METROFOCUS: APRIL 4, 2019

April 05, 2019 at 5:30 am

New York sued the Sackler family, the billionaire owners of the company that produces OxyContin. The lawsuit, brought by Attorney General Letitia James, alleges that members of the family used false and deceptive marketing practices to sell its highly addictive opioid painkiller. Tonight, we’ll take a look at the family and the lawsuit. Guest host Billy Crystal sits down with baseball legend Joe Torre and his wife, Ali Torre, for the first of a two-part interview about Joe’s journey as a survivor of domestic abuse and their work to keep all children safe.

Aired on April 4, 2019. 

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>>> TONIGHT ON "METROFOCUS."
GUEST HOST BILLY CRYSTAL SITS
DOWN FOR THE FIRST OF A TWO-PART
INTERVIEW ABOUT JOE'S JOURNEY AS
A SURVIVOR OF DOMESTIC ABUSE AND
WHAT BOTH HE AND ALLEY ARE DOING
TO KEEP THEM SAFE AT HOME.
AN INTERVIEW YOU DON'T WANT TO
MISS.
FIRST, NEW YORK SUES THE
BILLIONAIRE FAMILY BEHIND
OXYCONTIN.
THE LAWSUIT ALLEGES THAT MEMBERS
OF THAT FAMILY USED FALSE AND
DECEPTIVE MARKETING PRACTICES TO
SELL ITS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE OPIOID
PAINKILLERS.
WHO ARE THEY?
DO THEY BEAR THE HUGE SHARE OF
THE OPIOID CRISIS?
WE'LL TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THE
FAMILY BEHIND THE LAWSUIT 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 --
>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS."
HERE'S A SHOCKING STATISTIC.
IN NEW YORK STATE, NINE PEOPLE
DIE EVERY DAY AS A RESULT OF
OPIOID RELATE OVERDOSES.
NOW A MASSIVE NEW LEGAL BATTLE
IS ACCUSING THE FAMILY IT SAYS
IS BEHIND THE CRISIS.
NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL
LETISHA JAMES HAS ANNOUNCED AN
EXTENSIVE LAWSUIT AGAINST THE
BILLIONAIRE FAMILY WHO OWNS THE
MAKERS OF OXYCONTIN, THE DRUG
MANY CLAIM SPARKED THE NATIONAL
OPIOID CRISIS.
THE SUIT ACCUSES THE FAMILY OF
PUTTING PROFITS BEFORE PATIENT
SAFETY.
THOSE IN THE LAWSUIT HAVE
VIGOROUSLY DENIED THE
ALLEGATIONS.
WILL THIS NEW LEGAL FIGHT MAKE A
DIFFERENCE?
AND WHAT OTHER STEPS CAN BE
TAKEN TO COMBAT THIS EPIDEMIC.
HERE TO ANSWER, A PULITZER PRIZE
WINNING "NEW YORK TIMES"
REPORTER WHO WAS THE FIRST
JOURNALIST TO SHED A NATIONAL
SPOTLIGHT ON THE ABUSE OF
OXYCONTIN IN HIS RECENTLY
RERELEASED BOOK, PAINKILLER.
AN EMPIRE OF DECEIT AND THE
ORIGIN OF AMERICA'S OPIOID
EPIDEMIC.
THIS NEED AND THIS HUNGER FOR
THIS DRUG, BUT WHEN IT CAME TO
THE MARKETING OF OXYCONTIN, WHAT
IS IT EXACTLY THE SACKLER FAMILY
IS BEING ACCUSED OF?
>> WELL, THEY'RE BEING ACCUSED
MOST BASICALLY OF DOWN PLAYING
THE RISK, THE RISK OF ADDICTION,
AND HYPING THE BENEFITS OF THE
DRUG.
NOW THESE DRUGS ARE VALUABLE.
THEY'RE USED BY CANCER PATIENTS,
BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE LONG RUNNING
CHRONIC PAIN, AFTER ACCIDENTS TO
DEAL WITH INTENSE PAIN.
BUT BASICALLY, THE MARKETING OF
OXYCONTIN WAS BASED ON WHAT WE
KNOW NOW TO BE A LIE.
WHICH WAS THAT IT COULD BE USED
SAFELY FOR ALL KINDS OF PAIN.
DENTAL PAIN, SPORTS PAIN, COMMON
TYPES OF BACK PAIN.
AND YOU KNOW, IT WAS ALL
PREDICATED ON THE IDEA THAT
BECAUSE OXY COBJEXYCONTIN HAD A
FORMULATION, IT HAD A LONG
LASTING DRUG, IT LASTED LONGER
THAN PERCOCET OR VICODIN, THAT
IT WOULD BE LESS PRONE TO ABUSE.
THE FDA GAVE THE SACKLERS AND
PURDUE PHARMA THE RIGHT TO MAKE
THAT CLAIM.
BUT IT BECAME KNOWN SOON AFTER
IT CAME ON THE MARKET IN THE MID
1990s THAT IT WAS LIKE CANDY TO
PEOPLE WHO ABUSE DRUGS.
>> YOU JUST NAMED SEVERAL OTHER,
EITHER INDUSTRIES OR AGENCIES
THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN STEPS ALONG
THE WAY FOR OXY COULDN'TIN TO
GET ON TO THE MARKET AND FLOODED
THE WAY THAT IT DID.
SO IT RAISES THE QUESTION.
WHO IS REALLY AT FAULT HERE?
IS IT FAIR TO BLAME THE SACKLER
FAMILY?
>> ABSOLUTELY NOT.
PURDUE PHARMA BEARS A PORTION OF
THE BLAME.
IT IS EXTRAORDINARY.
HAVING COVERED THIS FOR YEARS,
LAYING IT OUT IN THE BOOK AND
OTHER PLACES, IT WAS COLOSSAL
FAILURE OF REGULATORS,
LAWMAKERS, POLITICIANS FOR YEARS
I WATCHED AS THE DEATH TOLL
STARTED GOING UP AND UP AND UP,
YEAR AFTER YEAR AFTER YEAR.
AND THERE WAS NO ONE WHO STOOD
UP TO TRY TO STOP IT.
TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
A HANDFUL OF ADVOCATES.
AGAINST A MOUNTAIN.
AND AGAINST AN INDUSTRY WHOSE
LOBBYISTS WERE FLUSHED WITH CASH
AND COULD STOP ANY LAW THAT
MIGHT HAVE FORCED PEOPLE TO PULL
BACK.
>> SO LET'S TALK A LITTLE ABOUT
THIS LAWSUIT THAT'S HAPPENING
NOW WITH THE STATE OF NEW YORK.
FIRST, I WANT TO BACK UP A
LITTLE BIT AND SAY THAT THIS IS
GOING ON AFTER THE STATE OF
OKLAHOMA ALSO HAD A SIMILAR
LAWSUIT THAT THEY BROUGHT
AGAINST PURDUE PHARMA AND THE
SACKLERS.
AND I BELIEVE THEY WON?
>> WELL, THERE WAS A SETTLEMENT.
SO BASICALLY, IN A SETTLEMENT,
EVERYBODY SAYS, FORGET
EVERYTHING THAT WE SAID.
BEFORE TODAY, YOU KNOW, WE
RAISED ALL KINDS OF HORRIBLE
CLAIMS AGAINST YOU.
AND WEAPON YOU WERE TERRIBLE.
YOU KNOW WHAT?
WE'LL TAKE YOUR MONEY NOW.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO ADMIT THAT YOU
DID ANYTHING WRONG.
WE'LL JUST CALL IT A DAY AND GO
OUR SEPARATE WAYS.
THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED IN
OKLAHOMA.
HERE IN NEW YORK STATE, IN MANY
OTHER STATES, YOU HAVE
SITUATIONS WHERE THESE LAWSUITS
ARE GOING FORWARD.
SO THE QUESTION IS, WILL THEY
COME TO TRIAL?
WILL THE ACCLAIMS BE POOPING OUT
AT TRIAL OR WILL THEY BE SETTLED
OUT ALONG THE WAY?
>> WELL, WHAT DO WE KNOW WITH
THE SETTLEMENT THAT OKLAHOMA WAS
GIVEN, DID THAT MONEY GO TO
SOMETHING?
DID IT GO TO OPIOID TREATMENT?
TO PREVENTION PROGRAMS?
WHAT BECAME OF THAT?
>> SO IT WAS $270 MILLION WAS
THE SIZE OF THE SETTLEMENT.
BIBL $120 OR SO OF THAT WENT TO
FUND AN ADDICTION TREATMENT
STUDY CENTER.
AND IN OKLAHOMA UNIVERSITY, TO
LOOK AT WAYS OF TREATING PEOPLE
WHO ARE ADDICTED TO DRUGS, ABOUT
10 OR $FIEN MILLION WENT TO
TREATING PEOPLE, IT WENT TO
LAWYERS FEES, AS ALWAYS.
AND YOU KNOW, THAT'S HOW THAT
BROKE DOWN.
THAT STRUCTURE WON'T HAPPEN IN
EVERY PLACE, OR WITH EVERY
COMPANY.
THERE ARE SO MANY ADDICTION
TREATMENT CENTERS YOU NEED.
A LOT OF THIS MONEY SHOULD BE
GOING TO ADDICTION TREATMENT
DEALING WITH THE CRISIS THAT WE
HAVE.
SO WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE
LAWSUIT AGAINST THE SACKLERS AND
PURDUE PHARMA, I'M WONDERING, IS
IT ALMOST WORTH IT IF, THIS
COULD BE DRAGGED OUT IN COURT.
I UNDERSTAND THERE ARE SEVERAL
DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF TREATMENT
AND TREATMENT DRUGS THAT PURDUE
PHARMA IS INVOLVED IN.
THERE ARE A LOT OF WAYS THEY
SAID NO.
YES, WE DID PRODUCE THIS DRUG
BUT WE ALSO PRODUCED THIS
PARTICULAR, I GUESS, NOT
NECESSARILY CURE BUT SOMETHING
THAT WORKS AGAINST ADDICTION
TREATMENT DRUGS.
OR THAT WE'VE DONATED MONEY TO
THIS ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTER,
ET CETERA.
LIKE HOW DIFFICULT A ROAD WOULD
THIS BE TO TAKE THEM TO COURT?
>> IN TERMS OF THOSE PARTICULAR
THINGS, THEY'VE ONLY GIVEN MONEY
FOR ADDICTION TREATMENT AS A
RESULT OF THE OKLAHOMA
SETTLEMENT.
THEY HADN'T DONE IT PRIOR TO
THAT.
THE RECORD IS PRETTY CLEAR.
THEY NEVER, THEY CONSIDERED
PRODUCING ADDICTION TREATMENT
DRUGS.
THEY GOT PATENTS ON THEM BUT
THEY NEVER ACTUALLY WENT TO
MARKET.
THERE ARE MANY DRUGS TO TREAT
ADDICTION, OR SEVERAL OF THEM,
THAT ARE ALREADY ON THE MARKET.
IN TERMS OF WHAT THE CLAIMS ARE,
WHAT THE PLAINTIFFS, THE STATE
WOULD HAVE TO SHOW IS
ESSENTIALLY THAT PURDUE AND
OTHER OPIOID MAKERS WERE
VIOLATING THE LAW.
THAT THEY KNOWINGLY WERE
MARKETING THESE DRUGS IN A WAY
THAT WAS CREATING MORE ADDICTION
THAN ONE WOULD WANT.
COSTS FOR THE STATES AND
LOCALITIES IN TERMS OF ADDICTION
TREATMENT AND POLICING AND
HOSPITAL COSTS.
IN SOME WAYS, THESE LAWSUITS ARE
SIMILAR TO THE LAWSUITS I
COVERED BACK IN THE LATE 1990s
FOR THE TIMES AGAINST THE
TOBACCO INDUSTRY.
PEOPLE SMOKED.
THEY GOT SICK FROM SMOKING.
STATES HAD LARGE COSTS RELATED
TO THE TREATMENT OF THOSE PEOPLE
WHO BECAME ILL WITH LUNG CANCER
AND OTHER DISEASES.
AND BASICALLY, THE STATES WERE
SAYING TO THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY,
OKAY, GUYS, IT IS YOUR TIME TO
PAY.
THAT'S WHAT'S GOING ON HERE.
>> ALL RIGHT.
SO THERE IS A ROAD MAP, LET'S
SAY, FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS TO
WORK OUT FOR THE STATE.
SO ONE OF THE THINGS I WANTED TO
ASK, SO MUCH OF THE CONVERSATION
AROUND THE SACKLER FAMILY HAS
BEEN PUSHING OXYCONTIN AS A DRUG
BUT THEY HAVE BEEN REALLY,
REALLY INVOLVED IN PHILANTHROPIC
ENDEAVOURS WHEN IT COMES TO THE
ARTS.
THERE'S HARDLY A MUSEUM YOU CAN
GO TO WHERE THEY HAVEN'T GIVEN A
SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MONEY.
>> IT'S FASCINATING.
WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I LOVED
GOING TO THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM
HERE IN NEW YORK AND GOING TO
THE TEMPLE WHERE THE WONDERFUL
EGYPTIAN ART FORMS WERE.
I LOVE THE ARCHAEOLOGY AND THAT
PARTICULAR BUILDING.
IT WAS ONLY LATER WHEN I WAS
RESEARCHING PAINKILLER THAT I
CAME ACROSS THE NAME SACKLER.
I'VE SEEN THIS NAME BEFORE.
THAT'S THE WING OF THE
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM WHERE THE
TEMPLE IS.
THAT NAME IS ALL OVER THE PLACE.
IT IS AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY, AT
THE NATIONAL GALLERY, THE
GUGGENHEIM, THE TATE GALLERY IN
LONDON, MEDICAL SCHOOLS IN
ISRAEL.
ALL OVER THE WORLD.
THE FAMILY HAS BEEN VERY
SUCCESSFUL, OR HAD, I SHOULD
SAY, BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL IN
SEPARATING THEIR PHILANTHROPIC
GIVING FROM THEIR BUSINESS
FORTUNE.
AND THE QUESTION OF WHERE WAS
ALL THIS COMING FROM?
IT IS GREAT TO HAVE THE TEMPLE
BUT IS IT COMING FROM DRUG
SALES?
IF SO, IS IT COMING FROM
LEGITIMATE DRUG SALES?
OR ARE PARTS OF IT COMING
INDIRECTLY FROM SALES OF THESE
DRUGS ON THE STREET?
AND THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE
LOOKING AT NOW.
SO THERE'S BEEN A SORT OF PUBLIC
SCRUTINY OF WHERE THE SACKLER
MONEY HAS COME FROM.
AND AS A RESULT OF THAT, SOME OF
THE MUSEUMS AND A GROWING NUMBER
ARE REJECTING IT.
>> OF COURSE.
WE SAW THAT WITH THE TATE IN
LONDON AND THAT INCREDIBLE
PERFORMANCE PIECE AT THE
GUGGENHEIM WHICH WAS REALLY
INTENSE.
I UNDERSTAND THAT HAD A DROPPING
OF ALL THE PRESCRIPTION PAPERS,
I GUESS, HAD A LARGER POINT TO
MAKE.
>> CERTAINLY A CONNECTION TO THE
LITIGATION GOING ON.
ONE OF THE LAWSUITS FILED BY THE
STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS, THERE IS
A SNIPPET FROM AN INTERNAL MEMO
IN WHICH RICHARD SACKLER, THE
SON OF THE FOUNDER, ONE OF THE
FOUNDERS OF PURDUE PHARMA SAYS,
WE'RE GOING TO PRODUCE A
BLIZZARD OF PRESCRIPTIONS.
LIKE A RALLYING CALL HE MADE.
GREAT WHEN THE DRUG WAS GOING ON
TO THE MARKET.
AND SO THIS DUMPING OF
PRESCRIPTIONS WITHIN THE
GUGGENHEIM KIND OF LOOKED LIKE A
SNOWFALL, OR A BLIZZARD OF
PRESCRIPTIONS.
>> WELL, FOR MORE INFORMATION ON
THAT AND THE REST, OF COURSE, OF
THE SORDID AND COMPLICATE TAY OF
OXYCONTIN, I CANNOT RECOMMEND
YOUR BOOK, "PAINKILLER" ENOUGH.
IT IS SOBERING TO READ, TO
UNDERSTAND HOW WE GOT HERE.
>> AGAIN, I REALLY APPRECIATE
IT.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
>>> I'M HERE TODAY WITH MY GREAT
FRIENDS.
I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT YOUR
GREAT ORGANIZATION, SAFE AT
HOME.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
>> DO YOU WANT TO TAKE IT?
>> OKAY.
WELL, THE SAFE AT HOME
FOUNDATION WAS ORGANIZED TO
CREATE AWARENESS ON AN ISSUE
THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DO NOT
DISCUSS.
THAT'S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, FAMILY
ADVICE AND ABUSE.
SAFE AT HOME WAS FOUNDED TO
START OUT BY GETTING PEOPLE TO
REALLY DISCUSS IT AND TALK ABOUT
IT.
AND FORTUNATELY, OR
UNFORTUNATELY, JOE HAD A STORY
TO TELL.
AND HE CAME OUT AND SHARED THAT
WITH THE NEW YORK METRO AREA.
AND HE'LL PROBABLY SHARE THAT A
LITTLE BIT MORE IN THIS
INTERVIEW.
BUT IT REALLY PUT A LIGHT ON AN
ISSUE THAT IS KEPT A SECRET.
AND WHAT WE WANTED PEOPLE TO
LEARN ABOUT THE ISSUE IS THAT IT
IS NOT JUST A WOMAN'S ISSUE.
THAT FOR EVERY WOMAN WHO GOES
INTO A SHELTER, THERE ARE TWO TO
THREE CHILDREN WHO GO WITH HER.
AND JOE EXPERIENTIALED THIS AS A
CHILD AND WE WANTED PEOPLE TO
FOCUS ON THAT AND LET THEM
UNDERSTAND THE REPERCUSSIONS OF
GROWING UP, WITNESSING DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE.
THE RAMIFICATIONS ARE SIMILAR TO
CHILD ABUSE.
EXPERIENCING CHILD ABUSE.
AND WE WANTED TO LEND OUR EFFORT
TO REALLY PUT A STOP TO THIS.
>> AT WHAT POINT DID YOU COME
FORWARD AS A COUPLE, AND AS
YOU'RE RECORDING AND NEWLY
MARRIED TO SAY I HAVE A PROBLEM
AT HOLE, WHEN DID YOU COME FACE
TO FACE TO TURN SOMETHING THAT
WAS TOUGH FOR YOU INTO SOMETHING
SO GOOD FOR YOU?
AND FOR OTHERS?
>> BILLY, IT MAY SOUND STRANGE.
I PLAYED MY WHOLE BASEBALL
CAREER REALLY AFRAID TO REALLY
TALK ABOUT A LOT OF MY FEELINGS.
MY NERVOUSNESS.
MY LOW SELF-ESTEEM.
I DIDN'T GO OUT FOR BASEBALL
BECAUSE I DID NOT THINK I WAS
GOOD ENOUGH.
>> WHY?
WHAT WAS THE CAUSE?
>> WELL, I WAS FINDING THIS OUT.
IN 1995, BELIEVE IT OR NOT,
ALLEY WAS PREGNANT WITH OUR
DAUGHTER.
WE WERE LIVING IN CINCINNATI AT
THE TIME.
IT WAS RIGHT AFTER I GOT FIRED
FROM THE CARDINALS.
WE MOVED TO CINCINNATI.
ALLEY'S HOME TOWN.
SHE SAID DO YOU WANT TO GO TO
THIS SEMINAR WITH ME?
IT WAS CALLED LIFE'S SUCCESS.
I SAID YES BECAUSE SHE ASKED ME.
I HAD NO CLUE WHAT IT WAS.
WHEN I GET THERE, I SAID, OH,
WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO?
A LOT OF PEOPLE I DON'T KNOW.
IT LOOKED LIKE A VERY PERSONAL
THING.
THEY SPLIT YOU UP IN GROUPS AND
I WASN'T WITH ALLEY.
SHE WAS PUT IN A SEPARATE GROUP.
COME TO FIND OUT IT WAS SORT OF
A SELF-HELP.
WHATEVER YOU WANTED TO DEAL WITH
OR TRY TO DEAL WITH WAS WHAT YOU
COULD DO HERE.
A NUMBER OF CONFERENCES AND
SPEAKERS.
AND IT WAS A FOUR-DAY SEMINAR.
ABOUT DAY TWO OR THREE, AFTER
THIS ONE SPEAKER, SAYING A LOT
OF THINGS THAT HIT HOME WITH ME.
AND I WIND UP STANDING UP.
IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE GROUP.
AND I WAS CRYING.
BECAUSE I REALIZED, INSTEAD OF
BEING BORN WITH THE LOW
SELF-ESTEEM, INSTEAD OF BEING
BORN WITH THE NERVOUSNESS THAT I
THOUGHT WAS, I WAS SORT OF
EMBARRASSED ABOUT IT.
I DIDN'T WANT TO SHARE WITH IT
ANYBODY, THAT I HAD THESE
ENSECURITIES.
I REALIZED WHAT WAS GOING ON IN
MY HOME.
MY DAD WAS PHYSICALLY ABUSING MY
MOM, EMOTIONALLY ABUSING HER
ALSO.
AND THAT WAS WHAT CAUSED THIS.
SO THAT GAVE ME SORT OF THE
EXCITEMENT NOW THAT I KNOW, THIS
WAS SORT OF CREATED AFTER I WAS
BORN.
IT IS OKAY FOR ME TO TALK ABOUT
IT.
SO ALL DURING THAT TIME, A LONG
FANTASTIC CAREER, AND YOUR IMAGE
TO THE SPORTS WORLD WAS OF A
VERY CONFIDENT, CLASSY PLAYER.
AND WHAT'S THE FIRST THING THAT
YOU SAID WHEN YOU STOOD UP?
YOU HAD NO FEELING DURING THOSE
18 YEARS THAT THIS WAS BECAUSE I
WAS A PRODUCT OF THIS HOME?
>> NO.
I MEAN, I KNEW, I NEVER REALLY
TALKED A LOT.
ALLEY COULD TELL YOU I NEVER
REALLY TALKED A LOT ABOUT IT.
SHE KNEW MY MOM AND DAD HAD
DIVORCED WHEN I WAS 11 OR 12.
AND MY DAD WAS ABUSIVE.
I NEVER REALLY WENT INTO ANY
DETAILS.
DURING THAT TIME, I'M THE
YOUNGEST OF FIVE CHILDREN.
SO MY OLDER SIBINGS, TWO
SISTERS, TWO BROTHERS, THEY
PROTECTED ME OR TRIED TO PROTECT
ME FROM WHAT WAS GOING ON.
MY MOM WOULD NEVER TALK ABOUT
IT.
YOU COULD SEE EVIDENCE AND I WAS
IN THE HOUSE WHEN MY DAD DID NOT
LIKE WHAT SHE PUT ON THE TABLE
FOR LUNGE.
HE USED TO WORK NIGHTS SO HE ATE
AT UNUSUAL TIMES.
>> HE WAS A POLICE OFFICER.
>> HE WAS A POLICE DETECTIVE.
HE WOULD TAKE DISH AND THROW IT
AGAINST THE WALL AND I COULD
HEAR THAT.
ONE DAY, I WAS MAYBE 8 OR 9, HE
WENT IN THE DINING ROOM, WENT TO
THE DRAWER TO GET HIS REVOLVER
BECAUSE MY SISTER WAS, MY OLDER
SISTER RAE WAS TRYING TO PROTECT
MY MOM AND SHE SAID A KNIFE IN
HER HAND.
AND I'M AT THE OTHER CORNER OF
THE TABLE.
AND HE SAYS, PUT THE KNIFE DOWN.
HE WENT FOR HIS REVOLVER.
AND I WENT OVER AND TOOK THE
KNIFE OUT OF MY SISTER'S HAND
AND PUT IT ON THE DINING ROOM
TABLE.
SO THAT WAS REALLY THE ONE THING
THAT I DID WITNESS.
IT IS JUST WHAT WENT ON.
>> SO ALL THESE YEARS LATER, YOU
FIND YOURSELF IN THIS BALLROOM
IN THE HOTEL.
STANDING UP, WEEPING IN FRONT OF
STRANGERS.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU
SAID?
I CAME FROM AN ABUSED FAMILY.
>> YEAH.
WE WERE TALKING ABOUT MY FATHER
AND I WAS CRYING.
I DON'T KNOW.
YOU WERE THERE.
AND I DON'T KNOW IF YOU REMEMBER
WHAT IN.
IT IS BLURRY FOR ME.
THE ONLY THING I KNOW, IT
DRAMATICALLY AFFECTED ME.
AND I GOT UP, WHICH IS UNUSUAL
FOR ME BECAUSE I'M SHY.
ESPECIALLY IN FRONT OF
STRANGERS.
AND HERE I AM, I WAS JUST NAMED
YANKEE MANAGER.
THIS IS '95.
AND IT IS LIKE LATE NOVEMBER.
EARLY DECEMBER.
I WAS NAMED NOVEMBER 1st OR 2nd.
AND HERE I AM.
>> HE CAME HOME THAT EVENING AND
REALLY, WE WERE SEPARATED.
A LOT OF MEDITATION, THAT TYPE
OF THING.
AND THE MOST EMOTIONAL MOMENT
FOR ME WAS HIM CALLING HIS
SISTER AND SAYING, DID DAD HIT
MOM?
SO IT WAS BEING REVEALED TO HIM
IN BITS AND PIECES.
AND I KNEW JOE.
WE HAD BEEN TOGETHER MANY, MANY
YEARS.
HE HAD NEVER REALLY SHARED ANY
OF THIS WITH ME.
I WOULD ASK HIM ABOUT HIS
FATHER.
HE WOULD JUST GO AWAY.
FOR ALL OF THEM INCLUDING HIS
SISTERS AS THINGS STARTED TO
UNFOLD, WHICH WAS VERY
UNCOMFORTABLE AT FIRST.
THEY HAVE SUCH A SENSE OF RELIEF
JUST BY BEING ABLE TO DISCLOSE
IT.
TO TALK ABOUT IT.
AND NOT THAT THEY'RE BLAMING
THEIR DAD OR ANYTHING.
IT KIND OF OPENED THE DOOR TO
HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF PEACE.
>> SO WHEN DID YOU TWO DECIDE TO
CREATE SAFE AT HOME?
AND IT HAS A DOUBLE MEANING.
YOU SPENT SO MANY OF YOUR YEARS
BEHIND HOME PLATE SO HOME HAS A
SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE WITH THIS.
WHEN DID YOU TWO DECIDE AS A
COUPLE, THIS IS WHAT WE CAN DO
TOGETHER?
>> WELL, WE WERE GOING TO NEW
YORK.
WE ALWAYS DEALT WITH CHARITIES
INVOLVING CHILDREN.
WE TALKED ABOUT IT.
AND SHE ASKED ME, WHAT CHARITY
DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD GET
INVOLVED WITH?
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
IT SORT OF CAUGHT HER OFF GUARD.
I NEVER REALLY WANTED TO TALK
ABOUT IT AND HERE I WAS WANTING
TO CALL ATTENTION TO IT.
IT TOOK US A LITTLE TIME TO
FIGURE OUT HOW WE WANTED TO DO
THIS.
>> CREATING FOUNDATIONS THAT YOU
HOPE WILL BE A WIDE SCALE
OPERATION.
VERY DIFFICULT TO DO.
>> YES.
IT WAS ALLEY AND MY DAUGHTER
TINA WHO REALLY COME UP WITH THE
CONCEPT OF EDUCATION.
SO THAT LED TO THIS SAFE ROOM IN
SCHOOLS.
AND I SUGGESTED NAMING IT AFTER
MY MOM MARGARET'S PLACE.
IF YOU'RE GOING TO END THE CYCLE
OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, YOU HAVE
TO DO IT THROUGH EDUCATION AS
OPPOSED TO MAYBE OPENING A SAFE
HOUSE IN MY MOM'S NAME, WHICH
WOULD BE BASICALLY TO SERVE,
OBVIOUSLY IT IS IMPORTANT TO
HAVE SAFE HOUSES TO PROTECT THE
ABUSED.
BUT IT WASN'T GOING TO WORK IN
MY MIND THE WAY WE NEEDED TO
AFFECT THE CHILDREN.
THIS WAS GOING TO DEAL WITH
CHILDREN AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS AND
HIGH SCHOOLS.
SO WE WENT THE EDUCATION ROUTE.
>> IT IS SO IMPORTANT THEY'RE IN
SCHOOLS.
THIS IS WHERE THIS STARTS.
THE YOUNG KIDS WHO HAVE NO ONE
TO TALK TO ABOUT IT.
THEY'RE AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT IT.
THEY MAY HAVE BEEN THREATENED
NOT TO TALK ABOUT IT.
NOW THEY COME TO THESE PLACES,
SO PERFECTLY NAMED, WHERE THEY
CAN EXCHANGE FEELINGS AND GOOD
THINGS COME OUT OF IT.
I'VE WENT AT ALL THE FUNCTIONS
PRETTY MUCH.
THE THRILL FOR ME IS SEEING THE
YOUNG PEOPLE COME UP AND TALK
ABOUT HOW THEY'RE NOT AFRAID TO
GO HOME ANYMORE.
HOW THEY'RE GOING ON TO COLLEGE.
THEY'RE GOING ON TO DO GREAT
THINGS IN THEIR LIVES.
IT IS SO IMPRESSIVE THAT THIS
HAS STARTED OUT OF YOUR OPWN PAN
AND HELPING OTHERS.
>> I KNOW WHAT THE MESSAGE IS.
WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, I NEVER
SHARED THIS WITH ANYBODY.
I WOULD GO TO MY FRIEND'S HOUSE
WAITING FOR MY DAD TO GO TO
WORK.
I DIDN'T WANT TO GO HOME BECAUSE
MY DAD WAS THERE.
WHEN WE STARTED OUR SAFE AT HOME
FOUNDATION, FRIENDS VERY CLOSE
TO ME HAD NO CLUE.
I WAS EMBARRASSED WHAT WAS GOING
ON IN MY HOME.
I FELT LIKE I WAS THE ONLY ONE
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD THAT HAD
THIS GOING ON.
SO THE MESSAGE WE GIVE THESE
YOUNG PEOPLE IS THAT FIRST OFF,
YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONES.
AND SECONDLY, IT IS NOT YOUR
FAULT.
BECAUSE A LOT OF TIMES, IN MY
HOME, BECAUSE MY SISTERS WERE
TRYING TO PROTECT ME.
I'M EIGHT AND A HALF YEARS
YOUNGER THAN THE NEXT YOUNGEST.
TIME YOUNGEST OF FIVE.
SO THERE WAS A LOT OF WHISPERING
GOING ON.
WHEN THAT HAPPENS, WHAT DID I DO
WRONG?
I MAY HAVE CAUSED THIS.
SO ALL THESE THINGS WERE GOING
THROUGH MY MIND.
SO THAT'S THE MENTION.
YOU'RE NOT ALONE.
TALK ABOUT IT.
AND WE GIVE YOUNG PEOPLE THE
TOOLS TO DEAL WITH WHAT'S GOING
ON IN THEIR LIVES.
AND IT REALLY MAKES A
DIFFERENCE.
WE KNOW IT WORKS.
IN THE YEARS WE'VE HAD
MARGARET'S PLACES, WE'VE HAD
OVER 55,000 YOUNG PEOPLE COME
THROUGH OUR PROGRAM.
>> WE'LL HAVE PART TWO OF BILLY
CRYSTAL'S INTERVIEW JOE AND
ALLEY TORRE TOMORROW.
FOR MORE, VISIT AT
"METROFOCUS".ORG.
>> "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.

Mutual of America PSEG

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.

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