METROFOCUS: FEBRUARY 21, 2020

The suspicious death of a popular high school football player raises painful questions about modern-day lynching in America. New Jersey politics meets #MeToo after critics call the Garden State’s male-dominated political culture a toxic environment.

Aired on February 21, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

WAS IT SUICIDE OR SOMETHING MORE SINISTER?

THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A POPULAR HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER RAISES PAINFUL AND DISTURBING QUESTIONS ABOUT MODERN DAY LYNCHING IN AMERICA.

THEY SAY HE HUNG HIMSELF.

HE WOULDN'T DO NOTHING LIKE THAT.

AND HE'S GOING TO FORCE FEED A LIE TO MY WHOLE ENTIRE FAMILY.

INDEPENDENT LENS REOPENS THE CASE AND THE HISTORY BOOKS FOR A CHILLING LESSON ON THE COUNTRY'S LEGACY OF VIOLENCE.

> THEN NEW JERSEY POLITICS CONFRONTS THE ME TOO MOVEMENT.

CRITICS CALL THE GARDEN STATE'S POLITICAL CULTURE TOXIC AND AFTER DECADES OF ALLEGED MYSOGYNY, SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ASSAULT, THERE MAY FINALLY BE A PLAN TO MAKE TRENTON AND BEYOND A SAFE SPACE FOR EVERYONE.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS '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 OF THE WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

WAS IT A MODERN DAY LYNCHING?

THAT'S AT THE HEART OF THE PAINFUL AND COMPELLING QUESTIONS.

17-YEAR-OLD LENNON LACY WAS A THAT TOER LA BLACK NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER WHO WAS FOUND HANGING FROM A SWING SET BACK IN 2014.

POLICE QUICKLY RULED HIS DEATH A SUICIDE BUT HIS FAMILY SAYS IT WAS SOMETHING FAR MORE SINISTER.

NOW YEARS LATER, THEY ARE STILL FIGHTING FOR ANSWERS AMID INSKINGSS IN THE CASE, AND ACCUSATIONS THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT DID NOT THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATE.

THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH IS NOW AT THE HEART OF THE AWARD WINNING INDEPENDENT LENS DOCUMENTARY TITLED ALWAYS IN SEASON.

HERE'S A PREVIEW.

IF YOU KNEW IN YOUR HEART THAT SOMEONE TOOK YOUR CHILD'S HEART, HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO GET TO THE TRUTH?

LAW ENFORCEMENT DID NOT DO THEIR JOB.

SHE TOLD STATE INVESTIGATORS THAT BELTS USED TO FASHION THE NOOSE DID NOT BELONG TO LENNON.

THEY TOLD MY MOM IT WAS SUICIDE.

IT LOOKED LIKE A BACK IN THE DAY LYNCHING.

WHY ARE WE SO AFRAID OF THE TRUTH?

I DESERVE TO KNOW AND I HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW.

ALWAYS IN SCENIC.

PART OF INDEPENDENT LENS ON PBS.

JOINING US NOW, THE FILM'S DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER, JACQUELINE OLIVE.

NICE TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

HOW DID YOU FIND THIS STORY AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO TELL IT?

SURE.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

I STARTED RESEARCHING AND DEVELOPING THE PROJECT TEN YEARS AGO.

ALWAYS IN SEASON IS A DECADE IN THE MAKING AND IT IS FILMED IN COMMUNITIES WHERE PEOPLE WERE ON THE GROUND IN A GRASSROOTS LEVEL, LOOKING AT EFFORTS FOR JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION AROUND HISTORIC LYNCHINGS.

SO I HAD BEEN FILMING FOR FOUR YEARS AND THOUGHT I WAS READY FOR PRODUCTION WHEN I LEARNED ABOUT THIS DEATH IN 2014.

I REACHED OUT TO CLAUDIA.

I WANTED TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT WHAT THEY WERE FACING AND ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED.

THE MORE I TALK WITH HER AND THE FOLKS THERE, THE MORE I STARTED TO SEE THE PARALLELS BETWEEN WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND HISTORIC RACIAL TERRORISM AND WHAT PEOPLE WERE DEALING WITH THERE.

WHY WERE THEY SUSPICIOUS ABOUT THE CONCLUSION THAT LENNON'S DEATH HAD BEEN A SUICIDE?

WELL, CLAUDIA SAID FROM THE VERY BEGINNING THAT HE WAS NOT DEPRESSED.

THAT SHE COULDN'T IMAGINE HIM COMMITTING SUICIDE.

THERE WERE OTHER THINGS AROUND THE EVIDENCES THAT HE WAS FOUND WITH SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOES ON.

CLAUDIA SAYS THAT HE WORE A SIZE 12.

HE WAS FOUND WITH A PAIR OF 10 1/2 SEEKERS ON IN A, SNEAKERS AND A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PAIR.

AND THERE WERE OTHER THINGS THAT MADE HER, THAT GAVE HER PAUSE AND SHE WANTED TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED.

NEVER SPENT WITH THREE OR FOUR DAYS BEFORE THEY CAME TO THE FAMILY AND SAID HE HAD COMMITTED SUICIDE WITHOUT REALLY TALKING WITH HIM VERY MUCH ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE FAMILY'S CONCERNS.

I WANT TO US TAKE A LOOK.

THIS IS WITHIN THE FILM.

SOME OF THE COMMENTS OF LENNON LACY'S BROTHER.

I WAS WORKING AT STAFFORD, VIRGINIA.

AND THEN MY SUPERVISOR SAID HEY, YOU GOT A PHONE CALL.

ON AND MY GODBROTHER WAS, HE WAS TELLING ME THEY FOUND LENNON.

I SAID THEY?

WHO ARE THEY?

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

HE WOULDN'T DO NOTHING LIKE THAT.

I JUST SAW HIM A COUPLE WEEKS AGO.

THAT WASN'T ON HIS MIND.

I STARTED CRYING.

I WANTED TO STOP CRYING BUT I COULDN'T.

I CRIED ON MY JOB ALL THE WAY TO MY MOM'S HOUSE.

WHEN I WOKE UP IN THE HOUSE, I SAW MY MOM, HOW?

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

AND SHE COULDN'T, SHE COULDN'T REALLY LOOK AT ME.

SHE WAS SO HURT.

AND I DIDN'T TAKE NOTHING PERSONALLY.

IT JUST HURT ME TO KNOW THAT SHE WAS THAT HURT.

AND I COULDN'T IMAGINE WHAT WAS GOING ON THROUGH HER MIND WHEN SHE HAD TO GO OUT THERE AND SEE HIM LIKE THAT.

AND THEN THEY TELL HER, SHE DON'T KNOW WHAT SHE TALKING ABOUT.

HE DID THIS TO HIS SELF.

AND YOU GOING TO FORCE FEED A LIE TO MY WHOLE ENTIRE FAMILY AND MAKE US THINK WE'RE CRAZY.

IT LOOKED LIKE, HONESTLY, IT LOOKED LIKE A DISPLAY.

LIKE IT WAS A MESSAGE.

LIKE IT WAS A BACK IN THE DAY LYNCHING.

LIKE THAT'S HOW IT MADE ME FEEL.

THAT'S HOW IT MADE ME FEEL.

WE TALK ABOUT POWERFUL AND COMPELLING.

WHEN YOU HEAR A FAMILY MEMBER TALK ABOUT THIS, WAS THAT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT SURPRISED YOU?

THE DEPTH OF THE PASSION, THE UNCERTAINTY THAT THE FAMILY WAS DEALING WITH?

IT DIDN'T SURPRISE ME AT ALL.

MY SON WAS LENNON'S AGE.

17 WHEN HE WAS FOUND.

I COULD NOT IMAGINE ALL THE DEPTH OF EMOTIONS THAT CLAUDIA WAS EXPERIENCING AND THE DEPTH OF LOSS.

WHAT DID SURPRISE ME RWAS AROUN HISTORIC LYNCHINGS.

WHEN FAMILY MEMBERS DIED AND WERE LYNCHED DECADES EARLIER AND PEOPLE WERE STILL VERY EMOTIONAL.

THEY WERE STILL EXPERIENCING PAIN, ANGER, FEAR, LOSS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

SO THIS IS MIRRORED TODAY IN CASES LIKE LENNON'S IS, IT IS JUST EVIDENCE THAT IS HISTORY AND UNDERSTANDING, IT IS CRITICAL TO UNDERSTANDING WHAT'S GOING ON NOW IN THE PRESENT.

YOU GET INTO THE DETAILS WITHIN THE FILM WRFLT THERE ANY, IN THE MINDS OF CLAUDIA, HIS MOTHER, FAMILY, FRIENDS, WERE THERE ANY PEOPLE THEY LOOKED AT AS SUSPECTS?

ANYTHING THEY COULD POINT TO TO SAY, THIS IS WHY WE THINK THIS IS PERHAPS SOMETHING MORE SINISTER?

SURE.

ONE OF THE PARALLELS IS THAT PEOPLE ARE OFTEN LEFT WITH STORIES AND SPECULATION AND RUMORS WHEN THE OFFICIALS DON'T SHOW UP AND REALLY DO AN APPROPRIATE INVESTIGATION.

SO THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY.

PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE I TALKED ON SAID WHAT A GOOD KID HE WAS.

BUT ALSO, THEY DIDN'T THINK HE WOULD HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE.

SO THERE ARE, THE FILM BRINGS OUT PEOPLE WHO MAY HAVE BEEN, SUSPICIONS ABOUT FOLKS WHO MAY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED.

I WANT TO COME BACK TO THE WORK YOU WERE DOING, HISTO HISTORICALLY, THE LYNCHINGS AND WHAT IT SAID ABOUT US AT THE TIME.

AND ASK TO YOU ASSUME THE ROLE OF A TEACHER FOR US AS THE FILM DOES.

AND THE FILM DOES IT WONDERFULLY.

TALK A LITTLE ABOUT OUR HISTORY WITH REGARD TO LYNCHING.

YEAH.

OH THE CASE BEFORE A CENTURY, NEARLY 5,000 DOCUMENTED CASES OF LYNCHINGS.

THERE ARE INDIVIDUAL LYNCHINGS IN 1917 IN TEXAS WHERE JESSE WASHINGTON WAS LYNCHED.

15,000 MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN SHOWED UP TO WATCH AND CHEER ON THE VIOLENCE.

AND IT HAPPENED IN EVERY STATE ACROSS THE COUNTRY EXCEPT FOR FOUR.

SO THEY WEREN'T JUST IN THE SOUTH.

THEY INVOLVED MANY PEOPLE.

OFTEN ENTIRE COMMUNITIES.

OR IN DULUTH, MINNESOTA, HALF THE COMMUNITY CAME OUT FOR THAT LYNCHING.

IT IMPACTS EVERYONE.

IT IS CERTAINLY TERRORISM FOR BLACK FOLKS WHEN THERE IS THIS THREAT, I WAS GOING TO SAY INHERENT THREAT BUT IT IS ACTUALLY VERY OVERT.

BODIES WERE LEFT IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY AS A THREAT FOR PEOPLE NOT TO STEP OUT OF LINE AND IT WAS TERRORISM FOR WHITE FOLKS WHO DIDN'T AGREE WITH IT.

THERE WAS IMMEDIATE COVER-UP AND SILENCE AROUND THESE EVENTS.

SO REALLY, THE FILM IS VERY MUCH ABOUT WHAT ARE WE LEFT WITH TODAY?

IT IS A LOOK AT THE FALLOUT.

THE MULTIGENERATIONAL VIOLENCE.

I TEACH AN UNDERGROUND SEMINAR AT YALE ABOUT VIOLENCE.

AND AT LEAST TWO OF THEM HAVE LYNCHING AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THEM.

AND THE STUDENTS WILL TELL ME HOW LITTLE THEY KNEW ABOUT THE HISTORY OF LYNCHING.

WHEN I THROW OUT THAT NUMBER YOU JUST MENTIONED, NEARLY 5,000 DOCUMENTED LYNCHINGS, THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE THE ONES THAT HAVE BEEN, THAT HAVEN'T BEEN DOCUMENTED.

IT IS A SHOCKING AND STUNNING FIGURE.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT GENERALLY SPEAKING, THIS WHOLE IDEA OF LYNCHINGS AND HOW EXPANSIVE IT WAS.

WASN'T JUST IN THE DEEP SOUTH.

WHY DO YOU THINK WE DON'T TRULY UNDERSTAND THAT STORY?

I THINK IT IS BECAUSE WE'RE NOT TAUGHT IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM.

EVEN MORE THAN THAT, WE'RE TOLD AS A COUNTRY TO STAY IN POLITE CONVERSATION.

TO NOT TALK ABOUT ISSUES OF RACIAL JUSTICE OR VIOLENCE OR RACE, OFTEN.

SO IN THE PROCESS, THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN DEHUMANIZATION AND HOW IT CAN LEAD TO VIOLENCE AND VERY SPECIFICALLY AND NOT GENERALLY.

WHEN YOU UNDERSTAND THE SPECIFICS, YOU UNDERSTAND THE DEPTHS OF THE VIOLENCE THAT CAN HAPPEN.

WITH THE FEAR MONGERING.

THE GOVERNOR, THE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE EUGENE TAMMADGE WHO HAD BEEN ELECTED TO THREE OFFICES ON A WHITE SUPREMACIST CAMPAIGN AND DOCTRINE WAS CAMPAIGNING FOR THE, FOR FOLKS TO LOOK AT LYNCHING THE VICTIMS AND HARMING THE VICTIMS.

THAT WAS A POWER MOVE FOR THEM TO GET INTO OFFICE.

WHEN YOU UNDERSTAND THAT'S BEEN EFFECTIVE HISTORICALLY, YOU CAN KNOWS WHAT'S GOING ON NOW IN POLITICS WHEN PEOPLE DEHUMANIZE THEM.

WHAT IS AT STAKE WHEN WE MISS THE LESSONS.

AS PART OF YOUR RESEARCH, WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE IDEA OF HOW OPEN AND VISIBLE AND EVEN A FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT LYNCHING WAS?

THAT WASN'T ALL DONE IN THE DARK OF NIGHT, IN SECRET?

THERE IS A LOT I WAS SURPRISED ABOUT.

I'M FROM MISSISSIPPI WHICH IS THE STATE WITH THE LARGEST NUMBER OF RECORDED LYNCHINGS, NEARLY 600.

MISSISSIPPI IS OFTEN SYNONYMOUS WITH RACIAL TERRORISM.

AND I UNDERSTOOD THERE WAS THIS HISTORY OF RACIAL TERRORISM BUT I DIDN'T KNOW THE DETAILS.

SO THERE WAS A LOT THAT SURPRISED ME.

THERE IS THIS MYTH THAT IT HAPPENS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT BY BACKWARD PEOPLE.

BUT LYNCHINGS WERE OFTEN HIGHLY ORGANIZED.

IN THE FILM, DANNY GLOVER READS THE INVITATION TO THE LYNCHING AND IT WAS CIRCULATE BY NEWSPAPER, BY TELEVISION IN SEVERAL STATES BEFORE THE LYNCHING HAPPENED TO GET PEOPLE TO GO.

I SPENT TWO YEARS RESEARCHING IT AND WORKING WITH THE TOP 20 SCHOLARS ON LINKING.

I REALLY WANTED TO FULLY UNDERSTAND IT.

IT TOOK ME A WHILE TO WRAP MY HEAD AROUND IT.

THAT'S WHY I WANTED PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND.

SO MANY INTERESTING COMPONENTS.

ONE THAT I WAS STRUCK BY, YOU JUST MENTIONED IT A MOMENT AGO.

THIS MOMENT OF LYNCHING RE-ENACTMENTS.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THAT.

AND THE ARGUMENTS THAT YOU'RE SEEING THAT SUPPORT THE REASON WHY THIS IS BEING DONE.

AND THE OTHER ARGUMENT THAT'S SAY, WHOA, THIS IS NOT SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE DOING.

SURE.

I BEGAN WITH THE RE-ENACTORS IN 2010.

I RESEARCHED THE FILM FOR TWO YEARS AND I REALIZED MY IN TO THE STORY WAS WHAT PEOPLE WERE DOING ON THE GROUND FOR JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION.

AND THE RE-ENACTORS ARE A DIVERSE GROUP OF PEOPLE GET TOGETHER EVERY YEAR TO DRAMATIZE THE DETAILS OF A 1946 QUADRUPLE LYNCHING IN WHICH TWO COUPLES WERE LYNCHED.

THE MALCOLMS AND THE DORSEYS ON THE BRIDGE.

IN MONROE, GEORGIA, JUST OUTSIDE LAENLTS.

SO WHEN I FIRST HEARD ABOUT THE RE-ENACTMENTS, I COULDN'T WRAP MY HEAD AROUND WHAT THAT MEANS.

UNTIL I STARTED TO THINK ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR RE-ENACTMENTS AS AN EFFORT TO WRITE THE HISTORY IN A PARTICULAR WAY, TO RECORD WHAT PEOPLE FEEL IS IMPORTANT ABOUT THE HISTORY, AND TO MEMORIALIZE THE FOLKS WHO DIED.

SO THAT'S THE CASE FOR THE RE-ENACTORS.

PEOPLE COME FOR A NUMBER OF PERSONAL REASONS.

THERE IS A WOMAN WHO COMES, WHOSE LEADER WAS A PLANNER.

THEY WANTED TO MAKE SURE THE NATION NEVER FORGETS WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MALCOLMS AND THE DORSEYS.

AND SOME OF THEM BELIEVE THE PERPETRATORS MAY BE LIVING NEAR.

THEY HAVE GUN SINCE 2005 AND THEY DO IT EVERY YEAR.

WHEN I BEGAN FILMING IN 2010, IT WAS BEFORE TRAYVON MARTIN.

IT WAS RIGHT THE TAIL END OF THE NARRATIVE.

VERY FEW PEOPLE WERE TALKING ABOUT RACIAL VIOLENCE, PAST OR PRESENT.

TO SEE THE RE-ENACTORS DOING WHAT THEY WERE DOING.

THERE IS CONTROVERSY AROUND THE DETAILS OF THE ENACTMENT.

WHETHER OR NOT THEY'RE PRESENTING THINGS THAT ARE VALID.

SO WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND, HISTORICALLY, VERY FEW DETAILS OF THE VIOLENCE, IN PARTICULAR, PARTICULARLY HEINOUS VIOLENCE WOULD HAVE BEEN DOCUMENTED.

A JOURNALIST WOULD WRITE IN THE N NEWSPAPERS AT TIMES TO NOT TALK ABOUT THE LINKINGS.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT EFFORTS LIKE THE THAT ARE VERY ORGANIC AND GRASS ROOTS ABOUT THE NEED TO EXPRESS THE STORY AND THE DETAILS OF THE VIOLENCE AND HOW IT HAS IMPACTED THEIR COMMUNITY WAS VERY ESSENTIAL TO WHAT WE WERE LOOKING AT.

I MENTIONED THE INTRODUCTION.

IT IS A FILM THAT PROVIDES VERY COMPELLING, VERY PAINFUL QUESTIONS.

MAKES US ALL THINK, WHICH IS WHAT GOOD FILM MAKING SHOULD DO.

AND IT TEACHES US, FOR MANY OF US, THINGS THEY NEVER KNEW EXISTED IN THIS COUNTRY.

SO A WONDERFUL JOB OF FILM MAKING.

WE'RE SO DELIGHTED THAT YOU SPENT SOME TIME WITH US.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU, JACK.

A REMINDER, IF WOULD YOU LIKE THE WATCH ALWAYS IN SEASON ON INDEPENDENT LENS, MAKE SURE YOU VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT METROFOCUS.ORG FOR VIEWING OPPORTUNITIES.

> THE ME TOO MOVEMENT HAS RESHAPED AMERICA'S WORKPLACE.

IN NEW JERSEY, SOME FEEL MAJOR REFORMS ARE VERY MUCH NEEDED.

CRITICS HAVE CALLED THE STATE'S MOSTLY DOMINATED POLITICAL CULTURE TOXIC.

THEY HAVE DEMANDED SOLUTIONS TO THE CONTINUING PROBLEMS OF MYSOGYNY, HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL ASSAULT.

IN FACT, JULIE, A FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PHIL MURPHY'S GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN HAS PUBLICLY CHALLENGED THE GOVERNOR AND THE POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT TO TAKE SWIFT ACTION AND PUSH FOR REAL CHANGES THAT BETTER PROTECT WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE.

PARTICULARLY IN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS.

EARLIER THIS MONTH, GOVERNOR MOEV APOLOGIZED FOR THE FEEL YOU'RE OF HIS OWN CAMPAIGN.

HE ALSO RECENTLY ANNOUNCED HIS SUPPORT FOR LEGISLATION THAT WOULD BETTER PROTECT VICTIMS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

IT IS NOT ENOUGH FOR TO US SAY WE ASSISTANT FOR NEW JERSEY'S VALUES IF WE DO NOT TAKE STEPS TO TURN THOSE VALUES INTO MEANINGFUL CHANGE.

IT IS THEREFORE OUR OBLIGATION TO MAKE SURE OUR WORK FORCE IS PROTECTED FROM HARASSMENT AND FEEL SAFE AND RESPECTED NO MATTER WHERE THEY WORK OR WHO THEY WORK FOR.

BEFORE THE GOVERNOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT, I SPOKE WITH THE CONTRIBUTOR ABOUT THE TOXECK ATMOSPHERE IN TRENTON AND BEYOND.

AND I BEGAN OUR CONVERSATION BY ASKING STEVE, WHAT'S GOING ON?

A LOT.

AND FOR TOO LONG, IT'S BEEN TOO SILENT.

JULIE, WHO YOU MENTIONED, TRIGGERED THIS AS A LEADING CONSULTANT TO THE MURPHY CAMPAIGN IN 2017.

THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU CALL IT THE MOST TOXIC CAMPAIGN SHE EVER WORKED IN.

SHE DID CALL IT THAT.

IN MORE THAN A COUPLE DECADES.

I WANT TO DO THIS.

WE INTERVIEWED JULIE ON OUR PROGRAM STATE OF AFFAIRS.

AND CHECK THIS OUT.

AS YOU LISTEN TO JULIE, HOW MUCH HAS REALLY CHANGED?

THIS IS NOT A DIMINISHING EXPERIENCE BUT I DON'T THINK YOU GET --

DO WE HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT?

YOU DON'T.

YOU DO INTELLECTUALLY.

VISCERALLY.

VISCERALLY YOU NO MORE UNDERSTAND WHAT WE GO THROUGH THAN I UNDERSTAND WHAT AFRICAN-AMERICANS LIVING IN AN OPPRESSED SOCIETY MIGHT BELIEVE, OR OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT NECESSARILY FRANCHISED TO THE EXTENT MEN ARE.

SHE'S RIGHT.

WE TALK ABOUT IT.

WE NEED TO LISTEN MORE.

WHEN JULIE SAID THAT TO US, IT WAS BEFORE SHE SAID THE MURPHY CAMPAIGN WAS VERY TOXIC.

THIS GOES WELL, WELL BEYOND THE MURPHY CAMPAIGN OF 2017.

AND HE DOES GET CREDIT, BY THE WAY, FOR APOLOGIZING.

I WISH HE HAD BEEN MORE PRECISE AND SPECIFIC.

THE FACT IS THERE IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM ACROSS THE NATION WHEN IT COMES THE A WORKPLACE CULTURE IN POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT AND RELATED BUSINESS THAT'S FRANKLY PUTS WOMEN IN A VERY UNCOMFORTABLE AND POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS POSITION.

ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THAT PROBLEM IS, SOMETHING YOU WRITE ABOUT OF NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS.

ARE JULIE, IN FACT, GOT TOGETHER, SET UP A NEW ORGANIZATION, LIFT OUR VOICES, THAT IS CALLING FOR THE ELIMINATION.

YEAH.

THEY HAVE TO SIGN THEM OVER THERE.

THAT'S RIGHT.

THEY BOTH WORKED THERE.

SO TALK ABOUT THAT.

WHY ARE THOSE SO-CALLED NDAs SO RELEVANT?

YOU CAN TALK TO LAWYERS, JACK FORD CAN EXPLAIN IT BETTER THAN MOST AS A LEGAL EXPERT, BUT I UNDERSTAND ON SOME LEVEL, YOU NEED A NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENT.

THE PROBLEM IN THE MURPHY CAMPAIGN AND OTHER CAMPAIGNS, A LOT OF THESE WOMEN WANTED TO TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED.

THEY WANTED TO TALK ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE.

YOU COULD TALK ABOUT ANY SEXUAL HARASSMENT OR ALLEGED SEXUAL HARASSMENT WEST DON'T WANT YOU GIVING AWAY PROPRIETARY INFORMATION.

THEN GETTING LETTERS SAYING YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUTS.

THEY CAME OUT PUBLICLY AND SAID THOSE NONDISCLOERK YOU ARE AGREEMENTS ARE NULL AND VOID.

YOU CAN SAY WHATEVER YOU WANT.

MY OPINION IS IT TOOK TOO LONGITUDE THAT.

THESE NDAs, NONDISCLOSURES, I GET IT.

FOR TRANSPARENCY, IT'S A BAD IDEA.

SO THIS GOES BEYOND THE PLOIV CAMPAIGN OR EVEN BEYOND TRENTON.

A CREDIT TO THE STAR LEDGER.

THEY DID A COMPREHENSIVE ANALOGY TALKING TO DOZENS OF WOMEN ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES IN GOVERNMENT POLITICS AND RELATED BUSINESSES.

YOU'VE 97 BEEN ON SOMETHING CALLED THE CHAMBER TRIP.

NO DISRESPECT TO THE NEW JERSEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

BUT THAT CHAMBER RIDE WAS CHARACTERIZED, A LOT OF ALCOHOL, MEN AND WOMEN ON TRAVELING TRAIN FROM NEW JERSEY TO WASHINGTON, WHERE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED OVER THE DECADES THAT MEN DID NOT ACKNOWLEDGE PUBLICLY.

DID NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT PUBLICLY.

MANY WOMEN CAME OUT AND SAID, IT IS NOT A HEALTHY SITUATION.

THE LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES, A BIG CONVENTION IN ATLANTIC CITY NO DISRESPECTFUL BUT WOMEN KIMT AND SAID YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE AT THAT CONVENTION.

IN SOME CASES, IT WENT AS FAR AS RAPE.

LET'S BE PRECISE AND SPECIFIC.

KATIE BRENNAN BROUGHT A CASE, THE CHARGE OF RAPE.

SHE WORKED FOR THE GOVERNOR.. SHE CHARGED WITH AL ALVAREZ SEXUALLY ASSAULTED HER.

RAPED HER.

PART OF THE PROBLEM WITH THAT CASE, OTHER THAN THIS HORRIFIC THING THAT ALLEGEDLY HAPPENED, WAS THAT NO ONE WOULD ACKNOWLEDGE WHO HIRED AL VALLEY RES, WHO GAVE HIM A JOB IN THE MURPHY ADMINISTRATION.

IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACTED ON MORE SWIFTLY.

WHEN A WOMAN CHARGES SHE WAS RAPED, THE SENSE OF URGENCY HAS TO BE A LOT GREATER.

NOT JUST IN THE MURPHY CAMPAIGN BUT ALL OF US.

NOT ONLY HER BUT THERE WERE WOMEN WHO TOLD THESE HE REPORTERS ANONYMOUSLY THAT THROUGHOUT THE YEARS, IT PARTIES AROUND THE LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES, THERE WERE ASSAULTS INCLUDING CHARGES OF RAPE.

THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.

IT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE TO RISE TO THAT HORRIFIC LEVEL.

IT IS JUST THE CULTER.

WE HAVE TO BE MORE AWARE, LISTEN BETTER, BE MORE EMPATHETIC.

FRANKLY, TOO MANY MEN IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS WITHOUT WOMEN BEING AT THAT TABLE IS DANGEROUS TO BEGIN WITH.

SO WE SAW THE GOVERNOR APOLOGIZE.

YES, HE DID.

HAS THE GOVERNOR, HAVE LEGISLATORS, THE LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES, THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, HAVE ANY OF THEM COME UP WITH CONCRETE STRATEGIES TO DEAL WITH THIS SITUATION?

SOME HAVE AND I'LL BE MORE SPECIFIC.

THERE IS AN AD HOC COMMITTEE CHAIRED BY LORETTA WEINBERG.

AND WOMEN ARE COMING FORWARD.

NATURALLY, JULIE IS ON THAT PANEL.

THESE MAJORITY LEADER.

TALKING ABOUT THEM ABOUT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS.

NO ONE HOLDS HER BACK FROM WHAT SHE NEEDS TO SAY.

ALSO THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, OTHERS TESTIFIED.

ALL WOMEN IN FRONT OF AN ALL WOMEN PANEL TALKED ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES.

WE NEED MORE OF THAT, MORE SUNLIGHT, MORE TRANSPARENCY.

HAS ANYTHING COME OUT OF THAT SO FAR?

SHE SAID SHE'S NOT LOOKING BACKWARD TO BLAME ANY CAMPAIGN.

THE GOVERNOR OR ANYONE ELSE.

SHE'S LOOKING FORWARD TO ATTEMPT ON PROPOSE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES THAT WILL PROTECT WOMEN AND CREATE A HEALTHIER WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT.

AND RELATED INDUSTRIES.

THERE'S REASON TO BELIEVE IT IS BEYOND THE ME TOO MOVEMENT AND WE ARE MOVING IN A DIRECTION THINGS WILL CHANGE.

WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO TO MAKE UP FOR THE HORRENDOUS THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

'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.

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