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CNN This Morning

Rock Talks Selective Outrage; Iranian Parents Protest over Poisoning; Rise in Prescription Drug Shortages; Harry and Meghan Invited to Coronation. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 06, 2023 - 06:30   ET



CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN AND ACTOR: I watch "Emancipation" just to see them get whooped.

STEPHANIE ELAM (voice over): Referring to Smith's role as an enslaved man in the period drama "Emancipation."

Smith, who has apologized publicly, has said he worries the slap could impact "Emancipation's" success.

WILL SMITH, ACTOR: My behavior was unacceptable.

ELAM: Rock, not holding back, ending the special with this final blow.

ROCK: How come you didn't do nothing back? I got parents. And you know what my parents taught me? Don't fight in front of white people!

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: For more now, let's bring in CNN contributor Nischelle Turner. She's also the host of "Entertainment Tonight."

Good morning. Very early morning in Los Angeles. We're so happy that you're here.

Nischelle, this was the event of the weekend. Interesting that -- how Netflix billed this and how it unfolded and what have you. We'll get to that.

But let's talk about -- I want to know the response from Hollywood this morning because this seemed not only personal to Will Smith but also to what's happening in our culture as he talks about selective outrage.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I mean, you know, Chris Rock is known for that kind of acerbic, glib, thought-provoking comedy and he definitely went there with this one.

I think that there have been somewhat mixed reviews. I mean not just in Hollywood. I think a lot of Hollywood respects his art, respects what he does on stage and appreciated that for what it is.

But I have seen a lot of mixed reviews from people. Some people thought it was extremely funny. There are people who just didn't like it at will. There are a lot of people who said I'm just not going to watch it. And there are some people who were saying, well why are - why is he revisiting this? Why can't we just move on? And, you know, then the response is, well, he really hasn't said anything about it publicly until now, and this is the time he picked to do that.

So, there has been a lot of conversation back and forth since the live special on Saturday night.

LEMON: Can I just read a quote from "The New York Times" to you? It says - "The New York Times" says this felt like comedy as revenge. What do you think of that?

TURNER: Listen, around the way they would call it getting your lick back, Don. And I think that's - that's exactly what he did. He said I'm not going to fight him with my hands. I'm going to fight him on the stage. I'm going to fight him with my words. I'm going to fight him with my comedy. And everyone knows that Chris Rock is one of the best at biting comedy.

And - so, yes, I think he probably did use that a little bit as his revenge stage.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And he didn't shy away from bringing up what was initially - the slap was about anyway, talking about Jada Pinkett Smith, talking about their marriage.

What did you make of the idea that - it wasn't that he doubled down on it, but that he intentionally made that a point of this special as well?

TURNER: You know, it's interesting, Kaitlan, because I do think that if you were having conversations in private circles when all of that happened, I think you probably did hear that narrative. That, you know, the slap wasn't about Chris, the slap was about everything else that Will was going through and that was just a vessel. That's not the first time I've heard it. You know, Chris just decided to speak on it publicly.

But I think that those were private conversation that people were having because I don't think anyone really thought that joke in that moment was what sent Will over the edge hike that. And I think, you know, he's even kind of spoken to that, that Chris didn't deserve that ire and that it was about a lot of other things.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: He -- he also, in this special, talked about where you won't see him doing certain interviews or crying.

Let's listen to that moment.


ROCK: But I'm not a victim, baby. You will never see me on "Oprah" or "Gayle" crying. You will never see it. Never going to happen.


HARLOW: I guess that's addressing sort of why he chose this forum to finally speak out on it. But did you -- what did you make of that?

TURNER: Well, OK, Poppy, did anybody think that when that moment happened, and that it happened to Chris Rock, that you weren't going see him address this on the stage in some way, shape or form?

HARLOW: Right.

TURNER: And if you know his comedy, you knew that he was going to go for it.

I will say this though. When he was on stage and I was listening to it and he was going through it, he did still seem extremely angry.


TURNER: And it almost seemed -- you know, also that he was putting a lot of the blame on Jada. He was mad. He's still mad. And he's probably going to stay mad for the longest time.

I can't put myself in those shoes. I mean I don't know how I would feel if I was slapped publicly on the Oscar's stage by another actor, one that I considered, you know, he says how much he loved Will Smith and considered him a friend. I don't know how I would feel. And I don't know if a year later that I would be completely removed from it. I think we saw a little therapy being worked out for himself on that stage Saturday night.


LEMON: So, so, so smart, that analysis.

And I'm not surprised what he said about, you're not going to see me, you know, going on, pretending to be a victim, because, he says, you know, I'm not a victim.


LEMON: You can't say you're not a victim and then criticize Meghan Markle for doing something similar. So, I wasn't surprised that he said that. We didn't even get to the Meghan Markle part and the Prince Harry part, but -

TURNER: Oh, gosh, there's so much.

LEMON: Yes, I know.

TURNER: So much in that. It wasn't just the Will Smith, you know, it wasn't just Will and Jada.


TURNER: He went -- his - his - his outrage hit a lot of - a lot of different topics on Saturday night.

LEMON: A lot of points.


TURNER: That he did.

LEMON: Thank you, Nischelle.

TURNER: Thank you, guys.

LEMON: It's always a pleasure. Hope to see you more. Thank you.

TURNER: Yes, indeed. See you.

COLLINS: All right, also this morning, a major loss for the music industry.




COLLINS: Those first cords synonymous with American rock 'n' roll anthem "Sweet Home Alabama," one of my favorite songs. The guitar, Gary Rossington, who was Lynyrd Skynyrd's last surviving founding member of the band has passed away. No cause of death was given so far. Rossington has battled a number of heart problems and health issues in recent years, including undergoing emergency heart surgery two years ago. "Sweet Home Alabama" was such an anthem, and Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 2006. He will be very missed.

LEMON: And new this morning, a CNN investigation exposed secret torture centers in Iran. Now the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is demanding action.

HARLOW: Meanwhile, a wave of suspected poison attacks on schoolgirls across Iran sparked protests over the weekend. What the Iranian government is now saying.



HARLOW: Worried and angry parents are turning out in droves in Tehran and other cities across Iran challenging that regime, demanding answers after a wave of suspected poison attacks on hundreds of schoolgirls across the country. Some parents are calling these targeted and deliberate attempts to keep their girls from getting an education.

Let's go to our Nima Elbagir, who's been covering this for us. She joins us from London.

Nima, good morning.

This is really a significant development over the weekend because these are parents enraged, demanding answers from the regime.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Poppy. And at huge personal risk. We've uncovered evidence that highlights the extent of the risks parents are taking.

Take a look at this.


ELBAGIR (voice over): Furious parents outside an education office in Ghan (ph), challenging Iranian authorities, desperate for answers. After what is believed to be the worst day of incidents of suspected poisonings at girls' schools. These videos were filmed on Saturday, which marks the start of the school week in Iran.

For months now, Iranian schoolgirls and their families have been speaking out about incidents of suspected poisoning. The numbers of incidents reported to CNN in the dozens. Then, over the weekend, dozens more.

CNN was able to verify these new incidents using video and witness testimony across ten provinces. The U.S. and others are calling for Iran's authorities to investigate these incidents.

But speaking to CNN, medical sources say they have been barred by hospital administrators from sharing details of symptoms and test results, even with the patient's parents. We dubbed this doctor's voice for his safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm inside Iran. My phone is being monitored. I can't share any more with you.

ELBAGIR: Iran's interior minister, after months of vague statements, now says suspicious samples have been found and are being assessed at laboratories. Parents, though, say they don't trust authorities to investigate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): To hell with this country and its rulers. We would be better off without a leader. This is our country. They don't know what they're doing. They don't even have medicine.

ELBAGIR: All the incidents begin in a similar manner, as described to us by students. A noxious smell and then -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I felt dizzy and fainted. I had dimness of vision and heart palpitations. All of us had identical symptoms, palpitations, my hands and legs were numb and frozen. I was shaking. We had tears coming out of our eyes.

ELBAGIR: With no one so far held to account and parents no closer to answers, many continue to risk their lives to challenge Iran's authorities. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ELBAGIR: The U.S. State Department last week called for Iranian authorities to investigate these incidents. But as you see there, people inside Iran do not trust authorities, not only to investigate this, but with the lives of their children, Poppy.

HARLOW: And, Nima, before you go, now here in the United States the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Menendez, is calling on the United Nations to investigate what CNN's investigation has uncovered, are these secret torture centers across the country. Is that right?

ELBAGIR: Absolutely. And it's - we've already been hearing from some of our source this morning and they really feel it's a huge vindication for the huge risks that they took in speaking to us.

But just to kind of pull out a little bit, it also, to contextualize this for you, speaks to the ways that the U.S. is now pushing much harder on an international stage because the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is the U.S. government's foreign policy lead. And this is a big push on their part to specifically say Iranian authorities need to be investigated internationally. It speaks to the U.S. trying to take a harder line on what the Iran regime is doing to its own people, Poppy.

HARLOW: The real questions is going to be, how much access can the U.N. get and what sort of teeth do they have?

ELBAGIR: Of course.


HARLOW: Nima, great reporting, as always. Thank you.

ELBAGIR: Thank you.

LEMON: Alarming shortages of everything from antibiotics and cancer drugs to Adderall. CNN's medical team has been digging for answers into the shortages. What they found straight ahead.

COLLINS: Also, King Charles inviting Harry and Meghan to his coronation, but will they go? Harry's new comments about feeling, quote, different from the rest of his royal family.


LEMON: New this Monday morning, the albuterol shortage across the U.S. is about to get worse. Albuterol is the most common medicine used to treat those with breathing problems, like asthma.


But a major supplier of the medicine closed its doors last week and it is now putting a strain on the supply chain.

Joining us now, CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

Good morning, Elizabeth.

People who use albuterol for asthma and other breathing problems, they are concerned and they have every right to be.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, absolutely. This is really a problem. It is especially a problem if you have asthma or some other breathing problem and you end up in the hospital. That's where we're hearing about these shortages of albuterol. It's the kind of albuterol that's used in nebulizers. Those are the devices that have a mask and you plug them in or they have batteries. So, not inhalers, but nebulizers.

We haven't heard about it being a concern about nebulizers used at home so much, but the concern is, is that that may happen because hospitals are in such shortage and so it could, you know, trickle down to home nebulizers as well.

Now, this is not the only drug that's in shortage, unfortunately. This number is so, unfortunately, eye-popping. In 2022, last year, 160 drugs were reported as being in shortage. Now, the FDA says they're working with manufacturers to alleviate these shortages, but this is a huge problem. And it's not just albuterol. It's Adderall. It's antibiotics. It's cancer drugs. There were more drugs in shortage last year, ongoing shortages, than any year since 2014.


LEMON: Elizabeth Cohen with our medical news this morning. Thank you, Elizabeth.

COLLINS: Also this morning, hundreds of protesters have swarmed the construction site of a training and firefighter training facility in Atlanta. We're going to give you a live report of what you're seeing here on this video ahead.

HARLOW: Also, an unexpected surprise for our very own Kasie Hunt, delivering her second baby after just 13 minutes of labor. Where? You see it, on the floor of her bathroom at home. She will join us in the 8:00 hour with her incredible story and hopefully a sneak peek of her adorable little one.



COLLINS: This morning, we now have confirmation that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been invited to King Charles' coronation. That's scheduled to happen on May 6th. But it remains to be seen if they are actually going to attend. This is amid a new interview with Prince Harry in which he says that he always felt, quote, different than the rest of his family.

CNN's Max Foster is live in London with more.

Max, I think it's notable that we are hearing that, yes, they were invited, but they're not ready to say whether or not they're going.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a lot that came out this weekend. This interview wasn't a news interview, it was an interview with a trauma experts about grief. And in it, Harry doesn't talk a lot about the family ruptions (ph), which is, of course, what he wrote about in that book, apart from to say that he felt incredibly free having written the book. He also said he always felt slightly different from the rest of his family.

Here's a quote from the interview. I felt strange being in this container and I know that my mum felt the same so it makes sense to me. It didn't make sense at the time. I felt as though my body was in there but my head was out and sometimes it was vice versa. So, another context here really, Kaitlan, for how he feels now as opposed to how he did feel.

COLLINS: Yes. And so the question is, is he going to go? What is your prediction, I guess?

FOSTER: Well, I have just heard from the palace that they have - they haven't sent out the invitations to the coronation but they have sent out the save the date letters and emails. One has clearly landed in Prince Harry's inbox because his office told me last night though they have had email correspondence from his majesty's office regarding the coronation, an immediate decision on whether the duke or duchess will attend will not be disclosed at this time.

Of course, tensions very high at the moment. They haven't had the formal invitation either. They have been asked to vacate their official residence here in the U.K. by the king off the back of that book. They will be able to stay there for the coronation, I'm told, but not much further beyond that.

But I have to say, Kaitlan, you know, this is a family occasion. There is tension there. But it's also a state occasion. You've got to remember that Harry is still fifth in line to the throne, so he would be expected to have a seat there just because of his place he still has in the British state.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, we'll wait to see if he actually decides to go, what that looks like.

Max Foster, thank you so much.

And CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not appropriate. This is criminal activity. And the charges that will be brought forth will show that. When you throw commercial grade fireworks, when you throw Molotov cocktails, large rocks, a numbers of items at officers, your only intent is to harm.


LEMON: Yes, he said it's criminal activity. It's also still unfolding right now.

Good morning, everyone.

Fireworks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, hundreds of protesters swarming the construction site of a police and firefighter training facility in Atlanta. What is behind the violent attack?

COLLINS: Also, a bird strike forcing a Southwest flight to make an emergency landing as the cabin filled with smoke, as you can see here.

HARLOW: Also, former President Trump now trying to block his former vice president, Mike Pence, from testifying to a grand jury. Will his latest legal tactic work?

LEMON: But we begin in Atlanta. Hundreds of protesters storming the construction site of a police and firefighter training center. Many of them were dressed in camo and masks. Some carried shields. Police say they hurled bricks, rocks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails.


They also torched police and construction vehicles, along with a trailer.