Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

What Happens When Accuser's Stories Finally Come Out; Explosive New Allegations Against Harvey Weinstein; Cowboy's Owner To Bench Players Who Disrespect Flag. Aired 11-11:30p ET

Aired October 10, 2017 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:01:13] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN tonight. I am Don Lemon it's a little after 11:00 on the east coast and we are live with new developments tonight, multiple claims of disgusting sexual harassment spanning years. The accusations an open secret, the women afraid to speak out against a powerful man. What happens when their stories finally come out? Let's compare to two recent cases of accused sexual predators. One disgraced, fired from his own company.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please come in. On everything. I am a famous guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm feeling very uncomfortable now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please come in now and one minute. If you want to leave when the guy comes with my jacket you can go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh please. I am sorry, just come on in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're used to that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're used to that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, come in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The other, elected President of the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Use some tick tacks in case I start kissing here. I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star. They let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. Do anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Did you find that shocking? You should. It's not flirting. It's not locker room talk. It is inexcusable. Hillary Clinton has finally spoken out about this, a little late. So as the Obama's and many, many people in positions of power have condemned it. But here's the thing that we should all remember, don't come on television and be a hypocrite and denounce Weinstein and make excuses for Trump. Or Defend Weinstein and torpedo Trump, because what's important is this, behind the accusations are real women whose lives have been affected. These accusations and the underlying behavior are gross whether you're a Democrat or a Republican. Whether you're in Hollywood or in the White House. Let's begin the program because I want to begin with Louisette Geiss a former actress who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment at the sun dance film festival in 2008. Her attorney is with her, Gloria Allred. Thank you so much for joining us this evening.

GLORIA ALLRED, ALLRED, MAROKO AND GOLDBERG: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: I wish we could have met under better circumstances, but --

ALLRED: Likewise.

LEMON: Let's talk about Harvey Weinstein, he asked you to meet at the sun dance film festival in 2008. And you say, you were hesitant because you had heard stories about Weinstein's behavior with women. So what had you heard?

LOUISETTE GEISS, ACCUSED HARVEY WEINSTEIN OF SEXUAL HARRASMENT: I mean, I had heard that he just had said nasty things to them. And, you know, made rude comments, but I didn't know the seriousness of what he would be up to with me.

LEMON: So tell me about the agreement, supposedly, you made with Weinstein before meeting him.

GEISS: Well because I had heard that he had done, you know, rude things to women and I had been in the movie industry for a while and had been accosted by other men, I made sure, I thought, you know what, this time, I'm going to get it on camera that he is going to shake my hand and I said, you know, I'll go have this meeting with you because of course he is at the apex of the industry and I would love to have my movie made, but at the same time I didn't feel like, you know, I should be hurt. So I made him shake my hand and I said, you know, I will go up and meet with you in your office, but you are not allowed to touch me. And he said ha-ha, he kind of laughed it off. And he shook my hand though and said I won't. So I felt just -- I felt better because it was on camera and, you know, it was really the only thing I could do to protect myself before having a meeting with him alone.

LEMON: What happened next?

GEISS: We had a good conversation about the movie that premiered. And we talked about my movie and everything was seemingly normal. And then he excused himself to go to the bathroom. [23:05:08] And when he came back, he was just in a robe and as I

mentioned buck naked, and I obviously was incredibly nervous and scared. I mean, he really is the media mogul of all time and he said to me, just keep talking and tell me -- finish your pitch. And so I sat there and I did finish the pitch. As he hopped in his hot tub. And then he got increasingly lascivious and rude and got out of the hot tub and I went to reach for my purse and I told him this is ridiculous and, you know, I'm leaving. And he grabbed my arm and that is the time where I really got scared. And he pulled me to the bathroom and was looking at himself in the mirror and he just said, I just want you to watch me, watch me, watch me, and, you know, I finally just broke away. I felt like it's better to run. And I did. And I went to get my purse. And as he followed me, he told me would give me three picture deal and he could get my movie made and, you know, I don't doubt that he could, but he said, you know, you have to watch me, but you've got to stay and watch my masturbate. And he just kept, kept grabbing his penis and fondling himself and finally I, you know, ran for the door and luckily, you know, it was something that I could open. I mean, to be quite frank, I didn't know if he had preplanned that the door was locked a certain way and I couldn't get out. So all of that was running through my mind as I, you know, before I exited. So I feel like I was lucky and luckier than most.

LEMON: I've got to ask you, what did -- what did you do then?

GEISS: You know, I honestly cried many a tear over this. I have another good friend. It's not out only time that this has happened to me in this business, but it was kind of the tipping point for me. There was one other gentleman that was very scary, and after that, I just felt, you know, I've studied my whole life. I've dedicated my life to being a good writer and a producer, and a good person, you know, quite frankly, and what's the point? Because I knew that I couldn't fight them. And they will tell you to your face that if you fight them, they'll get their lawyers on you and shut you down.

LEMON: They'll shut you down. What I was going to ask you is that, and Gloria, I'm going to talk to you in a moment. Gloria and I have covered these stories, you know way more than I do. You say there's always a point when a woman or someone whose abused will say enough is enough. And you said quote, the window to end this soul-crushing practice of sexually harassing women only recently opened. What changed for you?

GEISS: I truly feel like when I saw the stories about Cosby and what was being done about him, as soon as I heard those stories, I knew that they were probably true. And it's just because I know the industry so well. And experienced it and literally on a daily basis. I mean, it has gotten to be such common place and that is my issue. And that is why I left. Because I loved the industry, and I loved what I did and I was a creative person, but I didn't want to be treated liked a hooker every day when I was dedicated to doing something with meaning. And that was my goal was to make a change through what I was doing via art, but not be treated like a piece of meat.

LEMON: Yeah. So Gloria, tonight the board at the Weinstein company released this statement and it reads in part, it said, these alleged actions are antithetical to human decency. These allegations come as an utter surprise to the board, any suggestion that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false. How could they not have known, Gloria?

ALLRED: Well, I don't know what they knew and when they knew it. I don't know if they had knowledge of the reported eight settlements, allegedly were done by Harvey Weinstein after there were allegations of sexual harassment against him by a number of women. But you know what, this is not just about human decency. This is about real people, those people are women, who are alleging that they were sexually harassed and sexual harassment harms the victims. That is the point. It harms them financially, it harms them emotionally, it sometimes harms them physically, it harms them with their family relationships, and we need to focus on the persons who alleged their victims. I offered Mr. Weinstein today, publicly in our news conference, an opportunity to resolve this in a positive and a very dignified way.

[23:10:02] And that is all he has to do is have his lawyers contact me. We can agree on a retired Judge, we can have a private trial. Arbitration, and then the Judge can decide after the victims present their evidence if they have any, and then also Mr. Weinstein presents his defenses. Who should be held liable whether Mr. Weinstein should be or whether the victim should prevail or the alleged victims should be found to have proved their claim and ordered, and then they can prove up their damages if they have. We'll see whether he accepts that invitation. We're seeking access to justice for the persons who are alleged to be victims. And if Mr. Weinstein wants to return to be a producer, in Hollywood, again, and if he wants to restore his very battered reputation, instead of declaring war, what he could do is engage in this systematic process, and then by the way, if he is found not to have done what he is alleged to have done, he could announce that to the world. We'll give him permission. Let's see whether he accepts my invitation or not, but we want justice for people who allege they were victims.

LEMON: I have to ask you, I've asked you this question before, I've asked you with Cosby and, you know, with the other allegations from the folks at Fox News, the man at Fox News, additional women contacting you with claims about against Harvey Weinstein, Gloria?

ALLRED: Absolutely. I spoke to some today. More. And I've spoken to some over the weekend.

LEMON: A number?

ALLRED: I've been continuing to get contacted by women in various parts of the country. So, you know, there may be more soon, we'll see. Many do not want to speak out publicly. And some may. So this arbitration process, this private trial that I'm suggesting is good because the women will not have to reveal their names to the public, but they, of course, will let their name be known to Mr. Weinstein. And then the Judge can make a decision as to who should prevail. I think it makes sense, of course Mr. Weinstein is going to have to wave and give up and agree not to assert the statute of limitations as a defense. Agree not to say it's too late. You are barred by the time period set by law. He can set that aside. He has the right to set that aside and let's just have a trial on the merits. And so I think that, that will be something Mr. Weinstein has appeared to indicate he has that his day in court, this is unfair to him. Let's give him his day in court. Day in court to the alleged victims and let's have a decision by a Judge.

LEMON: Gloria Allred, thank you so much. Louisette Geiss, stay strong. Thank you for coming on. We appreciate it.

GEISS: Thank you.

ALLRED: Thank you.

LEMON: All right. When we come back, another woman who accuses Harvey Weinstein speaks out. She'll tell her story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:16:38] LEMON: You heard Louisette Geiss and her story about what happened when she met with Harvey Weinstein in 2008. Now I want to bring in Katherine Kendall, an actress who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually harassing her in 1993. Katherine thank you for coming on this evening.

KATHERINE KENDALL, ACCUSED HARVEY WEINSTEIN OF SEXUAL HARRASMENT: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

LEMON: Tell me your experience with Harvey Weinstein.

KENDALL: Well I met him when I was 23 years old. I had taken a general meeting at Miramax. Everybody there was, you know, the first meeting with him was very open. There were women there. His assistant. I thought everything was completely legitimate. He invited me to join the Miramax family and I thought wow, he is going to be a mentor for me. They'll bring me in for auditions, read scripts, he said come to screenings, and he invited me to a movie that night. I thought it was a screening. But it was in fact just a movie. And I was just there with Harvey at the movies. I felt really uncomfortable. I tried to sort of skirt out of it afterwards, but he wanted me to stop by his apartment with him quickly while he ran up to get something. I said, I didn't feel comfortable going up. He convinced me to. Made me feel safe. Said his wife might be home. You know, I thought ok, ok. Next thing you know, I went up there, I saw pictures of his wife in his apartment. I thought, ok, I'm ok. We had a conversation about art and literature and movies that we loved and books that we loved and I thought, this was going well. And he was taking me seriously. And then as the meeting -- or the conversation was winding down, he went to the bathroom. Came back out of the bathroom in a robe. And asked me to give him a massage. I said no, I didn't feel comfortable. He said, everybody does it. He dropped the names of some other famous models that did it. Made is sound like it was just a big Party that everyone sort of joining on and I was the only one that was not doing it.

And I said I wanted to go. He left the room again and this time he came back fully naked. And he was blocking the door. You know, he was between me and the door to his apartment. So I couldn't really leave and it became sort of like a game. You know of cat and mouse. And he sort of dodged back and forth like this, not letting me by and said, well, at least if you won't, you know, give me a massage, then can I see your breasts? Will you lift up your shirt and let me see your breasts. At this point, my adrenaline is going. I'm terrified. I think this is the moment that something horrible is going to happen and me not get out of it. I don't know. And I somehow negotiate my way to getting out of it and he says he'll let me past him if he gets dressed and takes me to a taxi himself. He did, he took me to a taxi. And then he got in the cab with me. I got off at a bar downtown in the west village, and he sat there and watched me through the window of the taxi while I was in the bar for a good 20 minutes. And I just talked to the bartender and said, just talk to me like you know me. And sat there, you know, having a drink looking like I had somewhere to be.

[23:20:17] LEMON: You were 23 years old.

KENDALL: 23.

LEMON: When this happened. And I'm sure you must be freaking out. Again, I read afterwards that you said to yourself, this is Harvey Weinstein, what did that name and that experience mean to you, especially trying to break into the business in 1993 and then just have the experience that you experienced?

KENDALL: Well it was devastating because he had made already some of the movies that I loved the most. And I felt so illegitimate somehow. And, you know -- instead of feeling -- I mean, I did feel angry, but I felt like my anger had nowhere to go. I felt more shut down from it. Like who's going to care? Who's shoulder can I cry on? Do I dare say anything? What's going to happen to me?

LEMON: We reached out to the Harvey's camp, we did not receive a comment. Representatives released a following statement, any investigations of nonconsensual sex are denied by Mr. Weinstein. He further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for his refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Begun counselling, listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance. Do you want to respond to that before we leave, Katherine?

KENDALL: Well, it's clearly, you know, it's pathological with him. I mean, he is done the same thing to so many people. And I think that so many more women are going to come out at the exact same story. He may or may not even remember everything he is done.

LEMON: Yeah.

KENDALL: He is a very smart man, so he may, but who knows.

LEMON: Katherine Kendall, we appreciate you coming on. You're very brave as well. Thank you so much.

KENDALL: Thank you for having me.

LEMON: Thank you.

When we come back, Hillary Clinton and the Obamas finally condemn Harvey Weinstein. What took them so long? And what about all of those big donations Weinstein made to the Democratic Party?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:27:09] LEMON: We heard two of Harvey Weinstein's accusers tell their stories tonight. Here to discuss all of this. CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, also CNN legal analyst Areva Martin, CNN political commentators Alice Stewart and Angela Rye. So let's begin this very difficult conversation that we unfortunately have to have right now. I just spoke to two of Weinstein's accusers, Angela, their stories are eerily similar to what we are hearing in that audio released today by the New Yorker of Weinstein trying to convince a model name Amber Gutierrez to come to his room, his hotel room in Manhattan. A day after he allegedly forcibly groped her. The disturbing conversation caught on tape during a sting operation by the NYPD. It was March of 2015. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am telling you right now, get in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we have to de here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing. I'm going to take a shower. You sit there and have a drink. Water?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't drink.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then have a glass of water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I stay on the bar?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. you must come here now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I don't want to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not doing anything with you, I promise. Now you're embarrassing me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, I don't want to. I am sorry, I cannot. No, yesterday was kind of aggressive for me. I need to know a person to be touched.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I won't do a thing. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to be touched.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't embarrass me in the hotel. I am here all the time. Sit with me. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know but I don't want to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please sit down. One minute. I ask you please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I cant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go to the bathroom. Listen to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go downstairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to do anything. You'll never see me again after this. If you embarrass me in this hotel where I am staying at --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not embarrassing you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just walk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't feel comfortable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honey, don't have a fight with me in the hallway. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not nothing, it's --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not going to do anything, I swear on my children. Please come in. On everything, I am a famous guy. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please come in now and one minute. If you want to leave when the guy comes with my jacket you can go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh please. I am sorry, just come on in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're used to that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're used to that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, come in. If you do this now you will (inaudible). Now go. Never call me again. OK, I am sorry, nice to have - I promise you won't do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know but yesterday was too much for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will never do another thing to you. Five minutes. Don't ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, but it is kind like it's too much for me, I can't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please you are making a big scene here, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, but I want to leave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Bye. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So when I heard that this morning, my jaw dropped. What's your reaction to that audio, Angela?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's just disturbing. I've never been a victim of sexual assault on any type of sexual harassment but I can't imagine for the women in my life who are friends of mine and family members who've experienced this. I just cannot even imagine. I think the biggest frustration in me hearing all of this banter about Harvey Weinstein over the last few days is the ability for people to make this political in some way.

[23:30:30]

Like at some point, your humanity should Trump, no pun intended, but how convenient, what you feel, what you see. It shouldn't -- this shouldn't be about political contributions or anything else. It should be about humanity and ensuring that these women are made whole. There are so many folks now who are coming forward and you just have to wonder how much of this is culture, not just in Hollywood, but with people, men and women, in positions of power and how they use their influence to just step all over the most vulnerable. And in this instance, it's people with less power than them.

LEMON: Well the perpetrators are more often than not men, but the victims are more often than not, women. It does happen to men. Terry Cruz, very famous actor in Hollywood said it happened to him at a party. To this particular case, do you think Harvey Weinstein should have been charged based on that tape?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. And not do I think that, Don, many of the police officers who were involved in this have spoken out and some have been anonymous in their statements, but we've heard statements where there was confusion about why he wasn't charged after that basic confession was tape recorded by this very brave woman. I want to say what I started to say to you during the break, which is to me this is next level predator. This isn't like Bill Cosby. Bill Crosby was acting on his own. He was not the representative of a major corporation. What we learned today is that there's 16 employees, former and current employees from the Weinstein company who witnessed or were somehow involved with the unlawful acts of sexual harassment and sexual assault involving Harvey Weinstein. We haven't seen that level of predator -- someone being a predator at that level involving a company. And I think we've got to take note of that because it's very different than when you have an individual acting in their sole capacity.

LEMON: He was very powerful. He is accused of raping women. I mean, and drugging them, that is pretty damn bad.

MARTIN: But he didn't have a board of Directors sitting there who overlooked his conduct. He doesn't have employees. We didn't see employees come forward in the Bill Cosby case to say I witness the conduct. Now we're seeing --

LEMON: He did work for NBC which is a major network.

MARTIN: Well, he wasn't the face of that organization in the way Harvey Weinstein it is. That company had an obligation to create a safe workplace, obligation to create a mechanism for complaints for women, it had an obligation to investigate complaints and to take action to remove him from this company. Not three decades later, but at the time that these allegations were made and we now learned that allegations were made, and we now learned that allegations were made, but they were overlooked, they were dismissed, and as we often see in these cases, the machine is turn against the women, I'm a lawyer, we go after these women. The P.R. machine, they make it very difficult for them to move forward with their complaints.

LEMON: I felt compelled that I have to give the statement here because you're talking about the Manhattan D.A.'s office. They released a statement saying if we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have. While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent. That will be debated about, but also, the board of Harvey Weinstein's company, the company that he was formerly the head of released a statement as well, Brian, saying these allegations are antithetical to human decency, these come as an utter surprise to the board, and a suggestion that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false. How could they not have known?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I'm perplexed, by this statement. The official comment tonight from the board of Directors, they know they're under tremendous scrutiny, but even though there is this sort of denial of knowledge, there's a mountain of evidence that a lot of people looked the other way, Don, that is being generous. They looked the other way. Harvey Weinstein had a reputation for being a creep, for being volatile guy that was prone to anger, who might treat young women in inappropriate ways. Even if he didn't know about assault or god forbid rape allegations, there is at least a sense that he was treating women, young women inappropriately. The idea that his brother Bob or other board members had no idea about that, look, they're saying in the statement that they didn't have any knowledge of that. But I think even folks inside the company don't believe that denial.

[23:35:02] LEMON: Alice, you know, Angela said it, she can't believe that people are politicizing, but it is a big political issue. He is a huge Democratic donor. He knew Hillary Clinton, he knew the Obamas, their daughter, the intern at his company, what do you think of this?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think I'm glad that finally after five days that Hillary Clinton and former President Obama did come out today and say they were disgusted and shocked and appalled by this, but for a Party leaders who are -- who have, you know, made their name on being the party of women and supporting women and equality for women, it should have been a natural gut reaction when they first heard about this five days ago, not one after five days of public pressure. Angela is exactly right. This is not about politics. This is about a pervert whose predatory behavior was damaging to women. The sweet Katherine woman you spoke with, she felt illegitimate after her time with him. The other victim you had --

LEMON: Louisette.

STEWART: Certainly, they feel disgusted with themselves. Due to his behavior. And for this board to say that they had no knowledge of this this, defies any kind of reality. If you read the New Yorker piece, the end of that piece, there are people that worked with this company who say they knew about this for years, they felt guilty for not saying, and if nothing else, they want to create an environment for all these victims to come forward, have justice be done and open up this huge vast array of innocent victims who have been victimized by this pervert.

LEMON: Areva, future criminal liability for Harvey Weinstein?

MARTIN: Very possible. We know that the New Yorker piece talks about rape allegations. Apparently three women who have come forward to say they were raped, not just sexual harassment. There are two legal things happening here. We have civil liability potentially for sexual harassment in a workplace. And that could include the board, even though it denies having any knowledge of this, that is a little suspect at this point. But they could also be on the hook for civil damages and then there are criminal penalties. We see Bill Cosby was charged in the case with Andrea Constance. The statute of limitations has not run, as far as we know with respect to all of these women. The woman that is on the tape, that happened in 2015. That was just two years ago. So I would not be surprised if we don't see a barrage of civil lawsuits and there may be criminal charges filed.

LEMON: That is all we have time for. Thank you.

When we come back, NFL owners looking into making rules into players kneeling during the national anthem. And today Cowboy's Jerry Jones said he will bench any of his players who disrespect the flag. We're going to speak to a man who knows Jerry Jones very well, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:42:09] LEMON: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell saying today that the league believes everyone should stand for the national anthem but NFL rules do not require players to do that, at least not yet. Joining me now, a man who knows the owners perspective on this. He is, He is a former co-owners of the Dallas Mavericks. Thank Frank Zaccanelli you for joining us this evening on CNN. Listen, let's talk about the protests, they have been a hot topic ever since President Trump made the sons of bitches comments last month about the NFL players protesting. What do you make about the President's remarks and then, did you ever think that he would still be in the news weeks later with this?

FRANK ZACCANELLI, FORMER CO-FOUNDER DALLAS MAVERICKS: Well, I think his comments are a bit divisive to put it mildly. I think the President of the United States ought to have a position on people not standing for the anthem. I understand that. That is fine. But I think that divisiveness of how he is gone about it and calling people names and some other things probably is not helpful. And I will tell you as a former owner, and executive in the NBA, Don, it caught the owners by surprise. This is a big surprise to them that they had a deal with this. This kind of got laid on their lap. And when you look at Jerry Jones, you know how you really decide who's a good owner and who's not, just talk to the players, talk to the ex-players. Talk to people who have been in the organization. For my money, Jerry Jones is probably the best owner in all of sports because he really cares about his players, sometimes to a fault. And he cares about his fans and I think he was put in a pretty tough situation.

LEMON: How was he put in a tough situation? You mean by the President?

ZACCANELLI: By the President. I think that the whole league was put in a tough situation because they were not really prepared to deal with this. And I think that ultimately, they were letting these protest goes, what Colin Kaepernick did is very understandable. When you really take a look, Don, at the tapes of some of these shootings, it's very difficult to watch. And so Colin Kaepernick came out, he took a stand, he basically sat down at first then kneeled down because he talked to a veteran, and all of those positive things that I think we're coming out of that, I think what happened was is that Charlottesville, Virginia, had a major part in this. No question about it. And then all of the sudden he goes to Alabama, and, you know, that speech that he gave, I think was very, very detrimental to the African Americans that are in the league and people around the country that really felt that Donald had kind of crossed the line.

LEMON: Yeah. So listen, so basically you're saying that he is using this for political capital. And you know, the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, he has been taking a lead role in all of this. He spoke about it.

[23:45:11] He spoke to a morning show in Dallas, and it's important to know that he says that he and Trump are friends, but now, and then he took a knee before the anthem weeks ago, but now he is saying that he thinks everybody should stand. And you say he stands with his players on this, no pun intended, but it doesn't sound like he is supporting his players if he understands what his players are going through as men of color in this country and he understands the real reason behind taking a knee during the anthem, that it's not a desecration of the flag, they're doing it for criminal justice or for reform in this country.

ZACCANELLI: Right.

LEMON: Then how is that understanding and standing by his players?

ZACCANELLI: Well, I think, Don, when you really look at this thing, Jerry Jones is a businessman. And I think what he is trying to do is protect his brand, protect the shield of the NFL, and ultimately, I think what he is saying is, and you know, for me, I feel that players should stand for the national anthem, but I want to be very, very clear, I think what's going on in this country, and some of the racial injustice is really, really bad. So I want you to really understand the balance in which I come at this.

LEMON: Do you think that maybe -- do you think maybe they shouldn't just play the national anthem before a game. After all, it's just a game.

ZACCANELLI: Yeah, I think the national anthem system a major part of professional sports. And I think of all sports.

LEMON: Why is that? Why is that?

ZACCANELLI: Well, for me, in 2001 when Whitney Houston sang the national anthem, it still brings tears to my eyes. I mean, it was a wonderful event where she passionately sing --

LEMON: I understand that. I love it, it was number one. No one bigger Whitney Houston fan than me, I love the national anthem and all of that, but why must the national anthem be played before a ball game? It just -- why?

ZACCANELLI: Well, Don, I mean, I don't have either rhyme or reason of why, what I'm saying is I think it's tradition. And I think that ultimately, you know, players should protest in really positive ways what's going on in the country, deserves that they protest. I would be the first that would come to the aid of any of these players that ultimately really wanted to protest in a meaningful way because some of the social injustice that you talk about a lot on your show, right? Is very real.

LEMON: But I have to they think this is a meaningful way. And they would like the support of the owners. They think --

ZACCANELLI: What I'm telling you is -- yeah, I was in the "New York times" today. And they asked me, they said what affect do you think this will have? I'm a businessman, if it has a 10 to 12 percent affect, it's a disaster. If it has a 50 percent affect, Don, this is a meltdown. And so I just think there's got to be some dialogue that ultimately gets us to a different place.

LEMON: Can I ask you another question quickly though?

ZACCANELLI: Yes.

LEMON: What happens if -- what if all the players took a knee? And then everyone as the President says and Jerry Jones and they all couldn't play. Then -- you can't play. Because most of the players --

ZACCANELLI: Then I think you have a shutdown. Then I think you have a shutdown in the league and that would be very unfortunate. That would be hugely unfortunate if that happened. And I hope it doesn't get to that, but I have to make another comment to you, Don. The President's comments are divisive in the way he is attacked it. I expect the President to stand up and say, I would like for all the players in the NFL to respect the flag. Respect the national anthem. Ok. That is not a problem. It's the way that this particular President happened to go about it in the divisive manner in which he attacked this thing and I think that is a problem. And, you know, when you put that on the back of Charlottesville, Virginia, you can understand why African American players are a little upset. It's very understandable.

LEMON: I wish we had more time. Thank you for your time and your cantor. Frank, thank you so much, sir.

ZACCANELLI: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

When we come back, how will players react to the rules of the league and the owners could impose on them? We will discuss that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:53:55] LEMON: Joining me now is Denise White CEO of EAG Sports Management, CNN political commentator David Swerdlick and CNN contributor Salena Zito. We're talking about this whole thing, about taking a knee during the anthem. Well, the bet hip hop awards aired tonight. Rapper Eminem use the opportunity to let the world know what he thinks about President Trump. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMINEM, RAPPER: It's like we take a step forwards and backwards, but this is his form of distraction, plus he gets an enormous reaction when he attack the NFL. So we focus on that. And instead of talking Puerto Rico and gun reform from Nevada, all these horrible tragedies and he is he'd rather cause a twitter storm with the packers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Still Colin Kaepernick is responding tonight saying, simply I appreciate Eminem. Watch your reaction David?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Two things, Don. One whether you agree with Eminem on the issues, his diagnosis of Trump as a sort of master of destruction, I think is pretty spot on then the second things is that when your President Trump and you go after him, you don't just disagree with people you go after them, you do invite this kind of backlash from a pop star who's got a lot of credibility with a lot of people.

LEMON: Denise.

[23:55:00] DENISE WHITE, CEO EAG SPORTS MANAGEMENT: I think he is absolutely speaking to the players in this instance. From feeling insulted to feeling empowered, because everything Trump has done in the past couple of weeks. I'd also like to speak on the fact we're trying to change and go from protest to progress. Eminem, it was an amazing thing he did, but I also think he is speaking for the players as well. And it's a positive and moving forward voice that I feel he is empowering the athletes as well.

LEMON: Salena. SALENA ZITO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER STAFF: I always think that rap is a

certainly incredible way to express emotion and passion and it's a way to reflect society. And that reflects how he feels and how a lot of people feel about what's going on in the country. And he did it in his very Eminem way. I'm not surprised. It was interesting, and I'm sure it'll be the talk of the town for a while.

LEMON: I was just speaking to a former NFL owner who said that -- NBA owner who said that he would be surprised if all the players took a knee, that would cause a shutdown. Do you agree that would happen, David?

SWERDLICK: I don't know what's going to happen. But if I were a Dallas Cowboys player particular this Sunday, I would look at this -- their boss, Jerry Jones kind of snookered them two weeks ago. He knelt with them, and then all of a sudden he is really flipped it and gotten very punitive with them. So what will they do? I don't know, but they've got to take a good look at their boss.

LEMON: I got to run Denise. You had some quick news about Jerry Jones - abort Roger Goodell.

WHITE: Not Jerry Jones but Roger Goodell, he was down in Miami today with the players of the Miami team that took the knee and they were with this organization called Rise which is protest to progress which is actually doing something about what the players are speaking about. And he was down there getting insight from the athletes on what we can do to bridge the gaps and really start moving forward.

LEMON: I've got to run. Thank you all. A appreciate it. That is it for us tonight. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)