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Biden 2024 Announcement Video Is Expected To Be Released Tomorrow; Western Diplomats Slam Russian Official At U.N. Meeting; Jury Is Selected In Ed Sheeran Music Copyright Case; Disney Begins Largest Wave Of Layoffs; CNN Presents "On the Lookout." Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired April 24, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in to this hour where we bring you "Tomorrow's News Tonight." We have a great line of reporters here to share their scoops with us. So here tonight, Priscilla Alvarez, Rahel Solomon, Matthew Chance, and Brynn Gingras. Guys, great to have you here. Really fun. Looking forward to this conversation.
Okay, so the race for the White House is heating up. There is a big announcement expected tomorrow. Priscilla is following all this closely. What is going to happen tomorrow?
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That is the question on everyone's mind. Look, we cannot overlook how sentimental tomorrow is to President Biden. He announced on April 25th of 2019 that he was going to run for president. And we are expecting that a similar announcement is going to be made tomorrow.
But this time, it will be his reelection bid. And he -- but he said that he is going to do so in a video. Again, very similar to how he did this before. And so, everyone is on pins and needles, really waiting for this announcement to come. Is it a surprise? Not really. He has been saying that he plans and intends to run.
What we're missing is the announcement. So, advisors have been working on this around the clock. They were doing so over the weekend while the president was in Camp David. And so, now, we're nearing the state when this is supposed to come down.
The key now, the difference now, of course, is that when he announces this, it's not just looking at his predecessor, it's also looking at his own agenda. And so, we're anticipating how he starts -- starts to discern himself not only from his predecessor but what he has already done and how he plans to move forward.
CAMEROTA: Have they given you any clues on what he's going to say?
ALVAREZ: I travel quite a bit with President Biden, and I can give you a sense, a little bit of color just based off those events, what he says is he's investing in America. He wants to finish the job.
Some of these themes may sound very similar to the state of the union. In every event, that is what crops up. So, we can anticipate that some of those similar themes are probably going to come up in an announcement on video.
CAMEROTA: And do we know how Americans are feeling about this?
ALVAREZ: Age. That comes up a lot. It also comes up among his advisers. And what we have seen from the polling is that there's tepid support. There's concern among those who opposed Biden. According to an NBC News poll, nearly 50% where age is a major reason why they are concerned about another bid. Remember, he is the oldest American president in U.S. history.
And so, when you look at all of that together, it obviously raises some concerns for people in terms of how old he would be at the end of a second term, and that's what the NBC News poll really showed us.
Advisers know this. His allies know this. But at the end of the day, they still see him as a steady hand. That's what Senator Amy Klobuchar said to our Dana Bash at state of the union, saying, you know, they don't -- voters don't want the -- what she said, chaos of the Trump administration. What they want is that steady hand.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: How about how voters feel about the economy? One thing that has just been fascinating for me to watch just during these last few years is that even when consumers were still spending, even when unemployment is and was still really low, Americans felt terrible about the state of the economy. They felt terrible about President Biden's handling of the economy.
And so, it has just been really fascinating to watch how damaging inflation can be in terms of perception on the larger economy --
CAMEROTA: At least not coming down. Is that your sense? That -- not just inflation, the perception. Is that improving at all?
SOLOMON: Well, I think that's -- that's the question because inflation has certainly come down. Unemployment is still really low, but we're seeing layoffs start to mount. Interest rates have been high for quite some time and they're likely going to go up again.
And so, I guess my question is, in terms of the economy, are his poll numbers improving? Because he hasn't really gotten a lot of credit. I think some within his party would argue he hasn't gotten credit for some of the good things that have happened in the economy.
ALVAREZ: Well, and to your point, remember gas prices. That was a big moment for this administration as they were going up because people felt it in their pocket.
[23:04:56] ALVAREZ: Now, as that has come down, we hear from the White House officials, look at gas prices, they have come down, we are working on prices across the board. And when you visit -- sorry, not visit, when you attend a Biden event, he always talks about we are going to lower these costs. He understands what it is like for Americans to have to pay extra.
So, they know that's a concern for voters. They are speaking to it. Now, of course, it is what people feel in their pocket. So, should there be a change in the economy? Should those gas prices go up? Again, that's where the concern lies.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Going back to the age. You said you traveled with him. Of course, we know that. But what is the sentiment around the press corps, you, others, about age? Do you all feel like he is energized enough to carry out a campaign into this election?
ALVAREZ: When you see him doing what he loves to do, which is talking to people, shaking hands, I mean, I have been at events that go over because he is simply saying "hi" to everyone at the end of his remarks. When you see him doing that, he is energized, it is what he does best. It's something that we've seen on the campaign time and time again.
You know, when it comes to his remarks, I mean, that's where people are listening to. What his agenda is moving forward? What his political priorities are? And so, when advisors are looking at him and looking at who he may run up against, AKA, probably the former president, Donald Trump, um, of course, that's going to be a concern for everyone. Can he convey his message in the strongest possible way?
Again, it always comes down to an awareness of age and awareness of the way voters feel about age among his inner circle, but that he can still show that not only again as, using Klobuchar's words, he has a steady hand, but that he also has the experience to continue to progress.
CAMEROTA: Matthew, you're based normally in Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
CAMEROTA: And does this get play in Russia? Are people following the U.S. presidential race?
CHANCE: They are. Of course, they follow it very closely. I'm not sure about the extent they're following it right -- right now.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. Still early.
CHANCE: There are lots of other stuff happening there.
CHANCE: I mean, the Russians, on Russian state television, which is carefully controlled by the Kremlin, it loves the idea of bashing the American political system. I mean, they -- they often talk about with relish the age of President Biden and sort of lampoon it really and ridiculing quite -- sometimes, quite frankly, in quite cruel way because it plays to this idea that America is inferior to Russia and that despite all what everyone says in the west, that Russia in the end has a superior political system and importantly a superior leader in impressive physique.
There's going to be a lot of excitement, I think, in the Kremlin. We are at the prospect of another Biden-Trump presidential race, particularly at the prospect of Trump becoming victorious in that because, you know, Trump, he reflects so much Kremlin talking points, whether it's about multinational organizations like NATO or anything like that or about solving the war in Ukraine, and that's music to the years of the Kremlin. They love that.
CAMEROTA: The Kremlin is excited because I don't know if America is excited, if most Americans feel excited to watch a repeat of this match again. I mean, it's hard for some people --
UNKNOWN: And reporters.
CAMEROTA: -- to even conceptualize that we are going back into this.
SOLOMON: Everybody in the news business.
ALVAREZ: And there was also, of course, concerns -- not concerns, I should say, but questions about when does he want to announce? We know that he plans to do it, and he kind of could run out the clock, right? And there's not another Democratic opponent necessarily that we know of that is going to come up.
So, the question then was donors, fundraising. And this week, we expect to see donors and fundraisers going to -- coming to Washington to visit with Biden.
So, part of this, too, is ramping up the fundraising because they know the race that is to come. They know it's going to be a grueling few months.
So, could he have waited longer? Yes. Could he still wait longer? Also, yes. But it also comes down to the funds and knowing what's ahead and getting the money behind it.
CAMEROTA: All right, Priscilla, thank you very much for that preview of what is likely going to happen tomorrow.
Next, a U.N. meeting on international peace hosted by Russia's foreign minister in the midst of Russia's war on Ukraine. Western diplomats slammed him to his face. So Matthew Chance has been covering all of this, and he's got that story for us, next.
[23:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CAMEROTA: Western diplomats slammed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today for hypocrisy after he hosted a U.N. meeting titled "Maintenance of International Peace and Security," of course, in the midst of the Ukraine war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROV, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION (through translator): During the Cold war, we have reached the dangerous, possibly even more dangerous threshold. The situation is worsened with the loss of trust and multilateralism. Let's call a spade a spade. Nobody allowed the western minority to speak on behalf of all of humankind.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Our hypocritical convener today, Russia, invaded its neighbor, Ukraine, and struck at the heart of the U.N. charter. As we sit here, we brace ourselves for the next Bucha, the next Mariupol, the next Kherson, the next war crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, Russia currently holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council. And Matthew Chance is our correspondent based in Moscow, but we're lucky to have him here tonight in New York with us.
Matt, it is great to have you here. So, Lavrov hosting the international peace panel. That does strike Americans as absurd. How did the rest of the world respond?
CHANCE: Yeah. Hypocritical and ironic, I think, is what the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. said. And it's easy, isn't it, to sit here and go -- look, Lavrov gave a speech about, you know, American grievances against the United States.
You know, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He raised, you know, the various supports for revolutions around the world and not even really mentioning Russia's war that is waging against Ukraine.
And so, you know, you can see, it is logical to sit here and say, look, this is hypocritical, it is ironic that Russia could be doing this. But the truth is that a lot of countries around the world, as I was mentioning to you earlier, a lot of countries around the world actually sympathize with that view.
And Lavrov's audience, when he's addressing the Security Council there, it is not the people of the United States, it's the people of, you know, much of the rest of the world as he tries to gather support, garner support for Russia's position.
There were a lot of countries like India, like South Africa, like China, crucially, and, you know, African continent as well, there are lots of countries in South America as well, that are genuinely, you know, sympathetic to that view, that Russia is actually just trying to stand up to the big American -- American superpower. And Lavrov knows that very well. He is not -- he's a smart guy.
CAMEROTA: Hmm. So, Matthew, while we have you, just tell us what it's like. I think our viewers would like to hear, too. What is it like to report from Moscow? Just peel back the curtain for us a little bit on the challenges. I mean --
CHANCE: It's great. It's great.
CAMEROTA: But can you speak freely? Can you report freely? Are you constantly being -- I mean, what's it like to -- We know you're being monitored.
CHANCE: It's a really hard question because you used to be able to until about a year ago. You can say whatever you like. Basically, we were -- we were given quite a lot of, you know. But we weren't really stopped from doing anything we wanted to do by the Russians.
But what has happened in the past 12 months is the situation has changed dramatically. Russia has enacted a series of laws that essentially criminalize ordinary reporting. Saying things like calling me the war of war is punishable with a very long prison sentence. Um, very general laws like if you criticize the military or criticize a senior figure in Russia, you can go to prison for 12 years.
And, of course, as we've seen in the past several weeks, a U.S. reporter for "The Wall Street Journal," Evan Gershkovich, has -- has been arrested and charged with espionage when, according to everybody that we've spoken to and his newspaper and him, he's innocent of that. He was simply trying to dig up stories about Russia in a way that many of us have done in the past.
And so, it is very, very hard, if not impossible, right now to really get under the skin of Russia as a reporter.
ALVAREZ: And how is that viewed in Russia? Because the U.S. is out front saying now that this "Wall Street Journal" reporter is wrongfully detained. There have been situations, Trevor Reed, Brittney Griner, where the administration had to step in and secure their release, sometimes through prisoner swaps. It has been criticized domestically.
But to what you were speaking to earlier, how is that viewed within Russia?
CHANCE: I mean, look -- I mean, it's difficult to sort of talk about Russia as a monolithic block. Remember, all of the independent journalists in Russia that I know and even the ones I don't know, they've been silenced. They've either been put in jail or they've left the country or they've left the profession because it's -- it's just too dangerous and risky to do it.
So, there's a lot of Russians, millions of Russians, that are horrified about what's happening inside their country. And I'm fascinated about what's going to happen with Evan Gershkovich next. I mean, he is obviously a major bargaining chip for the Kremlin just like Paul Whelan. He is as well another U.S. citizen who's in -- who's in --
CAMEROTA: And, in fact, his sister was at the U.N. today --
CHANCE: He was --
CAMEROTA: -- because they obviously want progress made. You want to just tell us what -- first what she said there?
CHANCE: Well, I mean, look -- I mean, she was there to basically speak in front of Sergey Lavrov, to basically make an appeal for Paul Whelan, her brother, to be released from jail. He's in prison on spying charges. He was arrested back in 2018. But I think we've got to take a quick listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH WHELAN, SISTER OF PAUL WHELAN: Russia's less than sophisticated take on diplomacy is to arbitrarily detain American citizens in order to extract concessions from the United States. This is not the work of a mature and responsible nation. It is the action of a terrorist state. I am here to tell Russia, free Paul Whelan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Was Lavrov listening? I mean, was he present for that?
CHANCE: Uh, well, yes, I'm sure he has heard this, but it wouldn't be the first time he has heard an appeal like that. But it falls on deaf ears. The Russians are looking for, obviously, something major that they can get, they can extract from the United States before they're going to hand over somebody as valuable as an American citizen.
CAMEROTA: Like what?
CHANCE: Like Paul Whelan, like Evan Gershkovich. Like what? That is a big question. I mean, that is the concern that I have. In the past, there were sort of quite significant Russian nationals in jail here in the United States. Viktor Bout, the notorious arms trafficker was the main one. He has now already been swapped out. And so --
UNKNOWN: Brittney Griner.
CHANCE: -- there's not that lot many people that spring to mind in American jails that make an obvious exchange. There might be people around the world that perhaps still can be done with but --
SOLOMON: Matthew, can I ask, if we could segue just a bit, you know, one thing just in terms of the economic sanctions, the questions of, have they been effective? Have they not been?
I mean, we know that major American corporations have left Russia, but in terms of just -- I know reporting has become more difficult, as you've just said, but just in terms of day to day life, I mean, have you really felt the impact of sanctions? Do you feel like it really affected ordinary Russians or what do you think?
CHANCE: Well, I think -- I think it started to. But I think the truth is that at the moment, the sanctions haven't had the sort of dramatic effect that perhaps people thought they were going to have at first. But these are -- these are long running, you know, kind of sanctions that will -- will have an ongoing impact.
But already, I was in Russia just last week or the week before last, and prices have gone through the roof. I mean, there's no products -- I mean, there are products in the shops but no brands that you recognize. All the shops and the shopping malls have been boarded up or the names have changed to different things.
And so, it's -- the people in Moscow definitely are seeing visually dramatic change as result of the sanctions against -- and of course, that could get much worse. I mean, just a couple of days ago, the G7 suggested banning all imports, all exports to Russia. Everything, with -- with -- with some items like medicine perhaps getting an exception.
But if that happens, that -- that really will have a dramatic impact on the ability of Russians to live lives that they're used to living. People are used to buying products in supermarkets in Russia.
CHANCE: They are not able to do that.
CAMEROTA: Brynn, what are your thoughts?
GINGRAS: I mean, listen, he comes in my office and I just sit and listen. I just -- I'm just so amazed by you because your coverage of Ukraine has just been -- I mean, next to none. And so, I'm just so curious how you go back to Russia.
I mean, I know we kind of talked about how -- the difficulties you face, but just mentally, I just don't know how you do it. I think the last time we saw you, you said they -- you know, you were staying away for a little bit. And then I saw you up on the TV and I was like, what do you know?
CHANCE: Yes. Well, I mean, it is difficult.
GINGRAS: It is difficult.
CHANCE: Because I don't want to end up in -- none of us want to end up behind bars.
CHANCE: It is a genuine -- it is a genuine risk. GINGRAS: Yeah.
CHANCE: And so, when I first went back after covering the Ukraine war last year, ah, I was a little bit anxious when I went through customs. I thought they were going to look at my phone. I have to show them all the photos. They are, like, who is this? Why you got a photo with President Zelenskyy?
And my policy is to just be totally up front with them. And they've known me. I've lived there for a long time. Close to 20 years. I've been going in and out of Russia. Um, they know I'm a CNN correspondent. They know I covered Ukraine.
And so, my strategy with them is to -- is to be like, look, this is what I am. This is what I do. You can see what I do on television. If you don't want me in the country, then, you know, tell me away. But otherwise, you know, let me go through. Thanks. It has worked so far. But, I mean, you know.
CAMEROTA: I understand. I hear you. I mean, I think that everybody can understand how dicey it has become because of what you've just told us. That's nerve racking. I mean, I really appreciate you being so candid and telling us about it because I wasn't quite aware of how nerve wracking it is each time you go in and out there.
CHANCE: It's just that, you know, you can -- you can take measures in Russia to sort of not do anything too controversial if that's the way you want to play it. But the problem is if the Kremlin decides that they want a bargaining chip, you can get a knock on the door at any moment. And that's the problem. You can't and you can't mitigate against that risk. You can just have to sort of like hope that it doesn't happen.
CAMEROTA: Wow! No, it is not. Matthew, our hats off to you. We really appreciate it. And we're really glad you're here tonight with us.
CHANCE: It is great to be here.
CAMEROTA: Stay here. Okay, meanwhile, there's a big lawsuit over a very popular Ed Sheeran song.
CAMEROTA: Does that sound familiar to you? Did Matthew Chance just say, what is this song?
UNKNOWN: -- not so familiar.
CAMEROTA: Can you just say --
CHANCE: -- this song.
CAMEROTA: Okay. You said, what is this song?
(LAUGHTER) Okay, a writer of another very famous song. Thanks, it rings a bell. Brynn is going to walk us and Matthew through what's happening in this case. That's next.
CAMEROTA: Okay, a jury has been selected in the copyright infringement case against Ed Sheeran. He is accused of copying the 1973 Marvin Gaye hit "Let's Get It On." The heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote that song with Marvin Gaye, alleged similarities between "Let's Get It On" and Sheeran's Grammy Award-winning song "Thinking Out Loud." So, here are a few seconds of the Sheeran song first.
CAMEROTA: Okay. And here is the Marvin Gaye song.
CAMEROTA: Okay, Brynn has been covering this all day. So, Brynn, you really hear -- you hear a direct similarity there?
CAMEROTA: You don't? Because I don't either. Do you? I don't.
GINGRAS: I was going to ask everybody.
CAMEROTA: I don't. Do you? Do you?
ALVAREZ: Brynn and I were talking about this earlier today. We could nto hear the difference, and I --
CAMEROTA: You can't hear the difference or you hear -- you hear the similarity or you don't hear the similarity?
ALVAREZ: I hear the similarity.
ALVAREZ: I don't hear the difference, and I really sympathize for this jury --
GINGRAS: Exactly. ALVAREZ: -- who is going to listen to this song.
CAMEROTA: Okay. What do you thing, Rahel?
SOLOMON: I did not hear the similarity the first two or three times. But me being the docket reporter that I am, I've been listening to it for the last few hours, and I actually do start to hear the similarity.
CAMEROTA: Now, you do.
SOLOMON: The more I listen to it, the more I hear the similarities.
CAMEROTA: Okay, because there are so many songs that sample other songs and immediately you hear that, like the echo of the other song.
CAMEROTA: And I've heard the Ed Sheeran song a thousand times like we all have, and I've never thought, oh, that's a rip off of Marvin Gaye.
GINGRAS: Right. But here is the thing, too, guys. The jurors are not going to be hearing the words. This is just talking about --
GINGRAS: -- the rhythm and the notes.
CAMEROTA: Matt, what do you think?
GINGRAS: So, that's kind of a big deal when you think about it.
CAMEROTA: That is different.
CHANCE: It can't be the only two songs that sound like. "Let's Get It On," I mean, that's such a classic fundamental --
CHANCE: -- pop song.
CAMEROTA: It is.
CHANCE: I've heard -- I've heard lots of songs that sound a bit like that.
CAMEROTA: And that's their point, right?
GINGRAS: That's Ed Sheeran's point. This is the common, yeah, court progression. And these are the building blocks of a song. There's only so many you can actually choose from when you are building a song.
GINGRAS: So why being taken to court for this? But let's go first into the nitty gritty of what's happening tomorrow. Opening statements are going to happen in this infringement case and it's kind of funny because the juror selection -- not funny, but the jury selection was today. Seven jurors are now on the panel.
Some of them had to be dismissed because one woman's teenage daughter is a big Ed Sheeran fan and another woman had to be dismissed because it was her wedding song. It was Ed Sheeran song. So, it is just a little interesting.
SOLOMON: They need people who haven't really but know either, so maybe we need Matthew Chance on the jury!
GINGRAS: You need to report to the federal court house tomorrow morning.
CAMEROTA: But he was kidding. You do know these songs. You know the Marvin Gaye song, but you also know the Ed Sheeran song. Yes?
CHANCE: Music isn't my thing.
CHANCE: But, yes, I've heard them both. I've definitely heard them both.
CAMEROTA: Okay, let's do this. Let's play more of the first -- the longer cut of -- should we do the Ed Sheeran song? Ed Sheeran. Okay, so, here is a longer cut.
GINGRAS: But, again, remember, try to take out the words.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Music, music. Okay, here we go.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Now, I need you to actually take the words out for me.
GINGRAS: Yeah, I think so, too.
CAMEROTA: I get too consumed with the words. I'm too distracted.
GINGRAS: And the music video --
CAMEROTA: The music video!
SOLOMON: Just like absorbs you.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. I wish we --
GINGRAS: -- to like walk down the aisle. Yeah.
SOLOMON: Do you know if intent matters? Doesn't matter if Ed Sheeran perhaps used the song with the similarities but didn't intend to --
GINGRAS: And was inspired by it.
GINGRAS: It is a good question. He is going to take the stand. So, I mean, I think that's probably going to come up in the questioning. And, you know, it's unclear. There is one thing that we should point out here. The song was released in 2014. Ed Sheeran went on tour and was actually playing his song and actually saying the lyrics "Let's Get It On."
CAMEROTA: Oh, okay.
GINGRAS: Let's listen to it.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Now, let's hear that.
CAMEROTA: That is the smoking gun right there!
GINGRAS: Here's the thing, though. The judge said that that cannot actually be part of the trial. But he did reserve to say it could be based on how the trial is going. Right now, that is not part of -- jurors will see that.
CAMEROTA: But why not?
GINGRAS: It is a little unclear. That was his ruling. It's a 95-year- old judge. I don't know what his exact ruling is to do with it. I don't know. But he -- that will not be part of it just yet. It's a little dicey to hear Ed Sheeran himself that year when the song came out to be actually singing Marvin Gaye.
ALVAREZ: What is at stake here? We are still hear speaking out loud, but Ed Sheeran has to pay a fine assuming that they find --
GINGRAS: And here is the thing. Here's Ed Sheeran has been sued many times. Actually, a couple of times. And he has actually had to add the name of songwriters to one of his songs as a settlement.
In another case, he actually won in 2022 when someone sued him for copyright infringements. So, this is the case in the music industry and artists are really going to be watching closely because it will determine what will move forward.
Now, this isn't also the first time that Marvin Gaye and -- really, it was Marvin Gaye's family who sued with Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams.
CAMEROTA: That one, the "Blurred Lines" one, I could hear the similarities. GINGRAS: Right. They won that. So, I mean, there are cases where the plaintiffs have won and there are cases where the artist doesn't win. So, we are going to have to see. This is about one week. Long trial.
CHANCE: They're talking about millions -- millions --
GINGRAS: Millions. Yeah. And listen, this family is suing for legal fees. If they don't -- you know, he could be paying millions, just his family, if they win.
SOLOMON: I think the Robin Thicke/Pharrell case, I mean, I think they ended up having to pay about five million.
GINGRAS: Five million, yeah.
SOLOMON: Definitely a lot of money.
CAMEROTA: Come back and tell us what is happening with this because, obviously, we all need to know at this point, including Matthew.
All right, now, what's going on at Disney? The company is now going through its largest wave of cuts as part of a major slash of its workforce. Rahel is going to explain why. That's next.
CAMEROTA: Major news coming from two iconic companies. Disney begins its largest wave of layoffs this week as part of the company's plan to slash its workforce by 7,000 employees. And Bed Bath & Beyond filed for bankruptcy over the weekend. The company plans to liquidate all inventory.
Rahel is following both of these stories. So, Rahel, let's start with Disney. Why are they laying off so many?
SOLOMON: So, a few things are happening with Disney, right? It is a media company and many media companies have been scaling back in this largely microenvironment where advertising spend has really pulled back. Companies are pulling back, preparing for a recession even if we aren't already in a recession. Right? So, you're starting to see less advertising spend. So, Disney has become a victim of that.
Disney, however, also has had kind of a rocky few months. Remember, a few years ago, Bob Iger, the CEO, while the successful CEO stepped down, retired, Bob then stepped up, became CEO. He was then fired very quickly. Then, Bob Iger came back.
So, part of this is also Bob Iger's plan to transform the company, try to right the ship. He said that he is trying to save $5.5 billion in cost. This is part of that.
So, this latest round of layoffs is the largest so far. It brings total layoffs of about 4000. But we know this is not the end. We expect another round of layoffs, which will ultimately bring us to about 7,000. I should say it should impact ESPN. It will not, however, and some of its other entertainment divisions, it will not, however, affect its frontline employees at the theme parks, et cetera.
CAMEROTA: And at the theme parks, haven't they already announced significant increases in entrance fees?
SOLOMON: Yes, they had. So, they had been raising prices. And so, for some of its theme parks, that acquitted to an increase of about 12%. And I should say, in this last earnings call, the theme park division was the highlight of the report. I mean, they are doing very well in live entertainment at the theme park addition.
So, that is actually an area of strength for the company. And, yes, they have raised prices. The company has said in its earnings report that not only are people continuing to go to the theme parks, but they're spending more time while they're there and they're spending more money while they're there. That is going to be helping Disney in a really big way.
CAMEROTA: So, Brynn, I mean, those -- what we just saw, 124 to 189 for Disney World, that's to get in for one ticket a day?
SOLOMON: Yes. That's what it looks like.
GINGRAS: Yeah. I just feel like it's the most magical place on earth and you can't afford to go there. I feel like it's so exclusive to certain people and it is disappointing. And so --
SOLOMON: You can have the magic. It's just going to cost you a lot of money.
SOLOMON: It's very expensive.
CAMEROTA: Expensive and not that exclusive. But, yeah, that's amazing. Okay. And so, let's talk about how it's alluding to with Bob Iger. So, as we know, Governor DeSantis of Florida has been in this feud with Disney and at times Bon Iger. Why? I mean, isn't Disney -- aren't Disney and Florida sort of synonymous with each other? And is this helping Governor DeSantis?
ALVAREZ: Well, a major employer, right? As we were talking about during the break, Disney just can't get out of the headlines because not only of their own situation internally but because of Governor DeSantis.
Look, he continues to go after Disney, going after what he calls their sort of woke culture and their decisions that they have made and the pushback that they have had against DeSantis and his own measures in the state legislature. The -- he has his allies and his allies rallied on this issue, but when you look at the Republicans in a broader way, they are not so pleased with this. I mean, this is not necessarily where the Republican Party veers, right, by getting involved in private businesses. And big corporations, especially ones that are massive employers despite the layoffs in the state of Florida.
So, you know, we are seeing pushback from Republicans. Donald Trump has gone after him for this. Chris Christie has mentioned it. So, is it an issue that he's going to cling on to going forward, assuming that he does announce his candidacy for 2024? We will see. But for now, really sort of mixed reactions.
SOLOMON: And just to add to what Priscilla said, not just a major employer but a major source of tourism, revenue dollars, for central Florida and for the state of Florida. I wish I had my reporting with me but the numbers are astounding, how much money Disney brings to the state of Florida because of tourism.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. That's why this feud has confused me in the past. But, as you say, unless it's really working for him politically. Okay, so now, Bed Bath & Beyond. So, they just declared bankruptcy. What do we need to know?
SOLOMON: Okay, so, this has been a long time coming for people within the industry.
We've been watching this unfold for quite some years. The company announcing Sunday that it's going to begin liquidating process, begin the liquidating process. So, what could this look like? Well, I mean, technically, it could still find a buyer although analysts I speak to today said that is unlikely. Perhaps, it could turn into an ecommerce play. But anyone who buys it at this point is going to be looking for a pretty steep discount because, otherwise, they would have already stepped up by this point.
So, what it means is that for people who work at Bed Bath & Beyond, especially the physical stores, they might see a pink slip. They might see a layoff. If you are a consumer, if you shop at Bed Bath & Beyond, you have a gift card, you have a return, you want to do that sooner rather than later.
But Bed Bath & Beyond has really suffered from really a slew of things. It was very slow to the ecommerce trend. I mean, very slow, painfully slow. So, that hurt.
It also buckled under the weight of competition from the likes of the Targets of the world, the Walmarts of the world. And, of course, it had its coupon program, which depending on who you ask, was either a success or really hurt it.
CAMEROTA: But which one was it? Because, I mean, we get these coupons every day in the mail. So, were they a hit or no? SOLOMON: So, it's a bit complicated. So, it was a hit for really long time except it hurt its profit margins and people got used to it, right? I mean, if you suddenly -- when the company started to pull back its coupon program, suddenly people didn't want to go to Bed Bath & Beyond anymore because they're, like, where is my coupon? Like you've been sort of conditioned to shop with the coupon. So, when they tried to pull that program back, it really had disastrous impacts.
CAMEROTA: That's really interesting.
GINGRAS: I know.
CAMEROTA: Matthew, have you ever been at Bed Bath & Beyond?
CHANCE: I haven't. No. But I am -- I am very concerned. I mean, on a serious note. I'm concerned about the thousands of people --
CHANCE: -- that are being made unemployed. The people at Disney, 7 to 9,000. I mean, how many people at Bed Bath & Beyond? I don't know. But is this -- is this part of a -- a sort of broader spiking unemployment that we're seeing in the middle of this recession?
SOLOMON: That's a great question. What we have actually seen is a spike in unemployment in more white-collar professions. We've seen it in tech, we've seen it in some financial services, we've seen it in some of the media businesses. We have not, however, seen it at the lower end of the income spectrum. Frontline workers.
We haven't seen it because there is still -- there still is a lot of demand for those type of workers. And there still, according to the latest government data, a lot of demand for those type of workers.
But I think you make a very fascinating and valid point that as these layoffs start to mount, will -- will there still be as much demand for those people? And those are the people who you could argue, when you look at the data, their savings have already been depleted, they're already not necessarily making a lot of money, and they're buckling under the weight of higher inflation, higher borrowing costs.
So, they are already among the most vulnerable, and we're starting to see layoffs mount in those areas. So, that's a really good point because we haven't really seen that play out just yet, but that could be changing.
CAMEROTA: Thank you all for that information. Okay, up next, "On the Lookout," our reporters tell us what stories they're seeing on the horizon. We'll be right back.
CAMEROTA: And we are back with our fabulous panel of reporters to tell us what stories they are keeping an eye on. We call it "On the Lookout." Okay, Priscilla, tell us what -- what's coming up?
ALVAREZ: Well, this week, we're expecting to hear from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on their border preparations. The reason why is because in a -- in the coming days, on May 11th, a COVID Arab border restriction known as Title 42 is going to expire. That has allowed authorities to turn away certain migrants at the U.S. southern border.
And in a moment of unprecedented mass migration in the western hemisphere, there is concern about what it looks like when we go back to our traditional protocols. And inevitably, that may mean a surge of migrants at the border. So, I have been talking to sources over the last few days.
Even today, many sources, who already spoke to White House officials and DHS officials who are getting out in front of it, were noticing a shift in strategy as they try to tell members of Congress and their staff what those preparations look like because they have already faced criticism before when they didn't share enough, and everybody was surprised by the numbers and the policies.
So, that's what I'm keeping an eye out. What are those preparations look like? What are they going to say this week when they're only days away from a really critical moment and on an issue that is a political vulnerability for President Biden.
CAMEROTA: So glad you're alerting us to that. That's a really important story. Okay, Matthew, what are you keeping an eye on?
CHANCE: Over the next 24 hours or so, I am keeping an eye on this Russian delegation. That's in New York at the United Nations, led by Sergey Lavrov, which we discussed earlier.
And what I'm looking for is any contact between them directly and American officials to discuss the whole gamut of problems that are between those two countries and particularly the Evan Gershkovich case. I mean, he's now obviously the subject of a negotiation. I want to see if that's taking place. And so, we're going to be looking at that very closely.
And more broadly, the military situation in Ukraine. I know we've sort of like -- it's all faded into the background a little bit. But there's about to be a massive military push in Ukraine with the Ukrainians, with all the American weapons. The western weapons have been given, trying to take back as much territory from Russia as they possibly can. So, in the weeks ahead, that's kind of what I've got my eye on.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Thank you. Really important. That's really good to know. Rahel? SOLOMON: So, it's earning season. So, it's the time of the quarter where all public companies announced how they've done the previous quarter. They tell investors what they expect to be doing the previous quarter. And tomorrow, we have company reporting earnings of Spotify. So, they have spent a lot of money and it is podcast unit for big names like Kim Kardashian, the Obamas, Harry and Meghan.
And so, they've been under some pressure to cut back a bit and sort of manage expenses and work on its profit margins.
So, I think it'll just be a fun one to watch if one wants to see how they're doing and also what's ahead.
CAMEROTA: Dial down the $50 million deals.
SOLOMON: Little bit.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, great. And so, Brynn, you are keeping an eye on something that you alerted us to last week --
GINGRAS: Yeah, last week.
CAMEROTA: -- which is a really fascinating case.
GINGRAS: We were talking about that death penalty case in Oklahoma. Richard Glossip, he has been on death row for 24 years. His clemency hearing is coming up on Wednesday. He has pretty much run out of legal options to save his life. The attorney general in Oklahoma is going to recommend to the parole board clemency.
But the big thing here is Kim Kardashian tweeted about it today. So, this case is on her radar. And of course, we know how many followers she has. So, I'll be interested to see how that sort of affects all these, um, decisions. She's asking her followers to call the parole board, to call -- call the governor and save this man's life. So, execution days in three weeks. So, time is ticking.
CAMEROTA: That will be fascinating if that changes the equation.
SOLOMON: She has been effective in that role.
CAMEROTA: That's right. That will be fascinating. All right. Thank you all so much. Really appreciate you guys being here. It was great conversation.
So, tune in tomorrow on "CNN THIS MORNING." Breonna Taylor's mother will be on the show to react to news that the officer who fired the shot that killed Breonna Taylor has just gotten another policing job.
Thanks so much for watching us tonight. Our coverage continues now.
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