METROFOCUS: APRIL 26, 2019

Mayor de Blasio’s now defunct fundraising group, Campaign for One New York, faces an ongoing state ethics probe. Joining us with the details is The City reporter Greg Smith. Plus, 33 years ago today, reactor #4 exploded in Chernobyl, creating the world’s worst nuclear accident. The Soviets’ secrets about what led up to the event, and it’s cover up, is now revealed. And, from “Night Court” to Nantucket, one of America’s favorite actors takes us an amazing sleigh ride.

Aired on April 26, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS.'

MAYOR de BLASIO UNDER FIRE AS HIS NOW DEFUNCT FUNDRAISING GROUP FACES AN ONGOING STATE ETHICS PROBE.

WE HAVE THE DETAILS.

MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL.

IT WAS APRIL 26, 33 YEARS AGO, THAT THE WORLD EXPERIENCED ITS GREATEST NUCLEAR DISASTER.

IN A MOMENT, THE FACTORS THAT LED TO THAT TERRIBLE ACCIDENT IN THE FORMER SOVIET UKRAINE AND THE DETAILS OF THE COVER-UP THAT FOLLOWED.

AND WHAT DO THE DISNEY GROUP AND A GIANT LOBSTER HAVE IN COMMON?

THEY'RE ALL PART OF A PLAY.

JOHN IS THE STAR.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

WILL HE OR WON'T HE?

MAYOR de BLASIO SAID THIS WEEK THAT HE WILL MAKE A DECISION SOON ON RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.

THE DEMOCRAT HAS BEEN ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL FOR MONTHS LEADING MANY TO BELIEVE THAT HE WILL MAKE IT OFFICIAL AND JOIN THE PACKED 2020 RACE.

BUT ONE ISSUE THAT COULD COME UP IF HE DOES RUN, ETHICS.

THE MAYOR FOUND HIMSELF DEFENDING HIS ETHICS AGAIN AFTER THE CITY, THE NEW NONPROFIT NEWS OUTLET, PUBLISHED THIS REPORT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATION.

ACCORDING TO THE CITY, THE REPORT REVEALED THAT DESPITE WARNINGS, de BLASIO BROKE CONFLICT OF INTEREST RULES BY SOLICITING DONATIONS FROM PEOPLE LOOKING FOR FAVORS FROM CITY HALL.

THE MAYOR HAS PUSHED BACK.

I AND MY ADMINISTRATION HAVE SHOWN THAT WE DO THINGS THE RIGHT WAY.

WE DO THINGS ON THE MERITS.

WE DO THINGS LEGALLY AND APPROPRIATELY.

ALL THESE MATTERS HAVE BEEN LOOKED AT, INVESTIGATED, NO FURTHER ACTION TAKEN.

THAT'S ALL THERE IS TO IT.

FOR A DEEPER DIVE, LET'S BRING IN THE MAN WHO BROKE THIS STORY FOR THE CITY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER GREG B.

SMITH.

GLAD TO HAVE YOU BACK.

GLAD TO BE HERE.

LET'S GET INTO THIS REPORT.

THEY RELEASE AD REPORT TALKING ABOUT THE MAYOR'S FUNDRAISING AND SOME OF THE QUESTIONABLE METHODS THAT HE HAS BEEN PARTAKING IN THAT I BELIEVE HE WAS WARNED ABOUT DOING.

IT IS A LITTLE COMPLICATED BUT I'LL TRY TO BOIL IT DOWN TO THIS.

THE MAYOR WHEN HE ARRIVED AT CITY HALL IN 2014, CREATED A NOT FOR PROFIT THAT WAS CALLED THE CAMPAIGN FOR ONE NEW YORK.

THE IDEA OF IT WAS TO RAISE MONEY TO PAY FOR POLITICAL CONSULTANTS TO SUPPORT HIS POLICIES, AND AT THAT TIME, HIS BIG PUSH WAS, UNIVERSAL PRE-K AND THEN ALSO AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

THAT'S THE BASIC IDEA OF IT.

THE ISSUE IS THIS.

THE QUESTION IS, WHO DOES HE GET MONEY FROM AND HOW MUCH MONEY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

SO DURING THE TIME PERIOD THAT THE CAMPAIGN FOR ONE NEW YORK WAS UP AND RUNNING, HE RAISED $4.3 MILLION AND THE VAST MAJORITY OF IT CAME FROM PEOPLE WHO DO BUSINESS WITH HIS ADMINISTRATION.

AND ARE ACTIVELY SEEKING TAX BREAKS OR CITY PROPERTY.

THEY WERE DEVELOPERS.

LOTS OF THEM ARE DEVELOPERS.

THERE WAS A COMPANY THAT DOES FILM, LOCATION STUFF IN THE CITY THAT NEEDS PERMITS FROM THE CITY.

SO MOST OF THIS MONEY THAT HE'S RAISING IS COMING FROM PEOPLE WHO NEED SOMETHING FROM HIM.

AND THE ISSUE IS THAT, CAN HE PERSONALLY CALL HIS PEOPLE UP AND ASK THEM FOR MONEY?

AND HE SOUGHT AND RECEIVED AN OPINION FROM THE CITY CONFLICT OF INTEREST BOARD THAT TOLD HIM EXPLICITLY, YOU CAN ASK PEOPLE FOR MONEY BUT YOU CANNOT ASK PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING ACTIVE BUSINESS WITH YOUR EXECUTIVE BRANCH FOR ANYTHING.

AND THE ISSUE IN THIS DUI REPORT THAT I OBTAINED UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW, WHICH BY THE WAY, THAT MEANS THAT IT WAS NOT MADE PUBLIC IN THE FIRST PLACE, IS THAT HE WAS WARNED NOT TO DO THIS AND HE DID IT ANYWAY.

WHERE DOES THIS FALL INTO THE PREVIOUS INVESTIGATION THAT HAPPENED?

SURE.

THERE ARE TWO PREVIOUS INVESTIGATIONS.

I'M SORRY.

THERE WERE THREE PREVIOUS INVESTIGATIONS.

OKAY.

A LOT OF INVESTIGATIONS.

THE CAMPAIGN FOR ONE NEW YORK IS THE MOST INVESTIGATED NOT FOR PROFIT I'VE EVER HEARD OF.

THEY HAD THE MANHATTAN U.S.

ATTORNEY LOOKED IT A.

THE MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY LOOKED IT A.

AND THE STATE ETHICS COMMISSION ALSO LOOKED AT IT.

ACTUALLY, THEY'RE STILL LOOKING AT IT.

THE U.S. ATTORNEY FOUND THERE WAS NO CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR.

SO THEY CLOSED THEIR INVESTIGATION.

IT MAY BE MARCH OF 2016 WHERE THEY BASICALLY SAID, THERE IS NO, WE CANNOT MAKE A CRIMINAL CASE.

HOWEVER, WE ARE GOING TO POINT OUT TO THE PUBLIC THAT THE MAYOR WAS RECEIVING MONEY FROM DONORS WHO WERE SEEKING AND RECEIVING FAVORABLE TREATMENT FROM CITY, FROM HIS CITY HALL.

BUT THE PROBLEM WITH THE U.S.

ATTORNEYS' FINDINGS, THEY DIDN'T SPELL IT OUT.

THEY DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT WHICH DONOR, WHAT WERE THE FAVORS, NONE OF THAT.

WHAT THE REPORT STATED WAS, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED.

SO HERE WE HAVE THE MAYOR CALLING UP A DEVELOPER AT THE TIME THE DEVELOPER IS DEALING WITH TRYING TO GET SOME CITY PROPERTY.

AND THE MAYOR IS CALLING THIS DEVELOPER UP, THE MAYOR PERSONALLY, BY THE WAY.

NOT SOMEBODY ELSE DOING IT FOR HIM.

AND ASKING FOR MONEY FROM THIS PERSON.

SO YOU PUT YOURSELF IN THAT PERSON'S POSITION.

YOU HAVE THE MAYOR CALLING UP AND ASKING FOR MONEY FOR YOU.

SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNTS OF MONEY.

BUT YOU WANT, YOU'RE TRYING TO GET A TAX BREAK FROM THIS GUY'S ADMINISTRATION.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO SAY?

WELL, NO, I'M SORRY.

I CAN'T HELP YOU.

HOW IS THAT TAX BREAK GOING?

SO HE WAS HITTING UP PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING ACTIVE BUSINESS WITH HIS ADMINISTRATION AND HE HAD BEEN WARNED, NOT ONCE BUT TWICE TO NOT DO THAT.

AND HE BASICALLY JUST TOOK IT UPON HIMSELF TO IGNORE THIS, THESE WARNINGS.

AND THE REPORT SUBSTANTIATED THAT.

THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED IN HIS ADMINISTRATION.

THE FIRST TIME THE DOI HAS HAD THIS AGAINST THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK.

I CAN'T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME IT HAPPEN.

WHEN THEY GAVE IT TO ME, IT WAS REDACTION CENTRAL.

THEY HAD CENSORED LIKE A DRAMATIC PORTION OF THE FINAL REPORT.

IT WAS LIKE BLACK MAGIC MARKER.

IT FEELS ODD THAT IT REFLECTS THE MUELLER REPORT SO MUCH IN TERMS OF THE REDACTIONS.

THEIR POSITION, FIRST OF ALL, THEY DIDN'T PUBLICLY RELEASE IT.

WHEN THEY WERE FORCED TO DO SO, THEY TURNED OVER A PARTIAL VERSION OF THE THING.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S UNDER THAT REPORT BECAUSE THEY BLACKED OUT SO MUCH OF IT.

I THINK THE PUBLIC SHOULD SEE WHAT'S YOU UNDERSTAND THAT.

MY UNDERSTANDING OF IT IS, WELL, PART OF THE REASON THEY DIDN'T WANT TO RELEASE IT WAS, SOME OF IT IS UNSUBSTANTIATED.

SO THERE WAS SOME OTHER ALLEGATION IN THERE THAT THEY DIDN'T DISCLOSE.

WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE ALLEGATION IS AND WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE RESULTS OF THE ALLEGATION ARE.

WE KNOW THERE ARE THREE FULL PAGES ARE BLACKED OUT.

THEY DID A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF INVESTIGATING BUT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

THEN THEY BLACKED OUT THE NAMES OF EVERYBODY EXCEPT FOR THE MAYOR.

YOU CANNOT TELL WHAT THE NAMES OF THE DEVELOPERS ARE.

WE COULD FIGURE OUT A COUPLE OF THEM.

BUT YOU CAN'T TELL.

AND YOU CANNOT TELL THE DOLLAR FIGURES.

HOW MUCH, WHEN THE MAYOR CALLED UP AND SAID, CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME MONEY?

HOW MUCH MONEY DID THE DEVELOPER, WHAT WAS THE CHECK?

AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT USUALLY WITH POLITICAL DONATIONS, THERE IS A $4950 CAP.

NOBODY CAN GIVE ANY CANDIDATE WITHIN AN ELECTION CYCLE MORE THAN $4950.

BUT WITH THE CAMPAIGN FOR ONE NEW YORK, THERE WAS, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT.

SOME OF THE CHECKS WERE FOR $25,000, $50,000, 100, 150, 250, AND $350,000 CHECKS THAT WENT TO THE MAYOR FOR PEOPLE DOING BUSINESS WITH THE CITY.

SO THEN DOES THIS BECOME AN ISSUE OF, THIS LOOKS REALLY BAD FOR THE MAYOR?

OR IS THERE ANY KIND OF LEGAL OR PERHAPS POLITICAL REPERCUSSIONS HE CAN POSSIBLY SUFFER FROM THIS?

POLITICAL?

HE'S THREATENING TO ANNOUNCE TO A CANDIDACY FOR THE WHITE HOUSE.

NOW, HOW DOES THIS PLAY IN DES MOINES?

I DON'T KNOW.

I THINK THAT IT IS A LEGITIMATE QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER THIS IS AN ETHICAL PERSON.

WELL, I THINK AS WE MOVE FORWARD WITH AT LEAST DEFINITELY THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, THAT WILL BECOME AN ISSUE SHOULD HE CHOOSE TO PUT HIS HAT IN THE RING.

CERTAINLY, PARTICULARLY IF HE'S RUNNING AGAINST A PRESIDENT WHO HAS HIMSELF CREATED A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF ETHICAL REPERCUSSIONS.

HOW CAN YOU RUN AGAINST SOMEONE LIKE TRUMP IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN ETHICAL ISSUES?

AND THE FIRST THING I WOULD SAY IS, WHY DON'T THEY JUST DISCLOSE THIS STUFF?

THERE'S A LACK OF TRANSPARENCY THAT DOES NOT HELP THE MAYOR MAKE THE ARGUMENT THAT HE'S THE MOST ETHICAL PERSON HE'S EVER MET.

AND HE HASN'T REALLY ADDRESSED THAT YET.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, WE'LL LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR REPORTING.

I'M SURE YOU WILL DEFINITELY PRESS HIM ON THAT.

MORE TO COME, DEFINITELY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON THE PROGRAM.

HAPPY TO BE HERE.

> 1986, PLACE, CHERNOBYL.

IN THE HEART OF THE UKRAINE WHERE A NUCLEAR REACTOR EXPLODED.

30 PEOPLE DIED AND 50,000 FLED THEIR HOMES.

RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT SPREAD TO AN AREA LARGER THAN LONG ISLAND, MAKING IT A VIRTUAL NO MAN'S LAND.

THE PLANT WAS ENCASED UNDER A GIANT DOME.

30 YEARS LATER, THAT DOME IS CRUMBLING AND CHERNOBYL'S THREAT IS ONCE AGAIN IMMINENT AS ANOTHER DISASTER LOOMS.

DEADLY RADIATION IS BEING RELEASED.

CHERNOBYL.

A CATASTROPHIC NUCLEAR DISASTER.

THREATENING AGAIN.

NOW ENGINEERS BUILD A MASSIVE STRUCTURE TO PREVENT ANOTHER RADIOACTIVE CRISIS.

EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

BUILDING CHERNOBYL.

NOW MORE THAN 30 YEARS LATER, THERE ARE MANY QUESTIONS STILL LINGERING ABOUT WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED THE NIGHT OF THE TRAGEDY.

HERE TO BRING US SOME INSIGHT, ADAM, WHO IS THE AUTHOR OF MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL.

NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE WITH US.

THANK YOU.

I HAVE TO TELL YOU, THIS READS LIKE A NOVEL.

LIKE A MYSTERY DISASTER NOVEL WHICH I SHOWN A COMPLIMENT.

THAT WAS THE IDEA.

YES.

YOU ACHIEVE IT.

FIRST QUESTION IS, OF MOST AUTHORS, WHAT DREW YOU TO THE STORY AND TO MAKE DECIDE IT'S TIME TO WRITE THIS?

WELL, MY REPORTING ON THE STORY GOES BACK QUITE A LONG WAYS IN 2006.

I INITIALLY WENT TO RUSSIA AND UKRAINE TO WRITE A MAGAZINE STORY.

AT THAT POINT I WAS JUST INTERESTED IN RECONSTRUCTING THE EVENT THROUGH THE ACCOUNTS OF EYEWITNESSES.

WHEN I BEGAN TALKING TO THEM, I REALIZED THERE WAS MORE TO THE STORY THAN I HAD KNOWN ABOUT.

AND BOOKS WERE BEING WRITTEN TO THAT POINT.

AND SO THEN I KNEW THERE WAS A MORE, A FULLER ACCOUNT TO BE WRITTEN.

AND THEN I WENT BACK AGAIN IN 2011 FOR ANOTHER STORY.

AND AT THAT POINT, THIS WAS ABOUT A TOTALLY DIFFERENT ASPECT OF THE ACCIDENT.

ABOUT THE ECOLOGICAL ASPECT.

THE WILDLIFE.

THERE IS THIS IDEA THAT IT HAD BECOME A RADIOACTIVE SAFARI PARK WHERE ANIMALS THRIVE IN SPITE OF RADIATION.

I WAS REPORTING ON THAT.

AT THAT POINT I DID SOMETHING IN THE COURSE OF REPORTING.

I WENT TO PLACES, AND I SWORE I WOULD NEVER GO BACK AGAIN.

THEN ABOUT THREE YEARS LATER, I FOUND MYSELF SITTING AT MY DESK THINKING, THERE'S THIS OTHER PART OF THE STORY.

AT THAT POINT, I REALIZED THAT I HAD TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT IT.

IT PULLED YOU IN.

YES.

WHEN YOU SAID YOU WENT BACK AND YOU WERE SURPRISED BY THINGS, WHAT WAS IT THAT YOU THINK, LET'S FOCUS FIRST ON THE EVENT ITSELF AND THE FOLLOW-UP.

THE INITIAL ATTEMPT TO COVER UP.

DID YOU LEARN THINGS ABOUT THAT THAT YOU HAD NOT KNOWN BEFORE?

THROUGH YOUR OTHER REPORTING?

WELL, THAT WAS ONE OF THE MAIN POINTS THAT DREW ME IN IN 2006 WHEN I REALIZED, EVEN THE READING I HAD DONE.

I HAD DONE A LOT OF STUFF TO BEGIN REPORTING IN THE RUSSIAN UKRAINE.

ONE OF THE STANDARD QUESTIONS, I ASKED ALL THE EYEWITNESSES IN 2006, WHAT TO YOU IS THE MOST FRIGHTENING MOMENT OF THE EVENT?

OBVIOUSLY, I EXPECTED PEOPLE TO SAY, WELL, I WAS IN THE BUILDING AND THIS TREMENDOUS EXPLOSION, I THOUGHT THE WAR WITH AMERICANS HAD BEGUN.

WHICH IS WHAT ONE PERSON SAID TO ME.

THIS ONE GUY IS A PHYSICSIST WHO HAD ENORMOUS EXPERIENCE SERVING IN THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY.

I ASKED HIM THIS QUESTION.

HE DIDN'T SAY THAT.

HE SAID FOR ME, THE MOST FRIGHTENING MOMENT, MAY 5 OR 6, WHEN ME AND ALL THE OTHER PHYSICSISTS AROUND THE PLANT THOUGHT THERE WOULD BE A SECOND EXPLOSION.

IT WOULD BE EVEN MORE EXPLOSIVE AND WE THOUGHT WE WOULD DIE.

SO AT THAT POINT, HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS?

THAT TO ME WAS THE MOST SURPRISING THING?

YOU TALK ABOUT IT IN THE BOOKS.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE NOTION THAT THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN PREDICTABLE.

PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE THE CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT WAS?

TO GO BACK INTO THE STRUCTURE AND THE NATURE OF THE SOVIET UNION.

IT WAS BUILT ON SECRECY AND LIES.

BUT THE APPROXIMATE CAUSES WERE THE DESIGN FAULTS IN THE REACTOR.

THE PEOPLE THAT BUILT AND DESIGNED IT KNEW ABOUT IT.

MORE THAN TEN YEARS THAT THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED.

SO THAT ALONE, YOU KNOW, WAS AN INDICATION THAT THERE WERE PEOPLE WITHIN THE NUKE INDUSTRY.

WITHIN THE MINISTRY OF NEEDING MACHINES ALL DAY.

THE MONO LITHIC MINISTRY OF THE SOVIET UNION THAT RAN NOT ONLY THE ATOM WEAPONS PROGRAM BUT ALSO ALL THE FUEL CYCLES FOR THE CIVILIAN STATION.

THOSE PEOPLE KNEW THERE WERE THESE PROBLEMS.

THEY COVERED THEM UP.

MINIMIZED THEM AND KEPT DETAILS EVEN FROM THE PEOPLE WHO OPERATED THE PLANT.

LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR VISITS BACK.

IN CHERNOBYL NOW.

AND I WAS STRUCK BY THE FACT THAT THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE THAT ARE STILL ALIVE, THAT HAD BEEN THERE, AND I THINK SOME OF THEM ARE STILL, THIS ONE IS INVOLVED IN THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY.

THAT WAS SOMETHING I WAS SURPRISED BY RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING 12 YEARS AGO.

I THOUGHT I WOULD FIND PEOPLE WHO ARE PERIPHERAL TO IT.

AMONG THE FIRST PEOPLE I MET, THEY WERE PEOPLE INSIDE THE PLANT AT THE INSTANT OF THE EXPLOSION.

NOT ONLY SURVIVED THAT BUT SURVIVED UNTIL THE PRESENT DAY.

THERE IS ONE GUY, BORIS, WHO I INTERVIEWED A COUPLE OF TIMES WHO WAS IN THE CONTROL ROOM AT THE MOMENT OF THE EXPLOSION.

AND HE NOT ONLY SURVIVED BUT THEN WENT BACK TO WORK IN THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY AND THEN RECENTLY WAS APPOINTED THE HEAD OF THE UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR SAFETY BOARD.

HOW ABOUT THE AFTERMATH?

IT LOOKS LIKE MEDICALLY, THE PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN IN THE PLANT, THE PEOPLE AROUND THE PLANT, WHAT DID YOU FIND ABOUT THAT?

WELL, I MEAN, THE PEOPLE WHO RECEIVED THE WORST LEVELS OF EXPOSURE IN THE HOURS AND DAYS AFTER THE EXPLOSION, YOU KNOW, THEY SUFFERED VERY SEVERE RADIATION INDUSTRIES.

AND MANY, THE 30 PEOPLE YOU MENTIONED, THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO DIED.

OTHER PEOPLE WERE AFFECTED BUT RECOVERED.

SO THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE THAT I SPOKE TO WHO SPENT MONTHS IN HOSPITAL.

BUT EVENTUALLY, THEIR HEALTH RECOVERED AND THEN THEY HAD TO LIVE WITH THE LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT HAPPENED.

THEY WOULD KEEP GOING FOR TWREMT SKIN GRAFTS, REMAIN ON MEDICATION.

AND THOSE PEOPLE COULD NEVER RETURN TO WORK AT A NUCLEAR PLAN BECAUSE OF THEIR EXISTING RADIATION EXPOSURE.

BUT IF YOU'RE ASKING MORE BROADLY ABOUT PEOPLE IN THE WIDER POPULATION, YOU KNOW, THERE WERE 5 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE AREAS THAT WERE WORST AFFECTED.

IN UKRAINE, BELARUS.

AND REALLY, NO KIND OF COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF THEIR HEALTH HAS EVER BEEN DONE.

IT'S BEEN DONE PIECEMEAL.

SO AT THIS POINT, PARTLY BECAUSE OF THAT AND BECAUSE THE SOVIETS ATTEMPTED TO COVER UP AND MINIMIZE WHAT HAPPENED, WE'LL PROBABLY NEVER KNOW WHAT THE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF THE ACCIDENT FOR THOSE PEOPLE ARE.

AS I AM IN THE BEGINNING, IT IS A MARVELOUS READ.

IT DOES INDEED READ LIKE A NOVEL.

AND CERTAINLY IT TELLS US SO MUCH.

EVEN PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT THEY KNEW EVERYTHING THERE WAS TO KNOW ABOUT CHERNOBYL WILL BE SHOCKED WHEN THEY REALIZE HOW MUCH THEY DIDN'T KNOW.

THANKS FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

APPRECIATE IT.

THANK YOU.

CONGRATULATIONS.

GREAT WORK.

THANK YOU.

> THE PLAY IS A PLAY WITH A POSSIBLE MURDER, ADULTERY, WALT DISNEY, A MUNCHKIN, ROMAN POLANSKI AND A LOBSTER.

IN OTHER WORDS, A VERY WEIRD AND VERY FUNNY PLAY MADE ALL THE FUNNIER BY THE LEAD ACTOR, JOHN LARROQUETTE.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US HERE.

YOU'RE RIGHT.

TO SAY WHAT THE STORY IS ABOUT IS A BIT CHALLENGING.

WHAT DO YOU SAY THE PLAY IS ABOUT?

A MAN IS CONFRONTED WITH HIS PAST EXPERIENCE BY THESE TWO VISITORS.

AND HE DECIDES TO TELL THE AUDIENCE IN ESSENCE WHAT HAPPENED.

BUT MEMORY IS FAULTY, FIRST OF ALL.

AND IT IS SUBBIVE.

AND SO HE TELLS THE STORY.

AND I DON'T NECESSARILY THINK THAT IT IS REALLY WHAT HAPPENED AT ALL.

IT'S WHAT HE REMEMBERED HAPPENED.

I'VE BEEN OFTEN ASKED TO WRITE A MEMOIR, WHICH I DON'T THINK I WILL, BUT I WILL SAY THIS IS A TRUE STORY AND SOME OF IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

AND I THINK WITH JOHN'S WRITING, YOU KNOW, IT IS THAT WAY.

HOW FAULTY IS OUR MEMORY?

CONSTRUCT YOUR MEMORY.

THERE ARE THOSE ELEMENTS IN IT AND JOHN IS A GREAT WRITER, A SURREAL COMEDY WRITER BUT ALSO TOUCHES ON DEEP ISSUES.

YES, WHEN I SAW IT, TO ME, IT WAS LIKE FARCICAL DAVID LYNCH MOVIE.

WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU HAVE, TO ME, YOU HAVE TO USE DREAM LOGIC.

IT ALL FITS INTO PLACE.

THAT'S THE WAY I SAW IT.

YOU CAN SEE THE SAME THING HAPPENING TO PEOPLE ALL AROUND ME.

YOU'RE VERY CLOSE TO THE AUDIENCE.

HOW TO THEY RESPOND?

I CAN SEE THEM AND I LOOK AT THEM.

I TALK TO YOU.

I TALK TO THE AUDIENCE.

AND SOMETIMES IT OFFPUTTING.

I TRY NOT TO FOCUS COMPLETELY.

IF YOU LOOK AT SOMEBODY TELLING YOU SOMETHING AND THEY'RE GOING -- YOU WONDER, THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.

I'D BETTER MOVE.

ON AS AN ACTORTION YOU DON'T WANT IT TO AFFECT YOUR PERFORMANCE SO MOSTLY I TRY TO LOOK INTO THE DARK, LIKE AT THE FOURTH ROW.

BUT I CAN TELL WITHIN 30 SECONDS OF THE LIGHTS GOING UP IF THE AUDIENCE IS LEANING FORWARD, READY FOR THE STORY OR IF THEY'RE HELEANING BACK SAYING, SHOW ME.

IF THEY'RE LEANING BACK, SHOW ME, THEN IT'S MY JOB TO SHOW THEM BUT NOT TO REACH OUT AND GRAB THEM BECAUSE THAT MAKES YOU RECOIL MORE.

YOU JUST DO THE PLAY.

WE'VE REHEARSED IT ENOUGH.

JERRY IS A GREAT DIRECTOR AND WE HAVE OUR SCHEMATIC FOR EVERY NIGHT THAT WE TRY TO DUPLICATE.

THE PLAY IS THE PLAY.

HOW YOU RECEIVE IS IT REALLY NOT MY CONCERN.

IT SHOULDN'T BE.

BECAUSE IF I'M CONCERNED WITH HOW YOU RECEIVE IT, I MIGHT ALTER IT TRYING TO GET YOU TO RECEIVE IT AND THEN WE LOSE THE HEART OF IT.

THIS IS A PLAY WHERE YOU'RE IN EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY SCENE.

NOT ONLY THAT, YOU'RE THE CENTER IN WHICH EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE ROTATES.

THE JUGULAR WHO KEEPS ALL THESE BIZARRE PLATES UP IN THE AIR.

DIDN'T YOU THINK IT MIGHT BE A BIT DAUNTING?

I WAS AN IDIOT.

I THOUGHT, I HAVE NOT DONE SOMETHING LIKE THIS OBVIOUSLY FOR A LONG TIME.

AND I WAS SITTING AT HOME WITH ELIZABETH, MY WIFE.

AND I SAID, YOU KNOW, CAN I CARRY THIS WATER AT MY AGE?

I'M NOT YOUNG ANYMORE.

BY ANY DEFINITION.

EXCEPT MAYBE A TORTOISE.

AND I THOUGHT, IT IS A CHALLENGE BUT I HAVE TO TAKE IT ON BECAUSE OF WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE.

AS I SAY, MOST PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE PLAY, IT IS VERY AL.

BUT 'WALL STREET JOURNAL' CRITIC SAID THIS ABOUT IT.

I LAUGHED AT ITS WILD PLOT TWISTS, LOUDLY AND A LOT BUT I ALSO WATCHED THE LAST SCENE THROUGH TEARS.

I DIDN'T WATCH THE LAST SCENE THROUGH TEARS EXACTLY BUT I KNOW WHAT HE MEANS.

THERE IS A TRANSFORMATION IN YOUR CHARACTER.

IT IS A MILD, GENTLE VERSION OF EBENEZER SCROOGE IN THE CHRISTMAS CAROL.

YOU SEE HER RECONNECT WITH HIS HUMANITY.

IS THAT TOO MUCH?

I DON'T THINK AT ALL.

I THINK WHEN HE, ONE OF THE CHALLENGES FOR ME WAS TO THINK, TO DECIDE WHEN HE RECOGNIZES THEM FROM HIS PAST.

WHEN THEY COME INTO THE OFFICE WITH THE BOOK, NOT GIVING AWPLO.

THAT'S WHAT IT IS.

HE LOVED THESE KIDS.

HE TRIED TO HELP THEM ESCAPE FROM WHATEVER SITUATION.

HOW MUCH OF IT IS REAL, WHO KNOWS?

I BELIEVE, BECAUSE THE MAY HAS BEEN CUT SOMEWHAT, THERE WAS EVEN MORE ON STAINING ABOUT HIS TRYING TO HELP THEIR PRESENT TIME LIFE.

NOW IT IS JUST GIVING THEM SOMETHING OF THEIR MOTHER.

AND YES, HE COULD HAVE SAID, KIDS, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

HE TRIED TO GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO MAKE THEIR LIVES MORE COMPLETE.

TO PUT A SMALL PEACE OF MIND.

WE'RE OUT OF TIME.

THIS PLAY ENDS MAY 5.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS COMING UP AFTER THAT?

ANY MORE NARRATIONS?

ANY NEW VERSION OF THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW --

ISN'T IT AMAZING THAT THAT STICKS AROUND 45, 50 YEARS LATER?

? NO.

MY ONLY PLANS ARE TO KILL SOME FISH AND EAT THEM.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.

NANTUCKET SLEIGH RIDE IS PLAYING THROUGH MAY 5.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, YOU CAN VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

> BEFORE WE LET YOU GO TONIGHT, LET ME TELL BUT A WONDERFUL EXTENSION TO 'METROFOCUS.'

OUR NEW TWICE WEEKLY PODCAST WITH ME AS YOUR HOST.

ON IT, WE'LL GET TO EXPLORE IN DEPTH CONVERSATION THAT'S ARE A LITTLE LESS FILTERED THAN THEY ARE ON TELEVISION AND A LOT MORE INTIMATE.

ON THE PODCAST, I'LL TALK TO AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SET OF GUESTS WITH AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ATTITUDE.

THE PRICE OF JOINING THIS PODCAST, COMPLETE WITH NEW YORKERS FROM THE STREETS TO CITY HALL AND FROM WALL STREET TO BROADWAY?

ABSOLUTELY FREE.

SO HEAD ON OVER TO iTUNES OR SOUND CLOUD TO JOIN ME IN THIS ECLECTIC MIX OF PERSONALITIES AS WE EXPLORE OUR CITY WITH UNIQUE 'METROFOCUS.'

FRESH NEW CONTEXT EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY.

I'LL SEE YOU THERE.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019