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At This Hour

Kanye West's Twitter Account Suspended After Antisemitic Tweet; Lava From Mauna Loa Volcano Creeps Closer To Major Roadway; U.S. Soccer's Christian Pulisic On Track To Play In Tomorrow's Match. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired December 02, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Kanye West's Twitter account suspended again after Elon Musk said that the rapper violated the platform's rules against inciting violence. The suspension came hours after West tweeted an antisemitic picture, a picture of a Star of David altered with a swastika, and also after a hate-filled exchange with Infowars host Alex Jones. And while his words -- West's words are just as disgusting, and they are, it is important to hear Kanye West in his own words. Listen.


ALEX JONES, HOST, INFOWARS PODCAST: You're not Hitler, you're not a Nazi. You don't deserve to be called that and demonized.

KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: Well, I see -- I see good things about Hitler also.

JONES: I don't like Nazis. And I don't like what some of the mafias are doing either.

WEST: I like Hitler.


BOLDUAN: I like Hitler is what he said there. Oliver Darcy is following this. He joins us now. Oliver, what is happening now, especially when it comes to Twitter?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, Kate, it's hard to see how Kanye West can really sink any lower than this. Yesterday, he went, obviously, as he played effectively full Nazi on the conspiratorial channel, Infowars, and he actually managed really the impossible, which is to make Alex Jones look like the same one in the room. And then later that night, he decided to go on an antisemitic rant on Twitter posting an antisemitic tweet showing a Nazi swastika inside the Star of David, which resulted in the pro maximum free speech, Elon Musk, who now owns Twitter, booting him from the platform and saying that that crossed the line even for him. It's really a stunning fall from West who is once you know, considered to be a musical genius, and known for his music, and now he's known for these vile antisemitic rants and saying he loves Adolf Hitler. And it's also a stunning indictment for the Republican Party. You'll remember that last week he dined with former President Donald Trump. And people like Tucker Carlson who cleaned up his antisemitic remarks earlier when he did an interview with him, they vouched for him in the Republican Party, they hyped him up to the conservative base.

It's also something -- you know, these rants from him come as we're seeing a sharp rise in hate speech on Twitter. And the ADL has said it's a troubling trend that really mimics the broader growth in antisemitism across the country. And, Kate, since we mentioned him, I should also say that Alex Jones, who now owes about $1.5 billion, that's the B, for his lies about Sandy Hook, a totally different topic, but via lies about Sandy Hook. He has now declared personal bankruptcy as of this morning, Kate.

BOLDUAN: So, there you have that. Oliver, thank you so much for that. I really appreciate it.

Joining me now is Jonathan Greenblatt. He is the CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, the ADL as Oliver was just citing some of the research. Jonathan, thank you for coming in. On everything we have now -- we see and hear from Kanye in just now the last 24 hours, the way I saw you put it as you say, this isn't just vile, it puts people in danger, can you lay that out for people who still don't understand?


JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO & NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Look, antisemitism has been described, Kate, as the oldest hatred. It existed before Kanye, it will persist long after Kanye, and yet there is no question that when one of the most well-known entertainers on the planet tries to somehow sanitize Adolf Hitler, suggests that Jews are behind these conspiracies to keep him down, to keep black people down, contrived whole cloth from fiction and lies. And then again, tweets out as Oliver said, this image of the Jewish star with a swastika, it can literally incite people to violence.

I mean, this month -- this month, three years ago, we had the shooting in Jersey City where three Jewish people were shot and killed by as it was a black Hebrew Israelite person who believed that white Jews were fake Jews and that they invented the Holocaust, the same tropes we see, you know, in that movie that Kyrie Irving tweeted out. So, there's a reason why Jewish people across the spectrum, across the country, are incredibly alarmed right now, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Literally just handed to me, Jonathan, as we started our conversation from President Biden's official Twitter account. He's tweeting on this exact topic. And you can see it there for everyone on the screen. I'll read it for you. He says, I just want to make a few things clear the Holocaust happened. Hitler was a demonic figure. And instead of giving it a platform or political leaders -- our political leaders should be calling out and rejecting antisemitism wherever it hides. Silence is complicity.

And this actually gets to something I wanted to ask you about, very specifically. I've heard people --


BOLDUAN: When it comes to Kanye West, specifically, that he is officially someone who should just be ignored, not even talked about because we risk amplifying his message. We, the public in general. What do you say to that?

GREENBLATT: Look, it may be more art than science, but the truth is that we need to cast a bright spotlight on these stereotypes to talk about why this kind of hate and prejudice is so deeply dangerous. Now, I think it's true. It's not a great idea to give additional oxygen to someone like Kanye West, to give to someone like Nick Fuentes, right? To some of the horrible people, we're seeing now flooding Twitter, by the way, coming back on the platform. But we keep -- we ignore this at our own peril.

Like I think we need to understand, Kate, antisemitism isn't just a Jewish problem. It's an American problem. It's a sign of broader social decay, if you will, like termites, you know, eating the foundation of a house, antisemitism corrodes the foundation of our society. So, it endangers all of us. So, we have got to talk about it. We have got to make people understand why this is so deeply damaging and destructive.

BOLDUAN: I also want to ask you about the Twitter effect here. And the research that the ADL is now been putting together as well. I mean, Elon Musk blocked Kanye West's account over the tweet. Do you applaud that? Is it safe on Twitter? Is it getting -- it sounds to me like it's getting worse, not better?

GREENBLATT: Well, look, we should definitely applaud Elon Musk and the management of Twitter for tape -- suspending Kanye's account. Hopefully, he will never come back. Because when you violate the terms of service again and again, and again, when you spew like -- freedom of speech isn't the freedom to slander people, Kate, and freedom have to talk about your ideas isn't the freedom to threaten Jews or anyone else. That's not protected speech. So, yes, Kanye should have come down. I'm glad it happened.

But ADL and the Center for countering digital hate have just been doing some research. We have found a surge of antisemitic activity on Twitter in recent weeks since the new management took over. And we found a decrease in the moderation of this kind of content. I can tell you, we report regularly problematic, hateful, antisemitic tweets, and we're not seeing them go down nearly at the rate that they were just a few months ago.

Now, maybe that's because the resources are being applied, maybe because the people aren't there. I don't know. But what I do know is that all of us win, Kate, if Twitter is a safer space for all users. It should be a public square, not a firing squad where Jews or anyone else feels endangered.

BOLDUAN: Yes. No matter the reason why you're seeing what you're seeing in the research, the net effect is the same. It's bad. It needs to be addressed. And you calling it -- but the -- in one of the necessary ways to do it sometimes is presenting the evidence, laying bare for everyone to see which is what you are -- you're doing with this research that you guys have put together, so I really appreciate it. Jonathan, thank you for coming on.


GREENBLATT: Kate, thank you.

BOLDUAN: I'm sorry --

GREENBLATT: I always appreciate you covering these issues. Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: How are you getting -- yes. They -- and thank you for making time. We will not stop covering it as you know because it's not going away.

Coming up still for us. Concerns are rising in Hawaii as lava creeps closer to a major roadway. We're going to take you there next.



BOLDUAN: Fresh concerns in Hawaii right now over the world's largest active volcano. It is not stopping and officials there say that the lava flow is now inching towards a major highway. CNN's David Culver has a closer look.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just behind me, you can see the lava flow from what is the world's largest active volcano here on the Big Island of Hawaii. And you can see some lights of cars, perhaps people have been pulling up throughout the night just to try to get a glimpse of what is just a striking scene, the glow of the lava, of course, keeping several miles away.

And to give you a better look at it, we'll step out of the way, we'll turn off the lights here, and that's what people have been doing out of respect, shutting off even their car lights and allowing others to just take it in. Some people with their families in the middle of the night taking photos, of course, but also just standing in silence and allowing the majesty of it all to seep in. Officials are concerned and they're keeping the urgency up and particularly warning of the lava flow and its potential impact on what is the main thoroughfare here. It's called saddle road. And it is considered an extremely important artery on this island, and one that could be cut off if the lava continues to flow another few miles in the direction that it's currently heading. The other big concern for officials is what you see coming out of this fissure right here. And that is not smoke, but acid gas. And so, they're warning people who might have respiratory issues that this could be a problem for them. As of now, though, they're saying that the threat remains low. They're still monitoring it. And they're warning that this is something that could change rather quickly.

All of this, it's so unpredictable as they say. So, they're trying to keep on tabs with where it's going to go, what impact it could have. And they say the good thing is, as of now, the movement pace of the lava is so slow that if it were to impact, say the main thoroughfare, they'd have enough time to give people a heads-up at least a day or two at its current pacing. All in all, though, there's this balance between the urgency between the uncertainty, and the concern. And the beauty of it and the appreciation and the respect for what created more than half of this the Big Island and that is Mauna Loa. It is striking.

David Culver, CNN, Hawaii.


BOLDUAN: David, thank you so much. It is striking for sure. Still ahead for us. President Biden heading to Boston for a royal meeting today. That's next.



BOLDUAN: Next hour, President Biden is heading to Boston where he will meet with Prince William. The president and the prince are expected to visit the John F. Kennedy presidential library. And William and Catherine as we know and have been tracking are visiting the United States for the first time in eight years. This evening, the royal couple will be attending the second annual Earth shot Prize award ceremony, a climate change Innovation Award established by Prince William. The royal couples spent the morning today at a childhood development center at Harvard University.

So, there's also this. The U.S. Men's National Soccer Team is getting a big boost ahead of tomorrow's big World Cup matchup against The Netherlands. The head coach -- their head coach says star Christian Pulisic is now on track to play as we saw him on the practice field earlier this hour after suffering an injury scoring a goal in the win over Iran. Listen to this.


CHRISTIAN PULISIC, USMNT ATTACKER: I didn't get like hit in the balls but like -- is that like, I'm all right -- I'm all right. It was very painful. And it just, you know, that bone is there for a reason to protect you, I think and I hit it well. And it was sore. But like I said, I'm getting better.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: Christian Pulisic with the quote of the day and what his injury was, and wasn't. Christine Brennan is here, CNN's sports analyst and columnist for USA Today. I mean, that's one way to put it, Christine. How crucial is it for Team USA to have Pulisic healthy and back on the pitch with them?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Kate, it's a big deal. He's 24 years old. He's the star of the team. He's responsible for both goals that the United States scored in the opening round. The first goal against England, he was the assist on that and then, of course, the legendary goal already and in lore and legend of U.S. Soccer too, of course, beat Iran and then, of course, lying on the field and having to leave the match.

So, he is essential too for the offense. It's a boost for the team. You can obviously sense what they would feel that knowing that he'll be out on the field. And I think it just voices everyone's spirits. And, of course, it certainly helps the U.S. offense.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. What's the expectation for tomorrow's match?

BRENNAN: Netherlands is eighth-ranked in the world. They are really good, one of those great European teams. Although maybe not as good as they used to be. There's a hope and a sense, Kate, that the United States with their spirit, their energy, the second youngest team in the tournament, they've been playing great, they're on a roll that they feel that they can maybe pull this off. And their defense, only given one goal in the -- in the group stage. That defense has been smothering. It has to do that job. If it's 0-0 going into the second half, the United States may well be in a good position.


BOLDUAN: Interesting. So, I want to play for you what another star on the U.S. team, Tim Weah when -- he was asked about how the team's run at the World Cup is being received back home. Let me play what he said.


TIMOTHY WEAH, USMNT FORWARD: It's the biggest sport now. I mean we're on the stage. And it's our -- it's our duty. It's our job to make sure that we -- you know, make sure they know that this is the sport to play. And I think everyone back home is realizing that you know, their team has talent. And, you know, it's just up to us to take it, you know, as far as we can go and make sure that we make a statement.


BOLDUAN: And it's always a conversation with a World Cup comes around, I think, which is, what is this World Cup and this team and their run? What does it mean for the sport back in the united -- back in the United States? As if I'm over there. But you know what? In the United States, what do you think, Christine?

BRENNAN: Sure. I think this is very important, I think especially now because it's, Kate, as you know, in November and December, it's going head to head with college football, our football, and pro football. It's holding its own in the TV ratings. It's not beating Michigan-Ohio State. It's not beating the Dallas Cowboys and the Giants. Of course, the NFL is in the stratosphere in terms of TV ratings, but it's doing very, very well. 15 point 3 million watched the USA-England match. 17 million watched Michigan-Ohio State.

That's pretty good for soccer -- for men's soccer. And I think this the joie de vivre, this team, the fact that they were the ones that gave up money, so the women's national team could have equal pay. These are good guys, and America's really reacting in a very positive way to what they're seeing on the field.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. So, also speaking of, you know, making history, for the first time, three women referees officiated a World Cup match. There's this great image that I was kind of looking at earlier. Put into perspective, how big of a deal that is?

BRENNAN: You know this Men's World Cup is doing great things for women. And I don't know that I would have ever said that in a previous World Cup, Kate. You know, FIFA is the oldest of the old boys' networks and yet they have now finally come into the 21st century. That was huge. And what it means for every little girl not so much in the United States, but in other countries where women do not have the rights that we do here, they see that and they think that anything is possible.

BOLDUAN: Yes. It's good to see you. Thanks so much, Christine.

BRENNAN: Great to see you. Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you all so much for being here. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this.