METROFOCUS: March 10, 2021

Another former staffer has accused Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, bringing the total number of women to come forward to six. Tonight we examine the allegations and the Attorney General’s newly launched investigation into those claims with an insider close to one of the prosecutors currently reviewing the case. We’ll be joined by former Federal Prosecutor for the Southern District of New York and Lecturer-In-Law at Columbia Law School Jennifer Rodgers to break down the case.

Metrofocus’ CINDY Award-winning report takes you behind the scenes of the storytelling series, “The Moth” to share the stories of struggle and triumph of women in the world.

TRANSCRIPT

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

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G.

PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

THIS WEEK NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES APPOINTED TWO ATTORNEYS WHO WILL LEAD THE INVESTIGATION INTO ACCUSATIONS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO.

SEVERAL WOMEN, AS YOU KNOW, HAVE NOW ACCUSED THE GOVERNOR OF HARASSMENT OR INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR, LEADING TO SOME CALLS FOR HIS RESIGNATION, INCLUDING MOST RECENTLY FROM THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER OF THE STATE SENATE, ANDREA STEWART COUSINS.

SO WHO ARE THE INDIVIDUALS LEADING THIS INVESTIGATION?

WHAT'S THE SCOPE OF THEIR POWERS?

WHEN WILL THEY RELEASE THEIR FINDINGS?

AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THE GOVERNOR WHEN THEY DO?

TO HELP US UNDERSTAND THESE QUESTIONS AND PROVIDE SOME ANSWERS FOR US, WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE WITH US ONCE AGAIN JENNIFER RODGERS, LECTURER IN LAW AT COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK AND A GOOD FRIEND OF US HERE.

JENNIFER, ALWAYS GOOD TO SEE YOU.

WELCOME.

THANK YOU.

GOOD TO SEE YOU JACK.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN A SENSE DELEGATING THIS INVESTIGATION.

IN MANY STATES INCLUDING NEW JERSEY WHERE I LIVE AND PRACTICED LAW MANY, MANY YEARS AGO, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR.

SO BASICALLY, THEY'RE CONNECTED TO THE GOVERNOR INTIMATELY.

BUT IN NEW YORK THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS ELECTED THE SAME WAY THE GOVERNOR IS ELECTED AND OTHER OFFICIALS ARE ELECTED.

SO THERE'S A DISTANCE THERE BETWEEN A GOVERNOR AND ATTORNEY GEN GENERAL.

UNDERSTANDING THAT, WHY THEN WOULD THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THIS CASE HAVE SAID I'M GOING TO APPOINT TWO OTHER PEOPLE AND THEY WILL ACTIVELY BE CONDUCTING THIS INVESTIGATION?

SHE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO IT THAT WAY.

YOU'RE RIGHT.

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS AN ELECTED OFFICIAL.

SHE'S INDEPENDENT.

BUT YOU KNOW, IT'S POLITICS, RIGHT?

AND LETITIA JAMES, WHO WAS SUPPORTED BY GOVERNOR CUOMO FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SPOT, HAS POLITICAL ASPIRATIONS OF HER OWN.

MAYBE SHE WANTS TO BE THE GOVERNOR.

SO I THINK SHE JUST WANTED TO TAKE POLITICS OUT OF IT.

SHE DIDN'T WANT ANY POTENTIAL ACCUSATION THAT SHE'S GOING AFTER CUOMO TO TRY TO TAKE HIM DOWN.

BY APPOINTING OUTSIDE LAWYERS IT JUST MAKES IT CLEANER.

SHE'S NOT GOING TO THEN BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR FINDINGS AND SHE CAN SAY I'VE DELEGATED THIS, IT'S GOING TO BE PURELY INDEPENDENT AND APOLITICAL AND SHE CAN JUST KIND OF ACCEPT THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS AND THEIR FINDINGS WITHOUT GETTING EMBROILED IN IT HERSELF.

CERTAINLY WHEN SHE MADE THAT DECISION THE IDENTITY OF THE LAWYERS WHO WERE GOING TO BE LEADING THIS INVESTIGATION WAS GOING TO BE EXTRAORDINARILY IMPORTANT HERE IN TERMS OF THEIR CREDENTIALS, WHAT THEY WOULD BRING TO THIS INVESTIGATION.

AND PERHAPS AS YOU SAID WHAT DISTANCE THEY COULD BRING TO THIS INVESTIGATION.

LET'S TAKE A QUICK LOOK AT THE TWO OF THEM AND FILL US IN ON SOME OF THEIR CREDENTIALS.

LET'S START WITH JOON KIM.

SO JOON KIM IS A FORMER COLLEAGUE OF MINE FROM THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE.

WE WERE CONTEMPORARIES AND COLLEAGUES.

AND THEN HE CAME BACK LATER UNDER PREET BHARARA TO BE COUNSEL AND DEPUTY U.S. ATTORNEY AND ULTIMATELY BECOME ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY WHEN PREET WAS FIRED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP.

JOON KIM HAS LED THE OFFICE.

HE'S HELD ALL SORTS OF HIGH-RANKING POSITIONS IN THE OFFICE.

HE'S A VERY EXPERIENCED PROSECUTOR AND INVESTIGATOR.

SO I EXPECT HIM TO BE THE ONE TO TAKE THE LEAD ON KIND OF THE STRATEGY, THE INVESTIGATION, INTERVIEWING THE WITNESSES, FINDING CORROBORATING WITNESSES AND OTHER INFORMATION AND THAT SORT OF THING.

AND HOW ABOUT ANNE CLARK?

WHAT ABOUT HER CREDENTIALS?

SO ANNE CLARK I DON'T PERSONALLY KNOW.

SHE'S AN EMPLOYMENT LAWYER.

SO WHAT SHE REALLY BRINGS TO THE TABLE IS SHE'S REPRESENTED PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE THESE KINDS OF ACCUSATIONS, WHO WERE WORKING IN WHAT THEY CLAIM IS A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT, WHO WERE SEXUALLY HARASSED.

SO SHE KNOWS THAT WHOLE WORLD INCLUDING THE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES AND LAWS IN NEW YORK STATE AROUND SEXUAL HARASSMENT, WHAT SORTS OF THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DONE BY THE GOVERNMENT WHEN ALLEGATIONS LIKE THESE ARE MADE, AND SHE CAN REALLY START TO DELVE INTO WHAT WAS DONE AND WHETHER IT WAS APPROPRIATELY DONE.

I WAS STRUCK BY THE FACT THAT IN THE STATEMENT ANNOUNCING THE APPOINTMENT OF THESE LAWYERS AND TALKING A LITTLE ABOUT THEIR BACKGROUND THERE WAS AN EMPHASIS ON THE FACT THAT THEY WOULD BE GIVEN SUBPOENA POWERS AS PART OF THE INVESTIGATION.

WHY IS THAT SO IMPORTANT?

IT'S IMPORTANT BECAUSE THAT'S THE WAY YOU CAN ACTUALLY ENSURE THAT YOU'RE GETTING INFORMATION.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE SUBPOENA POWERS, YOU KNOW EVERYTHING IS VOLUNTARY.

YOU CAN ASK FOR DOCUMENTS.

YOU CAN ASK FOR PEOPLE TO SIT DOWN TO DO INTERVIEWS WITH YOU.

BUT YOU CAN'T FORCE THE MATTER.

THEY HAVE SUBPOENA POWER SO EVERYONE INCLUDING THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO HAVE TO SIT DOWN WITH THEM AND SPEAK TO THEM AND THEY CAN COLLECT ALL OF THE RELEVANT DOCUMENTS AND OTHER SUPPORTING INFORMATION THAT CAN HELP THEM CORROBORATE AND FURTHER INVESTIGATE THESE CLAIMS.

THAT'S IMPORTANT AS YOU SAID BECAUSE IT'S ONE THING TO SAY I'D REALLY LIKE TO TALK TO YOU BECAUSE YOU COULD BE A CRITICAL WITNESS AND THE WITNESS SAYS YEAH, I DON'T WANT TO TALK, THANKS AND WALKS AWAY FROM YOU.

NOW WITH THAT ABILITY TO SUBPOENA YOU CAN MAKE THEM COME IN.

AT LEAST MAKE THEM COME IN.

THE QUESTION IS HOW MUCH THEY'RE GOING TO ANSWER.

BUT YOU SAID THAT APPLIES ALSO TO THE GOVERNOR?

YES, IT DOES.

I MEAN, HE HAS ALREADY SAID HE'S PLANNING TO SIT DOWN WITH THEM AND BE COOPERATIVE BUT HE NOW CAN BE SUBPOENAED AND ALL THE DOCUMENTS CAN BE SUBPOENAED.

AS YOU KNOW, JACK, IT'S SO IMPORTANT TO GET CALENDAR ENTRIES, E-MAILS, OTHER SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION, TEXT MESSAGES, THESE SORTS OF THINGS TO REALLY FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENED IN ANY GIVEN SITUATION.

SO WITH THESE SUBPOENA POWERS THEY'LL BE ABLE TO DO THAT.

AND IF PEOPLE DON'T COMPLY WITH THEIR LEGAL SUBPOENA POWER THEN THEY'RE SUBJECT TO OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE CHARGES AND OTHER SORTS OF PENALTIES.

LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME POSSIBILITIES COMING OUT OF THIS AND ALSO SOME THINGS THAT MIGHT NOT BE COMING OUT OF IT BECAUSE WE'VE SEEN ALL SORTS OF SPECULATION BASED UPON MANY OF THE ALLEGATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN OUT THERE.

WE HAVE SEEN THE GOVERNOR SAY LOOK, IF I SAID SOMETHING THAT WAS OFFENSIVE I APOLOGIZE, I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT IT WAS OFFENSIVE.

WE'VE ALSO SEEN THE GOVERNOR SAY HOWEVER, I NEVER TOUCHED ANYBODY, I NEVER INAPPROPRIATELY TOUCHED ANYBODY.

THERE ARE SOME ALLEGATIONS.

DOES ANY OF WHAT YOU'VE SEEN SO FAR IN TERMS OF ALLEGATIONS, AND WE'RE STRESSING THEY'RE ALLEGATIONS AND AGAIN STRESSING THE GOVERNOR'S DENIAL, BUT IS THERE ANYTHING YOU'VE SEEN FROM ALLEGATION THAT'S RAISE THE SPECTER OF ANY POSSIBLE CRIMINAL CHARGES?

NOT SO FAR ON THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT SIDE.

SO FAR THE MOST SERIOUS ALLEGATION IS OF AN UNWANTED KISS.

SO WHEN YOU LOOK AT NEW YORK STATUTES, THE CRIMINAL STATUTES, IT REALLY HAS TO BE MORE ALONG THE LINES OF A SEXUAL ASSAULT IN ORDER TO BE CRIMINAL.

SO I'M NOT SEEING THAT YET.

OF COURSE WE COULD HAVE ADDITIONAL ALLEGATIONS.

THERE IS A POSSIBILITY OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR ON THE OTHER SCANDAL THAT I KNOW IS NOT THE FOCUS OF OUR TALK TODAY, ON THE NURSING HOME COVID SCANDAL.

AND THAT IS IF THE GOVERNOR OBSTRUCTED JUSTICE IN CONNECTION WITH LAST YEAR'S TRUMP DOJ INVESTIGATION INTO THE NURSING HOME SCANDAL YOU COULD SEE OBSTRUCTION OR LYING TO FEDERAL OFFICIALS THERE.

BUT ON THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT SIDE AT THIS TIME I'M NOT SEEING POTENTIAL CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

NOW, WE DO KNOW THAT SOME OF THE FOLKS MAKING ALLEGATIONS HERE WERE ACTUALLY IN THE EMPLOY OF THE GOVERNMENT AT THE TIME.

THERE ARE OTHERS WHERE THE ALLEGATIONS STEM FROM PRIVATE ENCOUNTERS, IF YOU WILL.

SO WHY MIGHT THAT DISTINCTION BE DIFFERENT OR WHY MIGHT THAT DISTINCTION BE SIGNIFICANT I SHOULD SAY IN TERMS OF THE INVESTIGATION?

IT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE BECAUSE SAYING INAPPROPRIATE THINGS, EVEN SORT OF HARASSING SOMEONE IF YOU JUST RUN INTO THEM AT A PARTY ISN'T NECESSARILY LEGALLY ACTIONABLE.

BUT IF YOU WORK FOR SOMEONE, IF YOU SEXUALLY HARASS SOMEONE WHO IS YOUR INFERIOR IN THE WORKPLACE, THAT'S ILLEGAL.

THAT'S AGAINST NEW YORK LAW.

THAT'S A PROBLEM.

SO THE ALLEGATIONS FROM THE WOMEN WHO WORKED FOR HIM AND I THINK ALL BUT ONE DID WORK FOR HIM, ARE FAR MORE SERIOUS THAN THE ONE WHERE A WOMAN SAYS SHE ENCOUNTERED HIM AT A WEDDING AND, YOU KNOW, GRABBED HER FACE AND SAID SOMETHING INAPPROPRIATE.

GIVE US A LITTLE BIT OF A SENSE, KIND OF A WORKING DEFINITION IF YOU WILL.

WE USE THE TERM SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE.

WE USE THE TERM HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WORKPLACE SCENARIOS.

THERE'S SUCH AN ARRAY OF POSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT CAN FIT WITHIN THOSE CATEGORIES.

BUT GIVE US JUST A GENERAL SENSE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WHEN WE SAY SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE OR IF WE SAY A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT.

WELL, THERE'S TWO TYPES BASICALLY BROADLY SPEAKING.

HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT, WHICH YOU SAID, WHICH IS INAPPROPRIATE, UNWANTED COMMENTS BASED ON YOUR SEX OR YOUR GENDER OR UPON SOME SORT OF SEXUAL ATTRACTION THAT MAKES YOUR ENVIRONMENT HOSTILE, MAKES IT UNPLEASANT TO WORK THERE.

IT IMPACTS YOUR ABILITY TO DO YOUR JOB.

THE OTHER KIND IS A QUID PRO QUO ARRANGEMENT WHERE IF SOMEONE SAID HEY, IF YOU'RE WILLING TO GO OUT ON A DATE WITH ME I'LL GIVE YOU A PROMOTION, THAT SORT OF THING.

THAT TYPE OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS NOT ALLEGED HERE.

JUST TO HAVE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND, AND AGAIN, WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT HERE, BUT IN THAT SORT OF SCENARIO DOES IT HAVE TO BE ACTUALLY OVERTLY STATED THAT IF YOU WANT A PROMOTION YOU'VE GOT TO GO OUT WITH ME?

CAN IT BE MORE SUBTLE?

IT CAN.

IT CAN.

LIKE SO MANY THINGS IN FACT-BASED QUESTIONS YOU'D HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT XAKTSDLY WAS SAID AND WHAT WERE REASONABLE INFERENCES WHENFROM WHAT WAS SAID.

IT'S NEVER CUT AND DRY.

BUT AGAIN, THOSE SORTS OF ALLEGATIONS HAVEN'T BEEN MADE HERE, AT LEAST SO FAR TO DATE WITH THE ALLEGER THAT'S HAVE COME FORWARD.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IN TERMS OF THE TIME FRAME HERE FOR THIS INVESTIGATION TO BE CONCLUDED?

WE'RE TOLD IT'S ALREADY BEGUN.

IT'S HARD TO SAY BUT GENERALLY SPEAKING, WHAT DO YOU THINK A TIME FRAME MIGHT BE?

I THINK WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A FEW MONTHS.

YOU KNOW, MAYBE IN THE THREE TO FOUR-MONTH RANGE.

THEY CERTAINLY WON'T WANT TO DRAG IT OUT.

AND IT'S CERTAINLY NOT AN ENDLESS UNIVERSE OF DOCUMENTS AND WITNESSES TO GET THROUGH.

BUT IT WILL TAKE SOME TIME TO SPEAK TO EVERYONE, COLLECT THE RELEVANT DOCUMENTS AND TAKE WHAT THEY SAY AND CONTINUE TO INVESTIGATE.

YOU KNOW, THEY MAY LEARN OF ADDITIONAL PEOPLE WHO WILL HAVE RELEVANT INFORMATION WHO HAVEN'T COME FORWARD AND THEN THEY WOULD WANT TO APPROACH THOSE PEOPLE.

SO ALL OF THAT TAKES TIME.

SO THREE TO FOUR MONTHS IS MY VERY SPECULATIVE BACK OF THE ENVELOPE GUESS.

WE'VE TALKED ABOUT CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES THAT ARE RECOGNIZED BY THE LAW AND COULD CARRY WITH THEM SOME LEGAL CONSEQUENCES.

WHAT ABOUT IF A FINDING IS -- AND I'M NOT GUESSING WHAT THE FINDING MIGHT BE, SO SORT OF HYPOTHETICAL.

BUT WHAT ABOUT IN A CASE LIKE THIS IF A FINDING IS NO CRIMINAL ACTIVITY HERE AND WE'RE NOT FINDING THE TYPE OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT OR HOSTILE WORKPLACE THAT YOU'VE DESCRIBED TO US?

WHAT IF THE FINDING IS THIS WAS BOORISH AND CRUDE AND INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR?

DOES THAT FALL IN ANY LEGAL REAL TYPE OF CATEGORY?

IF IT'S NOT HARASSMENT, THEN KIND OF OBNOXIOUS, BOORISH BEHAVIOR ISN'T LIKELY TO GENERATE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES.

BUT REMEMBER, THERE ARE A FEW THINGS HERE THAT COULD BE PROBLEMATIC FOR THE GOVERNOR IN A LEGAL SENSE.

ONE IS THAT THERE ARE DISPUTED FACTS HERE.

I MEAN, HE HAS SAID HE'S COMPLETELY DISPUTED THE ALLEGATIONS OF THE FIRST ACCUSER LINDSEY BOYLAN.

IF THE INVESTIGATORS FIND THAT SHE IS TELLING THE TRUTH AND HE OF COURSE WILL SPEAK TO THEM AS WELL AND HE IS LYING, THEN HE'S GOT ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS.

THERE ARE ALSO ALLEGATIONS THAT THE PROPER STEPS WERE NOT TAKEN LEGALLY IN CONNECTION WITH THE FORMAL COMPLAINT REGISTERED BY THE SECOND ACCUSER, CHARLOTTE BENNETT.

IF IT'S DETERMINED THAT THE CUOMO ADMINISTRATION SLIPPED THIS UNDER THE RUG INSTEAD OF SENDING IT TO THE GOVERNMENT OFFICE OF EMPLOYEE RELATIONS, WHICH UNDER THE LAW IS SUPPOSED TO BE DONE FOR A FULL INVESTIGATION, THEN THAT'S AN ADDITIONAL COVER-UP PROBLEM THEY'RE FACING.

SO THERE ARE ISSUES HERE THAT DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO DO WITH THE SCOPE OF THE ACTUAL BEHAVIOR THAT COULD STILL CAUSE A PROBLEM FOR THE GOVERNOR AT THE END OF THE DAY ONCE THE REPORT IS RELEASED.

WE'VE GOT ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT HERE.

WHAT TYPES OF -- AND I'M NOT ASKING YOU TO PREDICT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN HERE.

BECAUSE AS WE SAID, RIGHT NOW THESE ARE ALLEGATIONS AND THEY'RE BEING INVESTIGATED.

AS THEY SHOULD BE.

AND EVERYBODY'S AGREED THEY SHOULD BE.

BUT WHAT TYPES OF CONSEQUENCES COULD POSSIBLY COME FROM SOMETHING LIKE THIS?

WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S UNLIKELY TO BE CRIMINAL, AS WE'VE DISCUSSED.

THERE COULD BE CIVIL CONSEQUENCES.

RIGHT?

THESE WOMEN MAY SUE HIM.

THEY MAY SUE THE GOVERNOR.

THEY MAY SUE THE GOVERNMENT FOR PUTTING THEM IN THIS POSITION OF BEING IN A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT.

SO THAT MAY COME OF IT.

THE LEGISLATURE, IF THE GOVERNOR HAS A NEGATIVE REPORT AND REFUSES TO RESIGN AS HE'S DONE SO FAR, THEY MAY IMPEACH HIM.

THAT'S KIND OF -- AS WE KNOW FROM TALKING ABOUT IT IN CONNECTION WITH FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP, KIND OF A QUASI-LEGAL, QUASI-POLITICAL ACTION.

BUT OBVIOUSLY THAT WOULD HAVE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES FOR HIM IF THEY DO PURSUE THAT ONCE THE REPORT IS OUT.

SO BOTH ON THE CIVIL SIDE AND ON THE POTENTIAL IMPEACHMENT SIDE THOSE ARE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES THAT COULD COME FROM ALL OF THIS.

JENNIFER RODGERS, I SAY THIS OFTEN.

WE ALWAYS FEEL SO MUCH SMARTER AFTER WE HAVE A CHANCE TO CHAT WITH YOU.

WE CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND THIS A LOT BETTER.

JENNIFER, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

YOU BE WELL.

WE'LL LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING AGAIN SOON.

THANKS, JACK.

TAKE CARE.

> EVERYONE HAS THEIR STORY, AND WHO IF ANYONE WILL TELL IT?

FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS AN ORGANIZATION CALLED THE MOTH HAS EVERYDAY PEOPLE SHARE THEIR STORY ONE AT A TIME TO A ROOM OF STRANGERS.

THE SIMPLE PROCESS HAS THE ABILITY TO MOVE THE HEARTS OF LISTENERS AS ONLY THE GIFT OF GOOD STORYTELLING CAN.

WE CAUGHT UP WITH A STORYTELLER AND HER COACH AT A RECENT MOTH EVENT IN NEW YORK CITY.

THE MOTH IS A NOT FOR PROFIT ORGANIZATION.

IT'S DEDICATED TO THE ART AND THE CRAFT OF TRUE PERSONAL STORY.

WE SAY THAT THESE PERSONAL STORIES HONOR BOTH THE COMMONALITY AND THE DIVERSITY OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.

SOMETIMES THEY'RE HUMOROUS AND SOMETIMES THEY'RE HEARTBREAKING.

MOST OF THEM COVER THE POINTS IN BETWEEN.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, OUR STORYTELLERS.

I WAS A SOLDIER --

IT WAS MORE.

A COUPLE DIFFERENT SERIES.

ONE IS THE MOTH MAIN STAGE WHICH IS THE BULK OF WHAT YOU HEAR ON THE MOTH RADIO HOUR AND THE PODCAST.

WE'VE GOT OPEN PIKE SLAM NIGHTS WHICH ARE NOW IN 26 CITIES.

AND WE HAVE THE MOTH COMMUNITY PROGRAM, WHICH BRINGS PERSONAL STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS TO COMMUNITY GROUPS IN THE STATES BUT NOW ALSO IN AFRICA.

TOMORROW NIGHT THE THEME IS GLOBAL STORIES OF WOMEN AND GIRLS.

AS A STORYTELLER WHAT IS YOUR SUPERPOWER?

SHE SAID THE PERFECT ANSWER.

SHE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID 'BEING A WOMAN.'

PLEASE WELCOME --

ON THE HIGH MOUNTAINS OF NEPAL ON AN ASSIGNMENT FOR THE GOVERNMENT --

I'M NASUM PAPA.

I'M AN OBSTETRICIAN AND A GYNECOLOGIST.

FROM NEPAL AND AT THE MOMENT BASED IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE MORE YOU CAN VISUALIZE IT AND THE MORE YOU CAN PUT IT INTO THE MOMENT WITH YOUR FEELING.

ALL THE STORYTELLERS WERE PART OF PERSONAL STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS.

THE PURPOSE IS REALLY TO FIND THESE PERSONAL STORIES THAT THE STORYTELLERS CHOOSE TO TELL, THEY WANT TO TELL, TO HELP THEM CRAFT THE STORY.

BUT THE STORYTELLERS WILL ALSO WANT TO TELL THOSE STORIES AND OTHER PERSONAL STORIES OUT IN THE WORLD.

LET'S TRY IT.

I'LL TAKE SOME NOTES AND WE'LL TIME IT.

ON A REGULAR BASIS WE CAN TALK TO HER AND SHE'S REALLY TRAINING ME ON STORYTELLING.

AS A SENIOR OBSTETRICIAN AND GYNECOLOGIST I'VE BEEN HELPING OUT IN A HEALTH CAMP HERE.

I JUST FINISHED A SURGERY AND RESTING OVER A CUP OF TEA.

EVER SINCE I WAS A SMALL GIRL, LIKE I HAD ALWAYS THOUGHT I WOULD BE A DOCTOR ONE DAY.

THAT WAS WHAT MY DREAMS WERE.

PARTICULARLY BECAUSE -- IN OUR COUNTRY SO MANY WOMEN ARE JUST DYING.

SO THAT'S WHY I DECIDED TO DO OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY AND REALLY BE ABLE TO SERVE THESE WOMEN.

THE PHONE RINGS.

I QUICKLY GRAB THE PHONE AS I KNOW IT'S FROM HOME.

THEN SUDDENLY I HEAR A STRANGE MAN'S VOICE ON THE OTHER END.

'I WANT YOU TO CHANGE THE REPORT OF A YOUNG GIRL YOU EXAMINED TWO MONTHS BACK.

THE PERSON YOU GAVE THE REPORT AGAINST IS ONE OF OUR CADETS AND HE'S IN POLICE CUSTODY.

SO WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE REPORT IS CHANGED TO NOT BEING SEXUAL ASSAULT.

WE BELONG TO THE ARMED REBELS AND YOU KNOW WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES ARE IF YOU DON'T.'

I WAS FRIGHTENED.

I DID NOT KNOW WHAT THIS MEANT FOR ME.

IN THE WORKSHOP WE TAKE A LOT OF TIME TO FIND IN MANY CASES THE BIG DECISIONS YOU HAD TO MAKE THAT CHANGED THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE.

FLASHES OF THE GIRL KEPT COMING TO MY MIND.

SHE WAS ONLY 13 YEARS OLD.

AND THAT WAS THE VERDICT I HAD GIVEN.

NOW AT GUNPOINT I WAS MADE TO CHANGE MY DECISION.

BUT ALL ALONG I KNEW WHAT MY DECISION WOULD BE.

I WANT TO MAKE SURE I'M FEELING AS CLOSE TO YOU IN YOUR STORY AS POSSIBLE.

SO TELL ME HOW THAT FELT.

GIVE ME ALL OF THE FEELING.

THE FEELING BACKS UP THE PLOT POINTS.

WE SAY IT'S NOT AND THEN AND THEN AND THEN.

IT'S WHAT'S AT STAKE FOR YOU.

FOR ME TO SAY THAT I'M NO LONGER DOING A CLINICAL PRACTICE.

AND THE REASON IS MY WHOLE LIFE I WAS AN OBSTETRICIAN.

I WAS DOING ALL THAT.

AND NOW THIS CASE IS --

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT.

FOR ME IT'S SO IMPORTANT IN MY LIFE.

YEAH.

YEAH.

THAT YOU HAD TO GIVE IT UP.

MM-HMM.

I JUST GET EMOTIONAL.

LET ME ASK YOU, WHY DO YOU EMPOWER THE HEALTH WORKERS?

WHY DO YOU TEACH THE HEALTH WORKERS LIKE YOU DO?

THE REASON BEING LIKE SO THAT THEY ARE CONFIDENT AND THEY ALSO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS.

BECAUSE ONCE WE HAVE THE CONVERSATIONS TO PULL OUT ALL THE PIECES THEN WE TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE CAN PUT IT ALL TOGETHER AGAIN SO THERE'S A VERY DEFINABLE PERSONAL ARC.

THAT THESE GIRLS DESERVE JUSTICE.

THEY DESERVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE WITH DIGNITY.

I DECIDED, I WOULD BE THEIR VOICE.

AT THE END THERE WERE LOTS OF PEOPLE WHO CAME TO ME AND SHOOK MY HAND AND CONGRATULATED ME.

WHICH CLEARLY SHOWED THEY REALLY FELT THE WAY I DID.

THE EXPRESSION WHICH THEY HAD ON THEIR FACE LIKE THEY WERE LIVING THE MOMENTS WITH ME.

I CONTINUED TO BUILD THE SKILLS OF FRONTLINE HEALTH WORKERS, TO EMPOWER THEM SO THAT THEY CAN STAND FOR THESE GIRLS.

THEY CAN STAND FOR THE SURVIVORS.

NO MATTER WHAT THE RISK, NO ONE WILL EVER TURN THEIR BACK ON THEM AGAIN.

THANK YOU.

> NOTHING IS MORE DAMAGING TO A COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE THAN A CIVIL WAR.

BUT I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE WAR DEVASTATING SYRIA.

THIS WAR HAS GARNERED FAR FEWER HEADLINES AND INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION.

YET THIS BRUTAL CONFLICT HAS BEEN DREDGING ON FOR THREE CATASTROPHIC YEARS.

I'M TALKING ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR IN YEMEN.

OVER THE COURSE OF THE CONFLICT OVER 10,000 YEMENIS HAVE DIED AND MORE THAN 50,000 INJURED, LEAVING 22 MILLION IN NEED OF HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE, HALF OF WHICH ARE CHILDREN.

WITH A GROWING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS UNFOLDING THE WORK OF HUMANITARIAN AID GROUPS LIKE CARE ARE CRUCIAL.

JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR IN YEMEN AND THE RELIEF WORK OF CARE IS BO BOUSHA ADELREINA WHO DESPITE BEING DISPLACED BY THE WAR ITSELF IS STILL DOING OUTREACH WORK WHILE STILL RAISING HER OWN SCHOOL AGE SON.

AND SHE JOINS ME NOW.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

SO FIRST I WANT TO GET A SENSE OF WHAT IS IT THAT WE'RE MISSING FROM THE HEADLINES WHEN IT COMES TO THE WAR IN YEMEN?

I THINK WHAT'S HAPPENING IN YEMEN IS JUST BEING FORGOTTEN BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND IT'S NOT BEING REACHED WHAT'S GOING ON AND WHAT'S HAPPENING BECAUSE THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT ARE IN NEED NOW IS IN MILLIONS.

IT'S NOT THOUSANDS OR HUNDRED THOUSANDS OR SOMETHING.

IT'S 22.2 MILLIONS THAT ARE IN DESPERATE NEED FOR HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT LIKE DEATHS AND LIFE FOR CHILDREN AND WOMEN WHO ARE DYING ON DAILY BASIS.

AND WHEN YYOU TALK ABOUT THI HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, ARE WE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING STARVED?

ARE THEY EXPOSED TO A LOT OF DISEASE?

WHAT KIND OF HUMANITARIAN CRISIS EXACTLY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

IT'S MULTIPLE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT BECAUSE WE HAVE PEOPLE DYING EVERY DAY, WE HAVE PEOPLE STARVING.

WE ARE IN THE BRINK OF -- 11 MILLION PEOPLE ARE IN THE BRINK OF FAMINE.

AND WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HOMELESS PEOPLE.

WE ARE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR INCOME RESOURCES, THEIR LIVES, THEIR HOUSES, THEIR BELOVED ONES.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE DYING FOR SEVERAL REASONS, EITHER FROM AIRSTRIKES OR INTERNAL CONFLICT OR EPIDEMICS LIKE CHOLERA, DIFFEPHTHERIA AND DIFFERENT TYPES OF DISEASES.

THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

SO HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH A RELIEF ORGANIZATION WHEN YOU YOURSELF WERE A VICTIM OF THIS CONFLICT?

I'VE BEEN WORKING WITH CARE SINCE 2010, WHEN I JOINED CARE INTERNATIONAL.

AND THEN SINCE THEN I STARTED MY CAREER WITH THEM AND WHEN THE LATEST EVENTS HAPPENED IN 2015 I WAS ALREADY IN THE HUMANITARIAN WORK AND I GOT DISPLACED FROM THE AREA WHERE WE WERE LIVING, WHERE I WAS OVERSEEING MORE THAN 20 STAFF AT THAT TIME AND WE WERE PROVIDING HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO SOME DISPLACED PEOPLE.

AT THAT TIME IT WAS JUST UNBELIEVABLE THAT I WAS -- THE DAY I MOVED OUT MIFF HOUSE LEAVING EVERYTHING BEHIND US, EVEN NOT ABLE TO TAKE MY CHILD'S TOYS WITH ME, HE WAS TELLING ME MOMMY, CAN I TAKE MY TOYS WITH ME?

WE HAD LESS THAN TWO HOURS TO LEAVE, AND I HAD TO ORGANIZE EVERYBODY'S DEPARTURE AT THAT TIME BECAUSE IT WAS REALLY CRITICAL.

AIRSTRIKES WERE SO HEAVY AND WE HAD TO RUN FOR OUR LIVES.

SO I TOLD HIM WE CAN COME BACK IN TWO WEEKS OR A MONTH MAXIMUM.

BUT IT NEVER HAPPENED.

WE NEVER CAME BACK.

EVERYTHING WAS JUST DESTROYED.

AND WHILE ALL OF THAT SOUNDS SO DEVASTATING, I HAVE TO IMAGINE THAT FOR A YOUNG CHILD AND FOR ALL OF THE YOUNG CHILDREN WHO ARE LIVING THROUGH THIS CRISIS THAT IT'S THAT MUCH MORE IMPACTFUL.

DO YOU MIND SHARING WITH US WHAT THIS HAS BEEN LIKE FOR YOUR OWN SON?

IT HAS BEEN LIKE SO MUCH DIFFICULT FOR HIM.

IT'S SO HARD FOR HIM ALSO TO ADAPT AND LIVE A NORMAL LIFE LIKE OTHER CHILDREN IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD.

WOW.

I HAVE TO ASK, HOW IS THE U.S., WHICH CONSIDERS ITSELF, WE CONSIDER OURSELVES TO BE A VERY, YOU KNOW, SORT OF GENEROUS AND ALTRUISTIC COUNTRY, BUT HOW ARE WE VIEWED IN YEMEN RIGHT NOW CONSIDERING WHAT'S GOING ON?

I THINK THERE ARE HUMANITARIAN SUPPORT FROM U.S.

ORGANIZATIONS THAT IS SUPPORTING THE HUMANITARIAN ACTORS IN YEMEN.

BUT I THINK IT'S NOT -- THE ONLY THING THAT SHOULD BE DONE TOWARD THE YEMEN CRISIS RIGHT NOW, WHATEVER SUPPORT CAN BE PROVIDED TO YEMEN IS NOT ENOUGH BECAUSE THE MAIN THING THAT NEEDS TO BE LIKE SUPPORTED IS LIKE PROVIDING PEACE TO YEMENI PEOPLE AND TO END THIS UP BECAUSE WE'RE OUT OF 27 MILLION WE WERE TALKING ABOUT 22.2 MILLION PEOPLE IN NEED.

HOW MUCH LEFT.

FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SEEING THIS AND FEEL AS THOUGH THEY WANT TO DO SOMETHING, WHAT IS IT THAT THE AVERAGE NEW YORKER CAN DO TO SUPPORT THE PEOPLE IN YEMEN?

I THINK EVERYBODY SHOULD ADVOCATE FOR PEACE FOR YEMEN IN THE FIRST PLACE AND PROVIDE THE SUPPORT, THE FUNDING TO HUMANITARIAN WORKERS IN YEMEN TO DO THE LIFE SAVINGS.

BUT I WOULD TALK PEACE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

WHAT DOES THAT PEACE LOOK LIKE IN YEMEN?

WHAT DOES A PEACEFUL YEMEN --

ENDING THE CONFLICT.

ENDING THE DEATH OF CHILDREN, INNOCENT WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN YEMEN.

THAT WOULD BE THE PEACE THAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON THE PROGRAM AND BRINGING THIS IMPORTANT STORY OF HUMANITARIAN CRISIS TO THE FOREFRONT BECAUSE AS I SAID EARLIER IT DOESN'T GET NEARLY ENOUGH ATTENTION THAT IT SHOULD.

IT DOESN'T, YEAH.

AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BRINGING THIS INTO THE WORLD SO PEOPLE CAN KNOW EXACTLY WHAT'S GOING ON.

ALL RIGHT.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US, BUSHRA.

THANKS A LOT.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G.

PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

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