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New Day

Actor Alec Baldwin Accidentally Shoots and Kills Cinematographer on Film Set with Gun He Thought was Safe; Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) Interviewed on Democrats Continuing Negotiations over Spending and Taxing in Senate Reconciliation Bill; Op-ed: Irving, Chappelle Used as "Black Pawns On White Chessboard". Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired October 27, 2021 - 08:00   ET


AVA DUVERNAY, OSCAR-NOMINATED FILMMAKER: Shows is it's not just about Colin Kaepernick. You watch this and you think, well, what are the steps on my journey? All the little things that have happened that have changed the course of your life. So we go through six big events in his early childhood that really kind of change the course and made him who he is today.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I think back at how long this has been for Colin Kaepernick.

DUVERNAY: Yes, a while.

BERMAN: Right. From the moment he went from just a very good Super Bowl playing quarterback to all of a sudden being such a lightning rod.

DUVERNAY: Six years.

BERMAN: It's six years. Worth it? Does he feel like it's worth it?

DUVERNAY: I don't know. It is hard to say what he feels. I know that in working with him, he really has something that he wants to say, he wants to express. He doesn't do interviews. He's not there on the press. So I felt fortunate that he interested me with the story. And he's expressed himself through this work.

BERMAN: Ava DuVernay on her new Netflix series "Colin Black and White," thank you very much.

And NEW DAY continues right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Wednesday, October 27th. I am Brianna Keilar alongside John Berman today. And this morning, there are some new developments in the investigation of the fatal shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin movie's "Rust." The D.A. in New Mexico says she hasn't ruled out criminal charges in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, telling "The New York Times" that the term "prop gun" is misleading because the gun that killed Hutchins was a legit gun. According to court documents obtained by CNN, a fanny pack with ammunition was also seized along with two ammo boxes and loose ammo from a tray.

BERMAN: And for first time since the fatal shooting, one of the film's actors is speaking out. Ian Hudson says he felt vulnerable during his scenes, especially the shooting scenes. Listen.


IAN A. HUDSON, "RUST" ACTOR: Everyone on the camera crew was protected by shields. And the camera was protected by a shield. So that made me question me being in front of the camera, and sort of in between all that fire. When the rounds were released, when they shot at me, I actually did feel the blanks hitting my face and my body. And I could feel the wind from the shotgun being discharged. It was heavy. It was strong.

Brandon Lee, having died in 93, that conversation came up a couple times between my fellow cast members and I.


KEILAR: Joining me now is Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison. Rachel, we're so glad to speak with you this morning because in the wake of this, you are saying that guns have no place on sets. Tell us why.

RACHEL MORRISON, OSCAR-NOMINATED CINEMATOGRAPHER: Technology has been advancing at a very rapid pace. And blanks were intended to make a sound and a lighting effect that now we can do -- the sound is easy, obviously, on set, but we can do everything in visual sets. And I think there is a movement now from many cinematographers that are forming a letter that is going to go out wide, I think, in the next week, and I think there are petitions on, but basically to get live fire banned from film sets.

KEILAR: Rachel, I can't imagine how this has been shaking your community of filmmakers. And I imagine that many of you think, hey, this could have been me. How are you receiving this, how is your community receiving what's happened?

MORRISON: We're gutted. We're devastated. In my case, obviously, it hits particularly close to home as one of very few female cinematographers. Halyna was my age, she had a son around the same age as mine. But we have all been in this situation. It's not about -- I don't think it is as simple as blanks and in this case. The levels of negligence it took to get to that, it's not commonplace on a film set by any means. But the hours that we work and some of the sleep deprivation that led to certain other decisions and careless actions, that is something we all have been through.

And also just, look, as a cinematographer who cares about what I do, just like Halyna undoubtedly loved her craft, right, there is nothing we won't do to get the shot. And I think this is a real wake-up call that no film is as important as a human life.

KEILAR: We heard from -- we're hearing now from Ian Hudson, the star of the film, he said that on the set there was discussion about the death of Brandon Lee in "The Crow" decades before. Do you think that's normal on any set where there are guns, where there is even fake gunfire? Is that just something that gets discussed, or is that abnormal to you?


MORRISON: Really there are layers of protection in place because of Brandon Lee. What should have happened is a prop master or an armorer should have kept the gun in a locked box, should have checked it that morning, should have checked it again before bringing it to set, should have showed the empty, cleared gun, cleared of all cartridges, to the first A.D., to all of the actors, to anybody who wants to see that the gun is clear. We have all of these measures in place so that this doesn't happen.

So the fact that it did is not only an anomaly, but it's appalling to those of us in the film industry. This is so not how it is supposed to work. But then again, the conduct of blanks, what it is, is a quarter load of ammunition, which is why there is a similarity in the way that they look. And that's why I think we're all making efforts to make it so you just -- it's rubber guns or nothing, or completely repurposed -- like, people keep referring to this as a prop gun, but it's not. It's a gun that fires. And actual prop gun isn't capable of discharging any kind of ammunition.

KEILAR: Look, we had on a prop master yesterday who was explaining and actually showed us a prop gun, even ones that might accept some blanks don't accept bullets that have a projectile. They do not have the capability, ideally, to do what a live gun does, what a real gun does. This was a real gun. It wasn't a prop gun. This gun accepted bullets. I do want to -- you mentioned the different layers, the different problems that led to this outcome. Do you think that there should be criminal charges based on what we're finding out?

MORRISON: There should be a deep investigation. I think there are many people culpable in this incident, to be honest. The warning signs about this production in particular were there early. And the fact that nobody rushed in to make it -- hold it accountable and make sure things were being done by the books is -- it is not as simple as one person pulling a trigger. I think there are several people accountable in this case.

KEILAR: What about Alec Baldwin as a producer on the film?

MORRISON: I can't speak to that. I think as a human, I have no doubt he's traumatized probably beyond anything any of us can reckon with. As a producer and as a seasoned veteran in the movie industry, I think he probably maybe more than anyone else on the set who sounds like the median age was in their 20s, he should have known that maybe handing you a gun and saying it's cold isn't the same as several people showing you an empty gun.

I think, obviously, things in the wake of covid have been altered in trying to kind of pare down people's exposure to the virus, things are being -- corners are being cut for pandemic reasons. But this is not -- this is not a corner you cut. So I don't know. I don't really want to speak to a culpability. I just think everybody should have known better on that set, everybody.

KEILAR: Yes. It is a very important question that you raised, too, about potential corners cut during the pandemic as well. Rachel Morrison, thank you so much. We know that -- we know this is hitting all of you very hard and we thank you for joining us this morning.

MORRISON: Thank you.

BERMAN: New this morning, Democrats have just released the details of what they are calling a billionaire's income tax. This comes as a race to strike a deal on President Biden's economic agenda before he heads overseas for the G-20 summit. But there are many key sticking points still on the table. CNN's Kaitlan Collins live at the White House with some of the problems and some of the new proposals.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, and these aren't just sticking points. These are major issues that they need to come to an agreement, some kind of compromise on if they are going to have some sort of framework that they're aiming to have at least by the end of the day, certainly by the time the president boards Air Force One, which is supposed to happen about 24 hours from now, even though it seems now increasingly unlikely, or likely potentially, that he is going to potentially go on this trip overseas without a deal in hand, based on where we are right now.

Things could change throughout the day, of course, but there are some main issues here, and one, as you're noting, is this billionaire's tax that has come out, the details of this proposal which have been long awaited. And this essentially a way that they are trying to devise a way to pay for this plan. And what this tax would do is essentially target the wealthiest of the wealthiest Americans. It would extract about $300 billion based on this proposal so far from about 700 Americans, and it would essentially tax their unrealized capital gains. That would be the value of their liquid assets, cash, stocks, bonds, that kind of figure.


But the question of whether or not that's feasible is still a big one. And whether or not all 50 Democrats are going to be on board with it is also a big one. So those are big questions as well. But it also is not just about how to pay for this, John. It's also what is the price tag of this bill going to be. What are they going to come to an agreement on when it comes to Medicaid and Medicare expansion, immigration, climate. There are several main issues in here in addition to things like paid leave that they still have not come to an agreement on.

And so I think you hear a lot of optimism from Democrats, but whether or not that matches up with what you're seeing when it comes to tangible agreements between the progressives and the moderates, it seems like it could be a reach for the president to have a deal in his hands by the time he leaves for Rome, or is scheduled to leave tomorrow morning.

BERMAN: Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you very much. Let's find out about how one of those 50 key votes in the Senate might

feel about this.

Joining me now is a Democratic senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy. Senator, I hope your family back in Connecticut stayed dry during the nor'easter. I appreciate you joining us this morning. What can you tell us about where things stand on all of this dealmaking this morning? What are you hearing?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, at the heart of this is an effort by the president, Democrats in Congress, to try to shift the balance of economic power in this country. during the pandemic those billionaires you're talking about saw their wealth grow by $1.5 trillion, 700 people in this country are now worth $4.5 trillion. Compare that to the poorest 50 percent of Americans who are worth less than half that.

That can't be sustained in a democracy. And so what we're trying to do is ask the wealthy, the very wealthy, to pay their fair share in order to finance some improvements in regular people's lives. In Connecticut, people are struggling, for instance, with paying for childcare. And so we need to ask those billionaires to help regular, average middle class families afford to be able to send their kids to daycare.

I think we're very close to a deal. I think this new proposal to ask the 700 billionaires in the country to pay a share of taxes on their wealth increase on an annual basis makes a lot of sense. And I think it will be supported by the broad extent of the American public. So I think we're close and I hope that we'll have a deal by the end of the day.

BERMAN: Is this billionaire's income tax, as it is being called, the best way to do it in your mind, or the best available way to do this in your mind?

MURPHY: We have to thread a very narrow needle in the Senate. We have 50 Democrats with the vice president breaking the tie. I think each one of us would probably do this differently. If it were up to me, I would go back and repeal the Trump tax cuts where the vast majority of the benefit went to the top income earners.

But this is, I think, a very creative way, and I think a very economically sound way to ask the very wealthy to pay more. What happens when you have this many people who are worth billions of dollars is that they report very little in income on an annual basis. So Jeff Bezos pays very little in taxes compared to his wealth because he's actually just using his wealth to borrow money to finance his lifestyle. So we're trying to find a way to look at these billionaires who have huge amounts of money in the bank, and ask them to pay based on that wealth, not just based on the relatively small amount of money that they report as income on an annual basis.

BERMAN: How badly does this deal need to come together before the president gets on a plane to go to Europe roughly 24 hours from now?

MURPHY: Listen, we should get this right, but there is a reason why we would like to get this deal done before the president leaves. It is not an arbitrary deadline. The president on this trip is going to the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow. Part of the Build Back Better agenda is, we hope, the biggest down payment on America's contribution to solving climate change in the history of this country, doing it by creating a lot of jobs in renewable energy.

It would be good for the president to have an agreement on the Build Back Better bill which includes a major contribution to America's commitment on climate change reduction when he goes to Glasgow. So, again, it's not essential. There is nothing in the law that requires the deal to be done by the end of the day. But America's power at that summit will be enhanced if this deal is done.

BERMAN: Even if the deal does get done in the next 24 hours, in your mind, is he bringing enough to Glasgow on climate change? This has far less in terms of climate change than I know you were hoping for.

MURPHY: It does. But the good news on climate is that there are a lot of levers to press. So some of my colleagues, Senator Manchin in particular, has ruled out some of the more comprehensive approaches to climate, like incentivizing electricity distributors to bring new -- more renewable energy on to the grid.


But I think there can be agreement on tax incentives for consumers, and businesses to build renewable energy. There can be consensus around the build out of electric technology in this country. There can be incentives around modernizing the power grid so we can bring more offshore wind and solar on to the grid.

I think we can send the president to Glasgow with a sizable package on greenhouse gas reductions. It might not be as big as some of us would like, but I would still argue that it will end up being the most significant piece of climate legislation that Congress has ever passed.

BERMAN: We'll see. If he is able to bring it, if it does get done in the next 24 hours, that's very much up in the air.

Very quickly, Enes Kanter, center for the Boston Celtics, has been very direct about the treatment of Uyghurs, very critical, and critical of Nike for continuing to do business with China.

What is your view on this and what Enes Kanter is saying?

MURPHY: Well, first of all, I'm a big Boston Celtics fan and Enes Kanter fan and I think the NBA should reward its players for telling the truth. I think American corporations should start getting an ethical backbone when it comes it dealings with China. It is a genocide.

And too many U.S. industries have been bending over backwards to try to paper over what is happening in China. You see Hollywood studio after Hollywood studio refusing to put out movies that are critical in any way, shape or form of the Chinese government. You now have pressure on the NBA to censor its players when they're telling the truth about what is happening in a foreign country.

This matters deeply to Enes because he is being persecuted now by the Turkish government. If he went back to his home country, he would be arrested largely simply for his political views. So while I understand not every American company is going to unwind their business in China immediately, at the very least, they shouldn't be engaged in self- censorship about the truth with respect to the brutal treatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority inside China.

We should be able to allow corporations and the people who work for those corporations to stand up and tell the truth.

BERMAN: Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut, go Celtics, I appreciate you being with us this morning. Thank you.

MURPHY: Thanks.

BERMAN: So, kids ages 5 to 11 could begin getting vaccinated as early as next week. Could this mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic?

And a judge rules that the man shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse cannot be called victims. What is allowed, calling them rioters and looters. Why?

KEILAR: Plus, he never shied of controversy. But our next guest says Kyrie Irving and Dave Chappelle are being used as he puts it as black pawns on a white chess board.



KEILAR: Two prominent black Americans Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets and comedian Dave Chappelle have each set off controversies in their own way. Irving for his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID- 19 and Chappelle for telling jokes about transgendered people.

Now in a new piece for "Deadspin", Carron Phillips argues that the damage they've caused is part of something larger. He writes that Kyrie Irving and Dave Chappelle are being used as black pawns on a white chess board and he's joining us to talk about that. Carron Phillips, a senior writer and editor at "Deadspin."

Carron, great to see you this morning.

Explain what you mean here when you say that they're getting played.

CARRON PHILLIPS, SENIOR WRITER AND EDITOR, DEADSPIN: We're looking at two people who I feel originally started out with good intent. But doesn't matter if you have good intentions if your execution is poor and if we look back at the starting with Kyrie Irving, with all the charitable things he's done over the last year and a half, especially in the pandemic, this was a guy who always has been a little bit eccentric in his thoughts and beliefs, but a phenomenal basketball player. This is the same man that bought a house for a family, donated

millions to WNBA players that want to opt out of the bubble in Orlando last season, and this is someone who was a little hesitant for the players going to play in the bubble in the NBA because he didn't want the focus to be right back on basketball in terms of the movement that was happening last summer.

So when you line that up with what Irving has done in the past compared to what is going on now and we saw what happened Sunday at the Barclay Center outside the arena where people were rioting for him, a guy that was doing all of that for his community and people that looked like me and him, when you looked outside and saw those riots or whatever you want to name -- or the police unions trying to walk across the strike in terms of going against vaccine mandates, something in his philosophy that I thought -- I think that was pure at heart at the beginning has been taken over now.

And the people that were against his stance last year and against, you know, Black Lives Matter and these type of things that we're talking about are now using him to, you know, push back against vaccine mandates. And the same thing is happening with Dave Chappelle.

This is not the same guy who left Comedy Central $50 million on the table for doing the pixy skit and the black white supremacists and all that, he said in one of the specials, he said for years I talked about hating white people, not the LGBTQ community and transgenders, but now if you look at the people that are supporting both of these men, they aren't the people that they always stood against.

KEILAR: So I want to ask you, you write, Irving and Chappelle's narcissism has left them blind to the fact that they have become puppets in a real time minstrel show in the hands that are pulling the strings are white.

I do want to challenge you on this because obviously I'm sure the gentlemen who are the subject of your column would, does that ignore the fact that Dave Chappelle has a lot of support, a ton of support in the black community.


And in the case of Kyrie Irving, black Americans, they account for a smaller percentage of the population, they are disproportionately vaccine hesitant. These are men who do have support in the black community, including for their views here. What do you say to that?

PHILLIPS: They do. And I'm not ignoring that, and you brought up a good point. But if you're going to step up and speak out and use your platform, then that means you have to come with -- when you make poor decisions in terms of positive and negative ramifications from that.

We're looking at a situation now with Kyrie Irving and the NBA where he wants to step up in the past and be a voice. You're using it in the wrong position now. We need this vaccine. We all lived through this for the past year and a half going on two years now. Follow the science. All of these terms like free thinking or I need to do more research,

what exactly does that mean? What can Google do in your 20 minute search that is going to make you smarter than scientists and doctors who have done this for years?

So you can be that voice, getting people to get their shots, but, no, you have this flawed stance that you feel like your rights are being taken away when getting shots to go to school, to go to work, to go to college and universities, and something we have been doing for decades.

And in terms for Dave Chappelle, yes, you know, people do agree with him and feel like he should be able to say what he wants to because, you know, that's what comedy has always been. But just because comedy has always been that, that doesn't mean it has to continue to be that.

We all have to grow and evolve and be better, and Dave Chappelle, it seems like he's trying to be the leader of this comedy genre and he's, like, we should be allowed to say what we want to say without any ramifications. That's not true for anyone, especially in this moment right now where we're all trying to be better and we're trying to hold the people accountable that don't want to be.

KEILAR: Carron, it was a fascinating column. I encourage our viewers to check it out and I appreciate you talking about it with us. Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: New controversy erupting around the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. A judge rules that the men he shot and killed cannot be called victims, but they can be called looters.

KEILAR: And breaking news moments ago, chairman of the joint chiefs, General Mark Milley, just likens China's suspected missile test to a Sputnik moment.