories. That's a standard journalism practice.

And so, I just decided early on that I wanted to volunteer completely on this project. And so, this has been a three-year volunteer project for me.

And what I mean by that is that I've donated all profits that I'm making from the book and I've pledged to do that permanently. Ebony has also

donated a share. And we are doing this to make a difference.

Our number one goal is we want to make "Fifteen Cents on the Dollar" a nationally recognized statistic. We think that if more Americans knew this

figure they would think differently about so many important issues in our society.

REED: It was important for us for people to know that we weren't just talking with them about their stories, but that we also wanted to give

back. We wanted to contribute. And so, it was a very easy decision to make to say, we want to support causes that are tied to education, journalism,

black Americans.

So, on our site,, not only can people learn more about the book, but they can also learn about the events that we're having around the

country as community symposiums. We've been having them since February around the country. We have many more stops to make before July 1. But

people can also read about the nonprofits that we're also supporting through this book.

SREENIVASAN: The book is called "Fifteen Cents on the Dollar: How Americans Made the Black-White Wealth Gap." Louise Story. Ebony Reed, thank

you both for joining us.

STORY: Thank you.

REED: Thank you.



AMANPOUR: And hopefully, this new book will cause not just people to mind the gap, but to close the gap. And finally, tonight, a tale of teamwork,

hope, and the Beluga whales. As Russia continues its devastating assault on Ukraine, cities close to front lines aren't just having to move their human

populations but the animals in peril too. Creatures like 15-year-old Plombir and 14-year-old Miranda, two beluga whales housed in a Kharkiv zoo.

This week, a daring effort led by a team of experts saw the whales move to Odessa and then fly off to Valencia, Spain, where they reached their new

home, an aquarium, in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Safe and sound.

That is it for now. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.