Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

NFL Coach Quits After Homophobic, Racist, Misogynistic Emails; Netflix Stands by Dave Chappelle Amid Trans Phobic Jokes; Pelosi Warns Dems Difficult Decisions Must Be Made Very Soon; Brooklyn Nets Bench Kyrie Irving Over Vaccination Status; League Source Says 96 Percent of Players Vaccinated; Gas Prices Hit 7 Year High. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 12, 2021 - 15:30   ET



JAY BROWN, SENIOR VP OF PROGRAMS, RESEARCH AND TRAINING, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: Push an environment that is fully inclusive where all folks are welcome in sports, and you know, there's whole lot of work that needs to be done.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: So, what's that work look like. Listen, we've seen the -- I don't want to call it an aside, because that suggests there's nothing behind it, but the messages in the end zone, the messages on the helmets, Black Lives Matter, and say their stories. HRC leads training in this area. What is the work the NFL has to do?

BROWN: Yes, I mean, I think in our work, we start with policies and looking at how the policies are impacting actual employees and customers, and then digging deep into the practices that can support those policies.

Are there really adequate trainings, are folks really understanding what bias looks like in the locker room, outside of the locker room?

I think there's a lot of work that the NFL and frankly all major sports establishments need to do to really make good of their promises that they put as you say in the end zones.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's turn to Netflix now, and "The Closer," it's been criticized as having stretches of examples of trans phobia in the material. The Netflix Co-CEO sent out a statement to employees showing the company is going to stand behind the Chappelle special. Here's part of it.

We don't allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don't believer "The Closer" crosses that line. I recognize however that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with standup comedy which exists to push boundaries, some people find the art to have standup to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it and it's an important part of our content offering.

Your reaction to that, and that this special is going to stay up? BROWN: Yes, so I mean, I think, you know, what a media company chooses

to put on its platform has real consequences for actual people, and LGBTQ people unfortunately have been sort of the brunt of a joke for way too long.

Netflix (INAUDIBLE) and Chappell have said won't age so well, and for me, you know, I watch the show. The problem is that he really talks about LGBTQ folks like racism doesn't impact our community.

He's making jokes about I'm a trans person. He's making jokes about how we pee, about Adam's apples and chiseled jaw lines, meanwhile black transwomen are being killed in record numbers, and HIV is disproportionately impacting black and brown, gay and bi-men and trans-women.

Black and brown queer youth are dealing with harassment and discrimination at their schools not just because of their race or their gender identity or their sexual orientation but because of all of these multiple identities.

So, to me it's not an either/or issue, and I wish that he had focused on the interconnectedness of all these issues rather than use us as a brunt of a punch line.

BLACKWELL: I have not read yet that the HRC is calling for Netflix to pull it down. Are you?

BROWN: You know, I think we have certainly spoken out against Netflix, their response on this. I wish they hadn't put it on the platform. I wish they would take a lesson from this and do better with the content that they choose to put up in the future.

I love some of their programming. When I think about those young people, and I think about one of my favorite shows right now, it's on Netflix. It's "Sex Education," and it's a real window into the kind of programming that can do real good for the LGBTQ community and talk about these issues with the complexity they deserve.

BLACKWELL: But Jay, let me ask you about something that supporters of Dave Chappelle say that he was trying to show. I mean, one of them is Brandy Dorman. He talks about -- Chappelle talks about his relationship, his friendship, his mentorship of a trans-comedian, Daphne Dorman, who at one point opened up for him in San Francisco. And this is a statement from Daphne Dorman who died tragically died by suicide in 2019.

Brandy Dorman writes: This was a call to come together that two oppressed factions of our nation, put down their keyboards and make peace. How sad that this message was lost in translation.

Did you hear a message there of trying to, as maybe, clumsily it was executed of trying to bring communities together?

BROWN: Yes, I think that's a great word to use, Victor. I think it didn't hit the mark, and to me it missed the mark on trying to make that bridge, and recognizing that we really, I mean, I agree with that that need, that if we focus more on how these things intersect, about how racism impacts, you know, black trans folks, and how trans folks, also who are white, and white LGBTQ folks need to stand up against racism.


If we focused on those things instead of really using our identities as punch lines, we'd get a lot further down the road, and I feel like they just missed the mark on this one.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jay Brown, with HRC, thank you.

BROWN: Thank you so much.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, Victor, we have some important decisions to make in the next few days. That's not me talking. That's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

BLACKWELL: It sounded just like here though.

CAMEROTA: It sounded like me. I used my own voice. My own voice.


CAMEROTA: All right, we're live on The Hill next.


BLACKWELL: This afternoon, we expect the House to vote to extend the nation's debt limit through early December. Now once the House passes the short-term extension, it will be cleared for President Biden's signature.


CAMEROTA: Also today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warning her caucus that the time is now to make tough choices on the President's social safety net bill. But Pelosi says she does not want to slash any of the, quote, transformative programs, inside the package. So how is that going to work?

CNN's chief Congressional correspondent Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill for us. So, Manu, what tough choices are about to be made?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a bunch of new provisions in this package, new benefits that would actually be awarded through a bill that, you know, initially was $3.5 trillion. That is the package that had been proposed by the House, but they are facing resistance among moderates, particularly in the Senate. Joe Manchin in particular wants $1.5 trillion. So how do they bring that bill down? Will they drop some of the major provisions in this bill? Some of which include universal pre-K, child tax credit, tuition free community college, paid family leave and an expansion of Medicare.

Earlier today at her press conference, I pressed the Speaker and I asked her, will you drop any of these provisions? Instead, she suggested they would just change the timeframe of this, but she hoped to keep all of those benefits in there. Listen.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, let me just say that at $3.5 trillion we are doing everything well, so not a question of now we're doing it well because it's less money.

But the fact is that if there is -- a fewer dollars to spend, there are choices to be made, and members have said let's get the results that we need, but we will not diminish the transformative nature of what it is.

In the family section of it, the transformative nature, the Biden child tax credit, childcare, and universal pre-K really go together. That's sort of a -- they go together. They're part of the same -- meeting the same need. Mostly we would be cutting back on years and something like that.

But those are decisions that will be made. Excuse me.

RAJU: Would you have to drop one of those programs?

PELOSI: Well, we hope not. We hope not.


RAJU (on camera): So that's the big question here, is that -- that position, that she will keep everything in here but only limit the time frame. Will that be enough to win over people like Joe Manchin, and others who want to actually limit the benefits in this underlying bill?

Those are the key decisions that she will have to make along with other Democratic leaders, and they can't afford any defections in the Senate. One Democratic Senator could thwart this in the Senate, more than three could thwart it in the House. It's a narrow line she has to walk here, can she get it done? Big questions ahead -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Manu Raju there on Capitol Hill, thank you.

RAJU: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: The Brooklyn Nets front office taking a hard line with one of its biggest stars, Kyrie Irving now benched over his vaccination status.



BLACKWELL: It's a stunning move by the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. The team has officially pulled its star player, Kyrie Irving, from playing or practicing with the team until he's eligible to be a full participant.

And in New York City that means that he can't play at indoor sporting venues until he's had at least one COVID vaccine shot.

CAMEROTA: The seven-time all-star has been unwilling to reveal his vaccination status saying he wants to, quote, keep that stuff private. Here's the Nets General Manager with more on their decision.


SEAN MARKS, GENERAL MANAGER, BROOKLYN NETS: Kyrie's made it clear he has a choice in this matter, and it's ultimately going to be up to him what he decides. You know, we respect the fact that he has a choice and he can make his own right to choose. As again, right now, what's basically the organization is the path that we're taking, and I don't want to speak for Kyrie, you know, at the right time I'm sure he will address his feelings, and you know, what the path may be for him.


CAMEROTA: A league source tells CNN that 96 percent of the NBA is vaccinated. Joining us now is NBA TV host Stephanie Ready. So, Stephanie, was this a surprising decision?

It doesn't sound like Stephanie can hear us. Stephanie can you --

BLACKWELL: Hate to see it.

CAMEROTA: I'm going to say, yes, it was a surprising decision.

BLACKWELL: That was a surprise. Let's try to get Stephanie back up. OK. Which is interesting that -- we're not going to break yet.

CAMEROTA: No, you and I are going to talk sports. This is going to be interesting for the viewers to hear me discuss basketball, I have a lot to say about it.

BLACKWELL: Buckle your seat belt.

OK, we've got her back. All right, good, we don't have to do this.

CAMEROTA: OK, Stephanie, good, glad you can hear us. Stephanie, we were just talking about this decision by the Nets to bench Kyrie Irving, how surprising was this?

STEPHANIE READY, NBA TV HOST: Well, it wasn't at all shocking, guys. Thanks for your patience with all the technology as you guys know how we are now on the road.

You know that the team has to do something. They had to make a decision. It was reported that the two other stars on this team, James Harden and Kevin Durant met with management. You have to believe that that discussion was all about what was best for the team.

If anyone's ever played a team sport, you know how important it is to be selfless and put the team first especially when you have multiple superstars.

[15:50:00] So, you knew that something was going to give eventually. Either Kyrie was going to succumb if you will and get the vaccination so he can be a full participant with his teammates, or the team was going to have to cut the cord in some way because they have to set the tone for the season.

This is a team that thinks are capable of winning a championship down to the last man on the bench. And as you know if you've ever played a team sport, consistency and chemistry is part of that recipe.

So, if you have one of your main players coming in and out of the lineup, you're not sure which day he's going to be able to play, that could be detrimental to the team.

And guys, frankly, this is the beginning of the season, the beginning of the flu season. We don't know where these mandates will go as we move forward into this basketball season. There could be more cities that change their rules as we move along.

BLACKWELL: So, Stephanie, it's been, what, two weeks since we learned LeBron James, the biggest star in the league, got vaccinated after he said he did research. Do we know if Kyrie is trying to get to a point where he wants to get a vaccine or he's just not going -- not going to do it? I think we got --

CAMEROTA: She's still with us.

READY: This is so terrible. I apologize. I heard your question though, Victor.


READY: So really, I mean there's no way to know the Nets are doing a great job from everything that I've been told of trying to educate, not just Kyrie, but all of their players. And that's what the NBA has been doing as well. When you look at the vaccination rate, it's 95 percent across the league. And there are several teams that are up to 100 percent fully vaccinated. So, you know that there has been an effort to educate and to eliminate the misinformation from all of these players. I'm sure the effort is ongoing.

CAMEROTA: Stephanie, what are the repercussions for Kyrie Irving. We heard before the astronomical salary that he makes and he'll be missing out on however the huge amount that he makes per game. But do you think that there are longer lasting repercussions for his career?

READY: I'm sure that there will be. I mean when you just do the simple math. Marks has come out and said that he will not be paid for the home games because that was the ruling before they made this call that he was not even eligible to play.

They will -- it appears they'll continue to compensate him for the road games he would have technically been eligible to participate in but the team has made the call to not allow his participation.

The big picture, Alisyn, is his contract renewal. I mean he was supposed to be having those discussions this season about trying to negotiate another max deal. Currently, he's on his four-year deal that was worth over $136 million. So, he is in jeopardy of missing over $34 million this year if they completely sever ties.

So, we know that he's going to likely get half of that. The other picture is endorsement deals. How will his partners feel that this is affecting their brand?

BLACKWELL: It's going to be difficult to reconcile for some of these companies, if they require their employees to get vaccinated and then they endorse someone who is not being public about their status.

But looks like we made it, Stephanie Ready with the audio and the visual challenge. We made it through.

CAMEROTA: Well done, Stephanie.

BLACKWELL: Yes, thank you.

READY: I appreciate you guys. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: You, too. Thanks so much.

OK. So, gas prices are soaring. The supply chain has been disrupted and this global energy crisis is now threatening. Is there an end in sight?



CAMEROTA: Gas prices are at a seven-year high and you contrast that with how cheap the cost of energy was at the beginning of the pandemic. But now supply cannot keep up with demand as consumers get back on the road.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Dan Simon is at a gas station in San Francisco. What are the prices looking like there, Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the highest gas prices in the nation are right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. This Chevron station behind me, $4.89 for a regular gallon of unleaded gas.

Of course, California typically has some of the highest gas prices in the country, but a little more sticker-shock these days in light of the price of oil hitting that seven-year high. And nationally, $3.27 a gallon. Last week, it was $3.20. So up 7 cents. And here's what folks at the pump are telling us about it. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out here on vacation. I don't really have much of a choice as to whether or not I buy gas. I got to around somehow. I mean I think there are definitely a lot of supply chain issues that need to be resolved. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people basically suffering for so they

need to pay their bills and stuff like that and these gas prices are basically taking away from them paying their rent and their mortgages whatever. So, I think it should be lower. We've got to do something about it. I don't know. We got to do something about it.


SIMON: Well, experts telling us it all comes down to simple economics. Supply and demand. Demand right now is off the charts but production has been slow to rebound from the pandemic. And experts also saying it's only going to exacerbate inflation. It's going to cost more to transport goods from point A to point B and those prices are going to be passed along to consumers. And unfortunately, does not look like there's going to be relief in any short-term future. Guys, we'll send it back to you.

BLACKWELL: All right, Dan Simon there in San Francisco, $4.89 a gallon for regular. All right. Thank you, Dan.

CAMEROTA: And you know, we were hearing from Matt Egan yesterday that presidents when the gas prices are low, like to take credit but when they're high, say there's nothing that I can do about that ...