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UAW Strike Hits Select Plants Of "Big Three" Automakers; New Report: Border Patrol In Texas Separating Children From Families While In Custody; Search For The Missing Continues In Flood-Ravaged Libya; Kevin McCarthy Stares Down Another Right-Wing Revolt As He Tries To Avert A Government Shutdown; Boebert Apologizes For Vaping, Disrupting "Beetlejuice" Musical. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 16, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GABE COHEN: CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, look, everyone wants to remain optimistic. That's what the head of the local union here, local 12, told me yesterday, they are hoping this could end quickly. But we've learned a lot more about how wide the divide has been.
As of yesterday, the head of the auto workers union said that 80 percent -- 80 percent of members' demands have not been met at this point in any of the offers they've gotten from the automakers.
We know, as you mentioned, they are back at the bargaining table today, the auto workers union said they sent new counter offers to each of the big three: Ford, G.M. and Stellantis. Yesterday, they are waiting for a response, no doubt, that's going to be discussed today.
But it's hard to imagine this is going to be ending at least anytime soon. We certainly, it doesn't seem within the next 24 hours. And we've heard from a lot of workers who have said, they are preparing for this to potentially last for a while.
To set the scene for you here, we're outside this Stellantis factory, which is right behind me -- they are right in front of me, I should say. They build jeeps here more than 1,000 a day. And if you look down, there are groups of these picketers of for a half mile in each direction, covering every gate, every entrance, there are 5,800 workers on strike here in Toledo. 13,000, across the country, between these three plants. And you can get a sense just being here, talking to some of these workers of the frustrations, they have been feeling.
I actually want to bring in one of those workers now. Dominic, can we grab you for a second?
DOMINIC WEST, STELLANTIS AUTO WORKER: Yes.
COHEN: So, you were telling me, you've worked here 10 years on the door line. When you heard that this strike was, in fact, going to happen, and that this location, this factory had been picked, what went through your mind?
WEST: I was excited, you know, happy. Because we are here fighting for what we believe we deserve. And, you know, fighting for our families and everything out here. You know, so, I was ready for us. I'm glad that they picked us, you know, because we're a big part of the company with the wranglers. And so, I felt it was our turn.
COHEN: And what is your biggest message to Stellantis and to the other automakers?
WEST: Just, you know, pay us, as you know, inflation is going up, you know, as price is going up. So, you know, pay us, you know what we deserve, and keep us going with able to take care of our families and provide for our families, you know, and just, you know, in tears, you know --
COHEN: Yes. And I know it's day two right now with the strike. Do you feel the energy waning at all? What is it like out here?
WEST: The energy is great. Everybody is excited. Everybody is out here, like I said, fighting for each other. And, you know, go stay arms with each other and ready, you know, get what we deserve.
COHEN: Well, thank you so much.
WEST: Yes, thank you.
COHEN: And good luck out here.
Now, the auto workers' union has said, it is possible that additional factories beyond the three that we've already seen here in Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri could go on strike in the coming days or weeks, depending on what progress is made, Fred, in those negotiations that were potentially lack thereof progress.
But either way, whether more workers go out on strike, we know that in the coming days at these facilities stay close, we're going to start to see more of a ripple effect across the auto manufacturing industry here in the U.S.
We're already seeing it. Ford, announcing, they are laying off 600 workers in Michigan. G.M. saying they're going to idle 2,000 workers in Kansas. That's at two different facilities that they say can't operate as normal, because they can't get parts at -- or out, or they can't get them in, as long as these three facilities are shut down, Fred.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Oh, my God.
COHEN: So, again, that ripple effect potentially could cause major problems. It's already starting to, but it could grind auto manufacturing in the U.S. really to a halt.
WHITFIELD: Wow, the impact is big. Gabe Cohen in Toledo. Thank you so much. Let's talk more about all this with Tammy Kim. She is a contributing writer at The New Yorker. And she's been covering the industry for quite some time now. So, Tammy, I mean, that's pretty significant to hear about the ripple effect. It already, you know, according to Gabe, there, you know, Ford is going to be laying off people. Is there a direct consequence? You know, is that -- is that a direct consequence to this striking?
TAMMY KIM, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Yes, certainly, this is something that the union is weighing. And I think that's behind the strategy of the rolling strikes, where you have just the starter strikes of at the three facilities.
These are, of course, assembly plants, not manufacturing plants. But, you know, with every kink in the supply chain, as we saw in the pandemic, that leads to delays in shipments and a shrinkage of the supply.
So, you know, I think the union is sort of in their contract campaign has been kind of preparing this like waging their bets around having the support of the public, you know, not disrupting the supply chain more than it needs to.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And as Gabe was saying there that 80 percent of the strikers' demands are not being met, you know, according to representatives of the union there.
So, do you think the two sides will be able to find some sort of common ground soon?
Or does that say it's a long way away?
KIM: Before -- yes, certainly. I think it's very hard to tell. I mean, you know going into the strike, at the negotiating table, the size were very far apart. You saw some movement on the side of the companies where they were promising 20 percent bumps in pay to try to alleviate some of this.
But, you know, that the demands are quite broad, because as from the workers' perspective, they are seeing this as sort of a reparative moment coming out of even the great recession, where, of course, two of the three big manufacturers at bankruptcy, they were bailouts of the companies, and the workers are saying, well, we didn't get a cut of that.
And so, they are trying to turn back the time where, you know, we had fixed benefit pensions for these workers there were not two-tier employment right now, the new workers are coming in at lower standards. So, that -- they are sort of seeing this as a -- as a moment of high leverage, because of the record profits in the industry. Of can we claw back some of the things that we've lost over the years?
WHITFIELD: So, this year, you know, this is the year of the strike, you know, in a lot of different ways.
WHITFIELD: You know, recently averted a massive strike by its workers. So, how were they able to do that? While the auto industry is finding itself in the middle of it, knowing, you know, what was at stake for UPS as well?
KIM: Sure. Well, UPS came very, very close to striking. It could have very much gone this way. In that case, we have a little bit more of a streamline situation where there is one employer here, we have three, of course, and this is a historic strike in the sense that the United Auto Workers have doesn't ever strike against all three at once.
I think what's happening here is, you know, you have an industry that's very much in transition, maybe even more than in logistics, where the companies are trying to figure out how to go from internal combustion engines to this, these new E.V. products, the E.V. facilities to date aren't really unionized. And so, what does that mean to try to win in the facilities that are making the traditional vehicles.
This also fits into a larger sort of political context with President Biden and his manufacturing and green manufacturing policies. But, you know, I think there's a lot of connections between the United Auto Workers and the Teamsters UPS, strike preparation.
A lot of the United Auto Workers will talk about how they were watching the UPS workers do practice pickets. They were kind of trying to figure out how they too could harness a strategy that was much more grassroots. The United Auto Workers like the Teamsters is also coming out of a period of reform within the union, new president, past two president saw prison time for embezzlement.
The United Auto Workers is seeing the strike as a sort of moment where they can declare we are a new union. We're more of a grassroots union. We're also a union that's looking toward the future of new products.
WHITFIELD: All right. Tammy Kim, thank you so much. I know, we'll be talking to you again.
KIM: Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: Because, yes, I think the predictions are thus far that this is something that's not going to be resolved in a matter of, you know, hours or even days, but this is going to be quite the walk for some time.
KIM: Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: Thank you.
All right, turning now to a new report from an independent monitor reviewing the conditions of migrant children along the border. The report says the U.S. Border Patrol at the Donna facility in the Rio Grande Valley, area of Texas has been separating children as young as eight from their families while in custody.
Let's get right to CNN's Priscilla Alvarez for more on this. What are you learning?
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Fredricka, I spoke with a Customs and Border Protection official, who underscored that these were rare circumstances. And part of what is happening on the border, which is overcrowding in these short-term facilities, and that in some cases, children have been separated from the parents that they are processed with while in custody, because they don't have enough room in the holding areas for families.
But this is something that we learned about overnight in a court filing, and it's in monitor who goes to these facilities, interviewed children, and found that in two site visits in the Donna facility in the Rio Grande Valley, some children again as young as 8, had been separated from their parents while in custody.
And went on to say that children who were interviewed were not aware of protocols to see or request their parents while in custody. Now, the monitor goes on to note what I just mentioned that Border Patrol said at the time this was operational, was concerns over safety, and, you know, trying to make -- trying to make do with the facilities they have and overcrowding.
But either way, the monitor went on to say, "separating a child from a parent can be profoundly traumatic for children, and can have lasting harmful effects."
It went on to say that the potential of separating these children could have serious effects in the long term.
Now, in a statement, a CBP spokesperson went on to say the following.
DHS and CBP prioritize keeping families together at every step of the immigration process and have protocols to that end. Again, underscoring that safety is paramount.
But the bigger picture here is that this really underscores the operational and humanitarian challenges facing President Joe Biden on the U.S.-Mexico border.
In recent weeks, they have seen an uptick of people crossing the border, and in particular, families. It's a vulnerable population, a population that has been a challenge for multiple administrations, because these facilities are simply not equipped to hold people, especially, families for long periods of time.
And so, officials have told me they are trying to process these families out but in the interim, some of these worse circumstances are happening. Fred?
WHITFIELD: And is there any knowledge about whether those who have been separated have since been reunited?
ALVAREZ: Yes. They are processed out of the facility. So, just to describe briefly the process, they'll come into intake, they'll be processed together, they may be separated while in custody over the course of processing, and then, they will be released together. So, this separation that we know of is happening in custody. This is separate from what we saw under the Trump administration.
WHITFIELD: All right. Priscilla Alvarez, thank you so much.
All right. Meantime, happening in Texas right now, state senators are voting on articles of impeachment for suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton. A live update on where things stand in minutes.
WHITFIELD: All right. Right now, the Republican-led Senate in Texas is voting on articles of impeachment for suspended Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton. He faces 16 articles of impeachment, most of them stemming from allegations that he abused his office to help a friend and donor.
It is the latest in a string of controversies that have followed Paxton since he was elected back in 2014.
Ed Lavandera is joining us right now from Austin. So, Ed, where do we stand on the vote?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka.
Well, so far, senators have voted on the first 10 articles of impeachment. And Ken Paxton has been acquitted, so far, on all of those first 10 articles of impeachment. There are six more votes to go. And let me set the scene a little bit here for you, as you might be able to hear some chamber music in the background.
We are in the rotunda of the capitol. And visitors here on a weekend, listening to this music, as this very dramatic vote is just going on feet away from where these visitors of the capitol are listening to the concert here, and then, returning almost like a cinematic Godfather kind of feel, if you will.
But it has been a rather dramatic vote, by and large, Ken Paxton receiving support from the vast majority of the Republicans.
Remember, he needed 90 -- he needed 19 -- or 10 of the 19 Republican senators to vote for him and he is getting the vast majority of that so far. In fact, most of the votes have been 14 to acquit. There needs to be 21 votes to remove Ken Paxton from office.
So, these votes are sending quite a signal. And Fredricka, important to remember that in the last few days, the amount of political pressure has really ramped up intensely here in this state as extreme right-wing groups that have been very supportive of Ken Paxton have been pushing their followers and their supporters to get people and to get the senators to understand how much they appreciate Ken Paxton despite the amount of baggage and controversy that this attorney general has brought.
But right now, it appears, if the votes continue this way that Ken Paxton will be acquitted, and he will be allowed to return to assume his duties as the attorney general here in the state. Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And Ed, you're right. I mean, with such a somber, serious procedure, but then you've got this rather celebratory kind of ominous music in the background. But I keep us posted on that as the votes continue.
LAVANDERA: That were --
WHITFIELD: I think I like your analogy of The Godfather, too.
LAVANDERA: Explaining (INAUDIBLE), Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Yes, it was fascinating. All right. Ed Lavandera, we'll check back with you. Thank you.
All right. Coming up next, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, apologizing after getting booted from a Beetlejuice musical in Denver. Newly obtained video shows her acting inappropriately during the family friendly play. What she is saying now. That's next.
Turkish ships are arriving in Libya, carrying humanitarian aid equipment and over 300 aid workers, following catastrophic flooding there. More than 5,000 people are dead and 1,000s are still missing. Rescue crews are racing against time to find survivors.
Just watch this Turkish disaster workers search for bodies while waist deep in water and mud.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is in Derna, the city hardest hit by the floods.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just to explain to you where we are right now, we are in the Wadi Derna or the Derna Valley area. This is where you had those floodwaters just coming through this entire area here.
Right in front of us. That's where those dams were before they ruptured. And then, you have the water that was coming through here pretty much destroying everything in its way, including a bridge that was here. You might not be able to see it by this traffic that's blocking the roads right now, because this has become a main artery in the city, where much of the infrastructure has been destroyed and roads have been blocked. But that is where a bridge stood connecting the city. Now, that's gone. And it might be difficult for us to move the camera because coms are very challenging in the city right now.
Over my right shoulder that was a neighborhood. An entire neighborhood that no longer exists right now. This entire neighborhood was washed into the sea.
And while we're standing here, we have seen people walking past survivors from Derna, carrying whatever they've been able to salvage of their belongings.
Grown men and women who are walking past and sobbing. This is absolutely shocking and heartbreaking to see.
KARADSHEH (voice over): It was a storm like no other, Libyans had ever seen before. But it's not only Mother Nature's wrath that's to blame for these apocalyptic scenes in Derna.
KARADSHEH: Right up there is where the dams were. When they burst, it unleashed all that water. The floods that swept entire neighborhoods like this into the sea. And you can see the force of the water when you look at buildings like this.
And you can see how high the waves were.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Waves as high as 22-feet or seven meters submerged buildings and the current so strong destroyed almost everything in its path and washed it all into the sea. The Mediterranean turned into a graveyard for the people of Derna.
How many lives lost here, no one really knows, but it's in the thousands. The ones crystal clear blue waters now murky and brown tell the grim story of a city that once was of those gone young and old.
Children, a few months old, elderly people, pregnant women, they're in the sea, 21-year-old Abdel Wahab tells us. With nothing but a rope tied around his waist, he pulled 40 bodies on the first day, he says.
There are other bodies, we don't know how to get them out. We just don't have any equipment, he says. Derna is gone, you won't see it again.
They've gotten some help since. International support has been slowly trickling in, but nowhere near enough to deal with a disaster on this scale. It's mostly Libyans here, volunteers from every corner of this bitterly divided country, foes who fought each other for years, united in grief, doing what they can to mend the wounds of this broken city.
Most are here to try and give the dead a dignified end. It's not the time to lay blame for what happened, many say. But the dams had not been maintained for decades, residents say. Had they been, Derna and its people may still be standing. Nearly a week on, emotions here still so raw. Tarek (PH) and his family climbed on top of the water tanks on their roof. They all survived, but most of his neighbors did not.
There are 12 to 15 homes on our street. We lost 33 people, he tells us. He then starts to name the dead. Entire family is gone. It's all just too much.
Libyans know loss and death all too well. But nothing could have prepared them for this.
KARADSHEH (on camera): And short time ago, we were at the waterfront, which has become the main staging area for delivering the bodies that have been retrieved to prepare them for movement for burial. And we were speaking to a number of the volunteers there who say that they are still getting a lot of bodies; 22 today. While we were there, we saw several bodies being delivered.
Yesterday, 90 bodies. And people are so emotional, they tell you right now, these bodies have become unrecognizable.
And you can just imagine what this means for the thousands of people who are still searching for the more than 10,000 loved ones who have gone missing.
WHITFIELD: Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much.
All right. Russian state media releasing new video today of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, touring a Russian warship. Ukraine intelligence officials claimed North Korea is cooperating with Russia by supplying them with ammunition.
CNN's Marc Stewart has more.
MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Fredricka. It's become very well known that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is keen on photo ops, especially those that involve world leaders and military hardware. And that's exactly what we've seen during his travel in Russia.
On Saturday, he visited an airfield with Russia's defense minister Sergei Shoigu. He was shown a series of planes, including fighter jets and an attack aircraft. A hypersonic missile system and a long-haul passenger plane were also seen on display.
State media also reports he went to see a warship with the commander of the Russian Navy. As far as the bigger picture using an armored train for travel, these most recent stops are part of a larger visit by Kim to Russia, which included time with Vladimir Putin.
These are two nations that have really isolated themselves from the rest of the world during the war in Ukraine, yet, could stand to gain having each other support.
Analysts point out that Russia needs munition. North Korea may want military technology or simply food.
This gathering certainly draws concern. As we've reported, United Nations resolutions ban unregulated arms trade and military cooperation.
The Kremlin says it's fully complied with the restrictions, both nations are already heavily sanctioned.
And looking back at the calendar it was in late July, we saw delegations from Russia and from China where I am now, meet together in North Korea. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right. Marc Stewart, thank you so much. And we'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: All right, the clock is ticking on a fast-approaching deadline to avoid a U.S. government shutdown. This week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy decided against moving forward with the military spending bill after Republican hardliners revolted.
Some conservatives have threatened to oust McCarthy from his speakership if he doesn't bend to their spending requests.
Lawmakers have two weeks to reach a deal to avert a government shutdown that could have a devastating impact on the nation's economy.
With me now to talk more about all of this and more is Andrew Desiderio. He is a senior congressional reporter for "Punchbowl News." And Juliegrace Brufke is a Capitol Hill reporter for "Axios."
Good to see both of you.
All right, Andrew, you first.
I mean, do you see a scenario where Speaker McCarthy can get the hardliners in his party to agree to a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown?
ANDREW DESIDERIO, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "PUNCHBOWL NEWS": It's getting increasingly difficult. And one of the biggest issues holding things up right now is going to be aid for Ukraine, which is separate from something they considered this past week on the floor, which is the annual defense spending bill.
This would be something that's part of the Biden administration's supplemental funding request. They asked for money for natural disasters in Hawaii and Florida and Vermont and other states, as well as $24 billion of military, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
McCarthy, what he's trying to do basically here, is use that as leverage to secure concessions for changes to policies at the U.S./Mexico border in addition to try to get more money for border security.
The administration asks for $4 billion for border security as part of its supplemental funding request, but Republicans obviously don't think that is enough.
Ukraine could be the issue that causes a government shutdown, because the Senate really wants to include Ukraine aid in any stopgap government funding bill. They fully support President Biden's supplemental funding request, both Schumer and McConnell do.
So it will be a tough choice for McCarthy as to whether he's going to include that in the stop-gap spending bill.
And it comes at the same time that President Zelenskyy from Ukraine is going to be visiting the capital on Thursday of this coming week.
And with all that, Juliegrace, facing threats to his speakership, McCarthy is actually calling the bluff of his conservative critics. This week, he actually dared his detractors to move a motion to the House floor to oust him.
Do you think this threat will force those hardliners to the negotiating table, or is McCarthy at such great risk now of possibly losing his speakership over this fight that he would really rather focus on that as opposed to the policies at hand?
JULIEGRACE BRUFKE, CAPITOL HILL REPORTER, "AXIOS": There was no shortage of tensions this week between Matt Gaetz and Kevin McCarthy. The threats Matt Gaetz and a handful of other conservatives are definitely a real thing for him.
And I think the more members I talk to, the more Republicans are saying they think a government shutdown is imminent at this point.
There's no way they're going to wrap all of their spending bills. They've been disappointed with the way things are handled given the deadline coming up.
Kevin McCarthy likes to say don't underestimate him, but conservative demands right now on border security and major spending cuts aren't likely to pass the Senate. There's a lot of hurdles for him to overcome.
WHITFIELD: Wow, yes. And that deadline is fast approaching.
All right, Andrew, I want to shift gears, if we could, to Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, one of those Republican hardliners, who is now center stage for her alleged behavior away from the capitol.
The Colorado representative is now apologizing after video showed her vaping inside a Denver theater during a performance of "Beetlejuice, the Musical" after she previously denied doing so.
So Boebert was escorted from the theater. There's video of that as well. After patrons complained about vaping, taking pictures, causing a real disturbance.
The Congresswoman is now apologizing for the incident, saying she fell short of her values.
Telling our affiliate, KUSA, in a statement Friday, and I'm quoting now:
"Whether it was the excitement of seeing a much-anticipated production or the natural anxiety of being in a new environment, I genuinely did not recall vaping that evening when I discussed the night's events with my campaign team while confirming my enthusiasm for the musical."
She goes on to say, "Regardless of my belief, it's clear now that was not accurate. It was not my or my campaign's intention to mislead, but we do understand the nature of how this looks."
So, Andrew, with that setup, how might this incident potentially impact her political objectives?
DESIDERIO: Well, it's certainly difficult. I think her releasing this very conciliatory statement profusely apologizing is a tactical shift for her.
She is in the mold of Donald Trump. She doesn't usually apologize for things that she's called out for. In any normal scenario, she would probably be slamming the media for covering it in the first place.
But she released this lengthy statement that reads like something you would see from a crisis public relations firm putting out on her behalf.
I think it speaks to the political situation she's in back home in Colorado. Obviously, this last election, she only won her race by around 500 votes. That was shocking because this is a ruby red district in Colorado.
And the Democratic candidate was seen as someone who doesn't really have a chance to unseat her.
Now Republicans are going to be paying attention to that district. And the Democratic candidate is running again. His name is Adam Frisch. He's going to have a lot of ammunition to use against her.
I think it's fascinating that you see one of these more MAGA Republican voices in the party starting to change her tune a little bit when she's facing a difficult reelection potentially.
WHITFIELD: And, Juliegrace, as more details emerge about the incident and Boebert's alleged behavior coming to light, do you think she will face any reprimand from House leadership? (CROSSTALK)
WHITFIELD: Or will this be up to the voters?
BRUFKE: I think it will be up to the voters. I mean, while an embarrassing video with the fondling and the vaping and getting escorted out, I think Kevin McCarthy has bigger issues with the looming government shutdown and pressure from the Freedom Caucus right now.
So I think her political opponents will probably use it as a tool to go after her, but I don't see something like a censure or other formal disciplinary action being something that leaders will be focused on right now.
WHITFIELD: OK. Yes, there's a lot on the plate in the next couple of weeks.
All right, Andrew Desiderio, Juliegrace Brufke, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
DESIDERIO: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Still to come, LGBTQ advocacy group, GLAAD, calling on studios to reach a fair deal with writers and actors. And warns the strike is hurting representation and puts at risk the progress made in the last few years. I'll discuss with GLAAD's president and CEO after a quick break.
WHITFIELD: A new report from GLAAD, one of the nation's top civil rights groups for the LGBTQ community, says the ongoing strikes in Hollywood risk doing serious damage to the industry's progress with LGBTQ representation. They also argue that that has consequences well beyond the silver screen.
GLAAD's president and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, joining us now.
Sarah Kate, great to see you.
What makes LGBTQ representation in film and television important in your view that is now being jeopardized by this strike potentially?
SARAH KATE ELLIS, PRESIDENT & CEO, GLAAD: So just to give context to that, most people know someone who's trans through media, right?
And 30 percent of Americans say they do know transgender Americans, or 30 percent of Americans say they do know somebody who's transgender, meaning 70 percent don't.
That means that 30 percent of Americans, more Americans report having seen a ghost. We rely on Hollywood to tell our stories as the LGBTQ community to humanize us. And if you look at the context we're living in right now, we've seen
over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills this year. We're seeing bans on books, bans on drag shows. So when Hollywood tells our story, that humanizes who we are.
And I think, this year, with our studio responsibility index, which we just released the other day, we're seeing great growth in our storytelling.
However, what's happening right now with the studio executives not coming to the table, not negotiating, not offering fair solutions here is that, as this continues to move on and on and on, the stories that will be cut first are LGBTQ stories around marginalized folks' stories.
That's our big concern here right now.
WHITFIELD: You mentioned there has been significant growth in the storytelling, you know, in recent years. How impressive has that been, in your view? How do you measure what has been the progress?
ELLIS: So I will say -- I do want to couch this in the sense that, this year, we did change our methodologies. So there were more films for us to view, because it's not only theatrical releases now, it's also streaming releases, with the theatrical releases.
So there's more for us to see. There were 350 films this year that we analyzed, and 30 percent included LGBTQ folks. That's the great news.
Here's the bad news. Half of those, where we did see LGBTQ people, we were on the screen for five minutes or less.
So while we're seeing an increase there, we are not seeing full stories being told. Right?
And there's a lot of progress that we have to make here, but we're seeing steps forward and we don't want to see that fall back.
WHITFIELD: In these strikes, talks are set to resume next week. Are you optimistic that there is an end in sight?
ELLIS: I am optimistic. I believe that we need these folks back to work. We need storytellers back to work, creators back to work.
I think it's really starting to hurt the executives and the studios a bit.
And it's really hurting marginalized people, who not only are in front of the camera but behind the camera, who are writers, who are creators.
They are already suffering in the sense that, when you're from a marginalized community, you tend to not get the first shot at a job.
So they built these careers that they're seeing potentially rolled back as well. WHITFIELD: If it is your feeling that this will come to an end
relatively soon, do you believe it will be the production houses that will make the biggest concessions, or do you believe it's going to be the members of the Writers Guild who will have to make the greatest concessions?
ELLIS: You know, I'm optimistic that in this, you know, upcoming negotiation or talk that they'll be able to find a middle ground so that everybody wins. I mean, that's where you really want to see this move toward.
And when I think about winning, I think about being able to tell more stories, to open the world to storytelling that is so important for our community, but for marginalized people across America.
And also, just so you know, our biggest cultural export in America is our movies.
And so while we see this strike continue and executives not being willing to negotiate, what we're seeing is that culturally -- like globally, this has ramifications, too. This is not just in the United States for storytelling.
WHITFIELD: All right. Sarah Kate Ellis, so glad you're able to be with us, president and CEO of GLAAD. Thank you.
ELLIS: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Tomorrow, our special "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE" series. Stories that spotlight everyday people who don't make headlines but smash barriers and inspire others to do the same.
Here's a quick preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go. Here we go. Come on. Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was about how many people came to help.
ANNOUNCER: Join us for "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel a source of inspiration and pride just coming together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you guys to forget the word can't.
ANNOUNCER: As CNN journalists spotlight the change makers who inspire them.
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WHITFIELD: All right, we've got breaking news out of Texas. Right now, the Republican-led Senate has just finished voting on articles of impeachment for suspended Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Ed Lavandera is joining us now from Austin.
What's the outcome?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a resounding victory for the suspended attorney general, who will now presumably be placed back into office. Ken Paxton has survived 16 votes on articles of impeachment. Really resoundingly.
There were only two Republicans who, at any point, voted to impeach their fellow Republican attorney general. So rather overwhelming support for Ken Paxton in this impeachment trial.
He was tried during this trial on 16 of the 20 articles of impeachment that House -- that the House of Representatives brought here in Texas. And just now, the Senate also voting to dismiss those final four articles of impeachment.
So essentially, a clear victory here for Ken Paxton this afternoon as Senators are still inside the chamber. They are going through the final readout of the vote on that motion to suspend or to dismiss the last final four articles of impeachment.
But this is a vote that will have massive ramifications across the political spectrum here in Texas.
There was an intense amount of pressure on Republicans in the Senate to acquit Ken Paxton, despite him having served in this office of attorney general under a constant cloud of controversy since he was first elected to this office years ago. He's been elected three times despite being under federal
investigation. He's also facing financial security charges in state court. So this is a state official who has been under a constant cloud of controversy.
But despite that, he has benefited from having a close relationship with Donald Trump. He has benefited from all of that as he has garnered a great deal of support among extreme right-wing Republicans here in this state.
And that appears to have been enough to convince many of these Senators to vote for Ken Paxton here this afternoon.
So the bottom line, this just now developing, this vote has gone on for almost two hours on 16 hours of impeachment. Ken Paxton survives, and he will be resuming his duties as the attorney general here in Texas -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: And then, Ed, remind us how this all got started. I mean, he was accused of bribery and abusing public trust, among other things. What were all of the allegations?
LAVANDERA: This particular -- most of these articles of impeachment have to do with his relationship with a friend and campaign donor by the name of Nate Paul. He's a real estate developer who was try -- who was caught up in a number of legal battles himself.
Essentially, what the articles of impeachment have accused him of is abusing the power and his ability as attorney general to craft legal opinions and other sorts of things to be able to help this campaign donor.