tv PBS News Hour PBS November 17, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
♪ judy: good evening. i am judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight -- censured. the house of representatives votes to punish a republican member over a video he shared depicting the murder of a democrat, highlighting again the deep political divisions in congress. then, getting the vaccine. the biden administration reveals its plan to make one billion covid shots available for global distribution, as vaccinations in poor countries lag. and, searching for justice. the formerly incarcerated struggle to overcome criminal records when applying for jobs. >> i felt like i was going to be wearing these invisible handcuffs for the rest of my life, and although i had paid my debt to society, it was not
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broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ judy: i am stephanie sy with "newshour west." we will return to the program after the latest headlines. the united states house of representatives has taken the rare step of rebuking one of its own. majority democrats voted today to censure republican paul gosar of arizona. he had tweeted an animated video of himself striking new york democrat alexandria ocasio-cortez with a sword. only 2 republicans voted for censure. we'll return to this, after the news summary. attorneys for kyle rittenhouse demanded a mistrial today in kenosha, wisconsin. they complained about the quality of a key video that the jury wants to see again, as it deliberates. rittenhouse is charged with murdering 2 men and wounding a ird during racial justice protests. and, in brunswick, georgia, the man who killed ahmaud arbery took the stand to testify that he feared for his life.
travis mcmichael and 2 other white men face murder charges. we will return to this case later on in the program. the white house today announced plans to invest billions of dollars to generate more "covid" vaccine doses. officials said producing another 1 billion doses could have benefits both global and domestic. >> the first application is likely to be used produce more covid-19 vaccines for the world , and then we have this ability for any future threat to produce mrna vaccines to counter that. stephanie: also today, new numbers showed covid is pushing drug overdose deaths to record highs. the cdc estimates there were more than 100,000 in the 12 months ending last april. health officials say the pandemic cutoff drug users from treatment. they also blame fentanyl, a highly lethal opioid.
two men convicted of assassinating civil rights activist malcolm x in new york in 1965 will have their names cleared. the district attorney for manhattan said today he wants the court to void the convictions of muhammad aziz and khalil islam. a new investigation has found that authorities withheld evidence in their cases. the men were released from prison in the 1980's. one has since died. state officials in louisiana today granted parole to 75 year old henry montgomery, who was convicted of murder when he was 17. his case was pivotal to u.s. supreme court decisions that said mandatory life sentences for juveniles were cruel and unusual punishment. but, he had failed to win parole until now. parts of the u.s. pacific northwest are still leaving tonight from record rain that touched off flooding and mudslides. one man in washington died after being swept away by floodwaters. in canadian officials have
declared an emergency in british columbia. john yang has more. john: days of heavy rain have transformed parts of washington state into marshland. local officials estimate about three quarters of the homes have water damage. hundreds of people were evacuated. the mayor, carl christensen. >> we are very thankful we haven't had any injuries or loss of life. that always was our biggest concern. john: in the northern city of everson, a father is missing after his car was swept away on monday. at the time, his son was on the phone with him. >> the last words i heard my dad say was "come take me out, come take me out please." he was pleading me to jump in there and take him out. john: after work crews cleared many roads, the washington transportation department said today, there are still several state highways closed due to flooding. in some parts of the state, like in mount vernon, north of
seattle, waters have begun to recede. but many have lost power and suffered property damage. on monday, washington governor jay inslee declared a severe weather state of emergency for 14 counties in the western part of the state. the effects are also being felt across the border in canada's british columbia province. the canadian government said today, it is marshaling its air force to assist the province with evacuations and to support supply lines. days of downpours in british columbia triggered floods and mudslides that shut down critical highways and railways to vancouver, cutting off its major port. at least one person was killed by the mudslides. helicopter teams had to rescue drivers. some residents in the city of abbotsford used what they had available, riding jet skis to mount cattle rescue operations. >> the farmers are very adaptive to dealing with the situation and figuring out how to do things.
but we need to get some more help here from our province. john: several towns in western canada have been isolated by the storms, which have cut off transportation and choked supply lines. at least one town is reporting a shortage of food. for the "pbs newshour," i'm john yang. stephanie: in colorado, a pilot crashed and died fighting a wildfire near rocky mountain national park. he was a military veteran with more than four decades of flying experience. he was flying at night, when winged aircraft are rarely used to fight fires in colorado. an arizona man at the center of the u.s. capitol assault now faces 41 months in federal prison. jacob chansley was wearing a horned fur hat and face paint during the january riot. he was sentenced today in washington for obstructing an official proceeding of congress. he tolthe judge he had no excuse. former president trump longtime
ally steve bannon has pleaded not guilty to charges of contempt of congress. he defied a subpoena related to the capitol attack. the charges are misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in prison. in india, severe air pollution forced schools in new delhi to close indefinitely today. severaloal-based power plants were also shuttered. as smog blanketed the capital city, india's highest court weighed imposing a lockdown to reduce pollution. but business owners said that could damage the economy. >> we are already suffering losses for the past want to years because of the pandemic lockdown. now, shorting work in busesses in the name of pollution. as it is, there is hardly any work. stephanie: the pollution emergency comes days after india successfully lobbied the u.n. climate summit to water down language on ending coal usage. a houston law firm has filed a lawsuit on behalf of 120 clients
who attended the astroworld festival, where a crowd surge killed ten people and injured two dozen last week. the suit seeks $750 million, and names among others, musicians travis scott and drake, as well as apple music and live nation entertnment as defendents. still to come on the "newshour", one of the alleged killers of ahmaud arbery takes the stand in georgia why the build back better legislation could have a large effect on prescription drug prices. a chinese tennis star appears to accuse a top government official of sexual assault. plus much more. ♪ >> this is the pbs newshour, from weta studios in washington, and from the west, from the walter cronkite studios at arizona state university. ♪ judy: it was the first time the u.s. house of representatives censured one of its own in more
than a decade, and as we reported, when it took that step today against republican representative paul gosar in arizona, it was divided nearly among party lines. lisa desjardins has been following this all day. tell us more about what was in this video that he posted, and why did democrats feel that he should be censured? lisa: the video was posted on his twitter feed and stayed there for three days. i went to explain to our viewers, we will not show the video. it does depict violence. but we will show some images to help people understand what this is first. , the image had fast pacing flashes of images like this one, some anime and japanese characters, as well as photos of migrants on the border. but the one getting the most attention has been this one. that is alexandra ocasio-cortez, the congresswoman from new york,
her face imposed on the character known as a bad guy in this anime world. what is that in front of her? that is a depiction of representative gosar, carrying swords, attacking her. she is not the only high-ranking official to be attacked in the video that is depicted this way. also in the end of the video is this image of a character with knives and swords attacking president biden himself. democrats said in that resolution that this has gone too far, this is violence against black officials and members of congress, and they voted largely, all democrats and two republicans, that he needed to be censured. which means he has to face house of representatives, and also he has been stripped of his committee positions. judy: only two republicans voted on the censure, congresswoman cheney and congressman kinsinger. how is congressman gosar defending what he did?
lisa: from the house floor, we heard a few things. let's hear what alexandria ocasio cortez said on the house floor today. >> it's pretty cut and dry. do you find -- does anyone in this chamber find this behavior acceptable? would you allow depictions of violence against women, against colleagues? would you allow that in your home? do you think this should happen on the school board? in a church? and if it is not acceptable there, why should it be accepted here? lisa: for his part, representative gosar said he was being metaphorical, going against biting democratic policies, especially immigration. let's look at what he said he was doing, and also what republicans said in response,
including leader kevin mccarthy saying, democrats are the problem. rep. gosar: i voluntarily took the cartoon down not because it was itself a threat, but because some thought it was. out of compassion for those who generally felt offense, i self censored. rep. mccarthy: for democrats, this vote is not about a video. it's about control. that's the one and only thing democrats are interested in. lisa: republicans by and large supported gosar. they don't support him behind-the-scenes. they know he is a controversial figure. they have problems with his associations with white nationalists in the past, but they say democrats went too far and jumped the process in this situation. judy: you are on the hill all this time. how does this mean for the way things work. lisa: some republicans seem a positive gosar as a joke. someone they don't respect. however, this was a serious video, and democrats who have
just come through january 6 like all of us, are very concerned about violence. in the last 10 years alone we have had two, members of congress shot, gabrielle giffords and steve scalise, because of an atmosphere in this country of politics becoming violent. there is a real concern that we are back in that place. we were after january 6, a lot of tension and concern tonight in congress. judy: very worrying. lisa desjardins, thank you. lisa: you are welcome. judy: and for more on today's events and this political environment, i am joined by representative nicole malliotakis of new york. she's one of the 13 republicans who voted to pass the infrastructure bill. congresswoman mo malliotakis, welcome back. you voted against the censure of your colleague. does that mean you condone what he did? >> this animation was a bad thing to post.
if you look at the way nancy pelosi has made politics, she refuses to go after her own members who have done inappropriate things. look at a lan or anti-semitic comments in the past two years. look at eric swalwell who had an affair with a chinese spy and still sits on the committee. we cannot have double standards here. we are tired of nancy pelosi picking on our members but not going after her on members' misdeeds. with regards to the bipartisan infrastructure bill it is a good bill for my district in new york. over 10% of the money will be coming to my state. i don't know how any person representing new york city could vote against it. this is really important with nearly half the money going to roads, bridges, and highways. nearly $550 billion going to transit systems, fairies, coastal residency projects, so critical in my district after hurricane sandy devastated my community.
and also expanding the capacity of our sewer infrastructure, which is so important. we just saw that after ida. judy: let me ask you another two questions about the vote today. are you saying that this kind of animated video that congressman gosar put forward is a good representative of what the republican party stands for? he talked about using it to reach younger voters. congresswoman malliotakis: absolutely not. the content of the video was inappropriate. but we are tired of nancy pelosi playing politics and not going after her own members when they do inappropriate things. you should be asking nancy pelosi, why is she only picking on republicans, why is she not going after members of her own party who have done very bad things as well in terms of inciting civil unrest, in terms of potentially sharing information that is secret information as a member of the intel committee with someone who
may be a chinese spy? none of these have ever been brought up. double standard was what the vote was about whether anything. judy: by the things you have just listed that democrats have dan, you are saying that is equivalent to portraying the killing by one member of congress of another one? congresswoman malliotakis: the animation was inappropriate, as i have said. judy: i am asking, because the american people look and they wonder, what has happened to the ability of congress to work together? as lisa desjardins was just reporting, there is a real concern now of the ability of members of congress to work together. the vitriol is off the charts. congresswoman malliotakis: well, i agree that there is a lot of fullers nation in congress. look at the way that -- there is a lot of polarization in congress. . look at the way i have been treated by some simply because i voted for a infrastructure bill
that is good for my district. voting for a measure that i believe is a good investment for the future of this country and for those i represent, particularly a community like new york city with aging infrastructure. we look for opportunities to work in a bipartisan fashion, certainly, but when you see democrats trying to move this country in the direction of socialism, that has created a lot of polarization in cgress and it makes it very difficult to get things done. judy: let me ask you about your vote for the infrastructure bill. you just mentioned it yourself, a number of those who voted for it on the republican side have been subjected to very strong language from american voters. this after former president trump said that you and others who voted for it should be, quote, "ashamed of yourselves." you were in the audience when he said that. what was your reaction? congresswoman malliotakis: i respect president trump. as you know, i have supported him. he endorsed me.
i had a good conversation with him the day following the dinner in which we shared our views on this particular bill. i am happy to still have his support and we are moving forward united as a party to push back against president biden's build back better agenda. most of the angry phone calls and gotten from people outside new york are simply because they believe i voted for a bill that contained irs agents dabbling to target americans. they don't want to pay for that extra 87,000 irs agents, they don't want to pay for amnesty, expanding welfare without work requirements or any other social programs. that is why people are extraordinarily upset, and that is why the republican party is united, and we hope the moderates will be courageous to join us in standing up against those who want to fundamentally change our country. judy: you say you had a conversation with president trump but it was his criticism of your vote that it appears has generated much of what americans are saying -- i just want to
quickly play an expert of what your republican colleague fred upton released to the public, what he left in a phone message from an american voter. >> [beep] traitor. that is what you are. you are a [beep] trader. i hope you die. i hope everyone in your family dies. you [beep] piece of trash [beep]. judy:. judy: to what extent do you hold president trump responsible for generating this reaction? congresswoman malliotakis: not responsible at all. this is an individual who made the decision to make that phone call, which i think is incredibly appropriate. why would the former president be blamed? it does not make sense. what has really been the issue is misinformation surrounding the infrastructure bill. as i tried to point out, it is cover to cover, real infrastructure and critical to my district.
what people are mostly upset about is the biden build back better bill, that reconciliation bill that we are currently fighting in washington. we don't want more government control and intrusion in our lives. we don't want to see more taxes, more mandates, the doubling of irs agents look into every bank transaction that. you and your family make. we don't want to see illegal immigrants getting benefits that american citizens are not currently getting. this is exactly why american people are so upset. it certainly is inappropriate that people are calling elected officials and making those types of comments. look, i have gotten my own share of very disturbing phone calls from people outside of my district. it is very important that we do not try to mischaracterize these pieces of legislation, because that is where this anger is coming from. unfortunately, that is what i am doing as many interviews as possible to explain to people that these are two separate
bills. the infrastructure bill is cover to cover infrastructure that we have needed for decades in our country, and that local and national leaders did not put forth the investment that was needed. but we are united against that build back better bill, and we will fight to defeat it. judy: congresswoman nicole malliotakis, thank you very much for joining us. we appreciate it. congresswoman malliotakis: thank you. ♪ judy: one of three men on trial for fatally shooting ahmaud arbery, who was black, took the stand today in his own defense. travis mcmichael, who is white, testified a day after the prosecution rested in a murder trial that is racially charged and being closely watched around the country. william brangham has the latest. william: mcmichael is being charged with murder and other crimes, along with two other men. the accused say they were attempting a citizen's arrest on
arbery, suspecting him of robbing a nearby house. prosecutors allege the men illegally chased down and killed arbery. on the stand today, mcmichael described the moment he shot arbery, claiming it was done in self-defense. >> i shot him. >> why? >> he had my gun. he struck me. it was obvious that he was attacking me. that if he would have gotten the shotgun from me, then -- it was a life or death situation and i am going to have to stop him from doing this. so i shot. william: we should say, the prosecution has disputed that characterization of the events. joining me now is margaret coker, she's editor-in-chief of "the current," a non-profit, non-partisan news organization in southeastern georgia. she's been covering the trial in brunswick since it started last month. great to have you on the news
hour. we just heard there from travis mcmichael. can you tell us more about what he is claiming on the witness stand that happened in this fatal moment? margaret: travis mcmichael is the younger of the two mcmichael's. he and the father are codefendants along with the neighbor, william roddie bryan. the actions that they took that day are under the microscope. travis mcmichael has always been straightforward in saying that he killed ahmaud arbery. the jury will decide whether that was murder or self defense. travis took the stand today to try to, as he said, put things in his own context, what was going through his mind when he decided to grab his gun along with his father and chase ahmaud arbery through their mostly white neighborhood in the outskirts of brunswick, in this small corner of southeast georgia. what travis is trying to do is make himself more human. he is a person that has been characterized by the special
agent who decided to finally arrest him and his father and their codefendants, as someone who is a white racist, white supremacist. someone who had a confederate flag vanity license plate. someone who might have actually used the n-word when he stood over ahmaud arbery after he shot him. these are the depictions that defense lawyers are saying our nonsense, that his family say our nonsense. he has been trying to put a human face on the events of that tragic day, february 23, 2020. william: the defense also argued this week that the mood for a mistrial, and also said all charges should be dropped. what is the basis on which they are that argument? margaret: they said that nothing illegal happened that day. they have always put forward that their client did nothing wrong, that they acted within georgia law, which at the time allowed for a citizens arrest. and also that they acted in
self-defense. they say the prosecution has not hit the bar event to show that those crimes were committed. the judge, of course, has denied those motions and here we have the defendants finally taking the stand. william: what do you make -- the prosecution rested its case earlier this week. have day, in your judgment, hit the bar for a murder conviction? margaret: yeah, georgia has a different murder statute than other states. there are no different degrees of murder here. it is felony murder or malice murder or manslaughter. so that prosecution does not have to prove intent or prove someone was a racist when they chased ahmaud arbery down the street. all she has to prove is that in the heat of the moment, there were bad assumptions made, that there were two different sets of opinions happening on the streets that day, and that they willfully killed someone. the citizens arrest law, that has been repealed, there is very
clear language that people trying to detain a person had to have seen a felony happen or have reasonable suspicion that that happened. both the mcmichael's and bryan have said they did not see what happened that day. they chased arbery for bad assumptions. william: margaret, thank you so much. margaret: thank you. ♪ judy: meanwhile, president biden is promoting the new infrastructure package. he and democrats are trying to win approval of a social spending and climate bill, called build back better. part of that bill is aimed at lowering prescription drug prices for older americans. amna nawaz has the details as part of our look at what's at stake in this bill. amna: judy, one of the most debated pieces of the bill is an agreement that would allow the government, through medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies on
certain drugs starting in 2025. it would also cap out of pocket costs for seniors at $2000 a year, starting in 2024. for diabetic patients, out of pocket costs for insulin would be capped at $35 dollars for a 30-day supply starting in 2023. to help us understand more about the impact of this, and its limits, i'm joined by stacie dusetzina, associate professor of health policy at vanderbilt university school of medicine. professor, welcome to the newshour. thank you for making the time. the key provision in the proposal, the ability to negotiate for prescription drug prices, we know some democrats wanted medicare to have the power to do that for many more drugs, up to 250 drugs. it was scaled-back in this bill. tell me about that. stacie: it is a major scaled-back, but it is an important change. to date, medicare has not been
able to negotiate for any drug prices. the ability to negotiate even though it only starts with 10 drugs and drugs that have been on the market for a long time, 9-13 years, it is a major step forward and i think it will result in savings overall. but it is very different than the original plan. >> from the pharmaceutical company's perspective, if you are looking to increase profits, how do you know the world not do things like boost prices of drugs that are not under negotiation to make up for that? stacie: we don't know that. that is something we will be watching. another important part of this bill is it does reduce the ices above inflation in these medicare part d program. so it is trying to address some of these potential concerns about price increases. but certainly, new drugs may come out with higher prices. it is yet unclear.
i do think that the ability to negotiate for some drugs, again, is completely different than the status quo. being able to open the door to drug-price negotiations is an important first step. amna: what about the benefit for people with private insurance? is it the same? stacie: with private insurance they will not have nearly as many impacts from this bill. the largest one is the provision around insulin coverage and being offered it at $35. so it s dramatically scaled-back when it comes to how the bill would affect the private insurance market. but the provisions also provide a huge amount of benefits and fixes problems with medicare and medicaid. amna: professor, another important provision capping those out-of-pocket annual costs at $2000 a year for people 65 and older, how many people is that likely to impact? stacie: estimates from 2019 suggested that over 1.5 million
medicare beneficiaries had spending of over $2000 on the benefit soe know that that is a pretty good estimate of how many people may be affected. we also know that a lot of people don't fill prescriptions because of cost concerns, so the benefit could extend to more people. separately, even if you don't think you will hit the 2011 maximum, it provides financial security for you in case you ever do need really expensive medications. so the benefit is really for everyone in the medicare part d program. amna: we know that prescription drug prices has been a battle for decades. given the pushback from pharmaceutical companies, do you see this proposal as the best possible way lawmakers have two negotiate drug prices, or is there an opening for future negotiations down the line? stacie: it is an opening. it also recognizes the concerns about the trade-offs between lower prices and innovation,
because the evidence for that trade-off is not very well established. so i think this will give us some experience with drug price negotiation and inking about how we can spend our dollars more wisely, and opens the door to future discussions. amna: and i will ask you as well, like a lot of things on capitol hill, there are mixed reviews. conservative groups attack this as a socialist scheme. liberals see this as a watershed moment. how do you view it? stacie: this is a way for consumers, especially for medicare beneficiaries. i spent a lot of time thinking about access to things like cancer drugs on the medicare benefits, and i think the improvements here are very, very large for the consumer. they may also open up concerns about how we set drug prices initially in other places where we may need intervention. but i think it is a very important first step. amna: professor stacie dusetzina, associate professor of health policy at vanderbilt
university, thank you so much for joining us. stacie: thank you. ♪ judy: as we reported, the biden administration is ramping up plans for vaccine manufacturing for the coming year. but developing nations have been struggling with delays and shortages for months. moderna reportedly will supply 56 million more doses to the global vaccine initiative known as covax, but far more is still needed. william brangham is back with that story. william: while the u.s. and the european union have gotten doses to roughly 70% of their populations, the rest of the world lags far behind across the african continent just over 6% have been vaccinated. in developing nations, it is even lower, just around 4% of people have received your first shot. >> joining me now is someone whose job is dedicated to
righting that imbalance. dr. arthur seth berkley is the ceo of the gavi. vaccine alliance, one of the key partners in covax. dr. berkley, great to have you back on the "newshour." broadly speaking, help us understand why this imbalance exists. i mean, you've gotten hundreds of millions of doses out the door to nations, but it's still less than you had hoped, thus far. why is that? dr. berkley: it is a really interesting question. when a pandemic occurs, there is a number of things that happen. first you have to figure out why you have a countermeasure, in this case, vaccines. and we are very lucky. we have vaccines. most of them have worked. we saw the first vaccine 327 days after it started in terms of it being made available. so that was the good news. the challenge was wealthy countries, of course bought up all of the doses at the beginning. and when we started covax of course, we had no money for purchasing these doses and had no staff. so we had to build those
efforts, as well as set up things like the no fault compensation schemes, the regulatory approvals for countries. but of course, right now it is really looking up. we have delivered more than half a billion doses, and by the end of the year, we expect to have around one billion doses that have been delivered. william: there is some reporting that moderna is about to have another announcement that they will get several millions of doses out the door. broadly speaking also, what role do you place on pharmaceutical companies to do their part, getting doses free or low cost to the developing world? dr. berkley: what is critical is that we expect that companies will honor their commitments. sometimes that has not been the case. when you scale from nothing, if we look at the world, the world normally produces between three and a half and 5 billion doses. this year, maybe 12 billion doses of covid vaccine.
so it has been an incredible scale up. that means there have been many, many manufacturing problems. the critical issue for us is, if you promise to make doses for covax, if you are not able to do that, are you sharing the problem with your other paying customers, or are you specifically not providing doses for low-income countries while you're continuing to provide provide doses for your high -income customers? that's the type of transparency we need. william: do you think, going forward -- god forbid we have another one of these pandemics, but it's likely that we will, -- then when governments make contracts with these companies, especially when taxpayer money is involved, that it ought to have tighter restrictions to say , if this vaccine is successful, you must give x percent to the developing world, you must share your intellectual property to help other nations build and distribute these vaccines as well. should we do a better job of that? dr. berkley: first of all, it is evolutionarily certain we will have other outbreaks, whether they'll be vaccine preventable
or not, is unknown. i think the critical thing here is not that the companies have to give -- we made a decision that we would work with for-profit companies to develop our products. what we want to make sure is that there is access. that is what happened at the beginning, there was no access whatsoever. we did not know which vaccine would work. in every country whether to buy not one vaccine, 3, 4, 5 if they could. that's where we ended up with countries with lots of excess doses. and when we didn't have any doses, we called on those countries to say, please, if you have excess doses make them available now. william: given all of these issues going forward, what does 2020 to look like for the developing world? are we still talking about a very small minority of people getting the doses that they desperately need? dr. berkley: it's quite the opposite. elieve by the end of this year 2021 we should get close to the goal that we had originally had, which was to cover not only all
the high-risk people, so health-care workers, elderly, those with comorbidities, something around 20% of the population, but the goal president biden's put on the table was to get to 70% of the global population by the un's general assembly next year. now, that's a very tough goal. i'm not going to say we're going to hit it everywhere, but we are planning towards it. we actually have visibility towards 4.5 billion doses, which is what it wld take to get us there. we'll need some more money. we'll need some more help on delivery. but it is plausible to get to a situation very soon. where countries have the doses they want. the challenge is going to be, will they want to take it all the way up? and how do we deal with vaccine hesitancy and demand-related issues, which is an important challenge. william: dr. seth berkley, ceo of the gavi vaccine alliance, thank you so much for being here. dr. berkley: thank you for having me. ♪
judy: more than 70 million americans have some sort of criminal or arrest record, and for many, that can prevent them from passing a background check or getting a job. amna nawaz is back to profile one woman's fight to overcome her past, and to prove herself at one of the biggest tech companies in the world. it is part of our "searching for justice" series, looking at the challenges after incarceration. nats typing on computer from amna: from days spent working from home, in sales for microsoft, to evening strolls with her husband and dog, on shelley winner's life here in california's bay area today, is one she could've never imagined just a few years ago. >> if someone would have told me when i was sitting back in my prison cell 5, 6 years ago, that one day i would be working at microsoft, i would have laughed in their face.
[laughs] amna: her path to that prison cell, she says, began early. winner grew up in sacramento. her mother, she says, was often absent. her stepfather was in and out of prison. >> he told me the rule of the house was if i wanted to do any hard drugs, that i had to bring them home and share them with him. and he was using and selling meth out of our home. i didn't know what a hangover was, but looking back now, i was definitely hungover at 11 years old. amna: as a teen, she began using crystal meth. in her twenties, her addiction eventually eclipsed everything else. >> i couldn't keep a regular job , working eight hours. drugs was more important to me. lived that life for well over a decade. i started selling drugs and eventually got caught by the federal government, and right after my arrest, that is when i found out i was pregnant. amna: pregnant, fighting addiction, and facing a ten-year sentence, winner decided to change. she entered rehab, got clean, and two months after giving
birth to her son, reported to prison. she served a year and a half of a four-year sentence, and says that time was transformational, thanks to a number of programs available inside. when she got out in 2016, she was ready for a new life and knew exactly what she wanted to do. >> it is funny, when i was running and gunning, my favorite thing to do when i got high was build and fix computers. amna: just a few months free, staying in a halfway house, she landed an interview for a retail position in a microsoft store. >> here i was, fresh out of prison, and now i'm interviewing with one of the biggest tech companies in the world, and i knew if i could get my foot in the door, this company, that my life would drastically change. amna: and do you get the job after the interview? >> she hired me right on the spot. amna: winner knew her record would show up in a background check. so she decided to be upfront, and lay her cards on the table, >> all of the certificates of
rehabilitative classes that i took in prison, i had all of them. so i scanned them all to my cloud drive and i attached them to the letter and i sent it off, because i wanted them to see that i was not lying. unfortunately, they came back and said, we are not going to move forward with your hire . amna: so to go from that, having that offer taken away, what did that feel like? >> devastating. i felt like i was forever going to be punished for my criminal record for the rest of my life. but i was going to be writing these invisible handcuffs for the rest of my life. and although i had paid my debt to society, it wasn't enough. amna: shelley winner had just run into the same barrier as millions of other formerly incarcerated people. but because this job was in san francisco, shelley had access to
something most don't, a law that gave her the legal grounds to fight for that job. in 2014, san francisco's mayor signed the fair chance ordinance, requiring employers to consider mitigating circumstances and evidence of rehabilitation for any job applicant with a criminal record. it also requires employers to prove that criminal record is relevant to the job before turning down the applicant. on those grounds, winner challenged microsoft's denial in 2017. she was invited to re-interview, and this time, got the job. >> i was so excited. all of that devastation and the hurt and the sadness, gone. [laughs] i was just ecstatic. i remember the recruiter. she says, wow, i have never had a response like this before. [laughter] i say, girl, i have gone through
it. i've been going through it. amna: so if this law wasn't on the books and shelley hadn't called you, what would have been her recourse? >> she wouldn't have had any direct recourse. amna: patrick mulligan leads san francisco's office of labor standards enforcement, which implements that fair chance ordinance. >> there is 70 million adult americans that have some sort of arrest oconviction history. the employment is regarded as probably the number one issue regarding recidivism in this country. so i think issues that affect one-third of the adult population are important for everybody. amna: across the country 37 , stat and more than 150 cities and counties have "ban the box" rules that prevent public sector employers from asking about incarceration on a job application. but only 15 states and 22 localities require the same for private employers. and even fewer states, cities and counties include laws for private employers that are as strong as san francisco's.
there will be people who say, shouldn't employers be allowed to say who gets to work for their companies and who doesn't? >> they do. but there are some restrictions on that. we already have laws in place around racial bias, discriminatory practices, and this really just falls among those. >> the system is there to help qualified candidates quickly and get you qualified people. the challenge is, is the system looking for people that can help your company change? amna: jason ford is a microsoft executive who met winner while she worked in the retail job, >> what if you were only known for the worst thing that you have ever done? amna: he saw a tedx presentation she gave in 2019, advocating for other formerly incarcerated people. and he says he was really impressed. >> and the reason that i know this is because the worst thing that i had ever done landed me in prison. amna: ford wanted to promote her
from retail, to his corporate team. this time, when her background check raised concerns, ford pushed back. >> we are really focused on trying to be very thoughtful and inclusive. sometimes you have to push the systems to catch up to it, but sometimes the systems don't know that these communities are areas that we can tap into for talent. and so it just takes, i think, a forceful perspective for people to lean in. amna: and that includes formerly incarcerated people. >> formerly incarcerated people are huge population. they have to be contributing members of society. may be not all of them will be capable of doing some of the things that we are asking, or maybe not all of them bring the diversity that we would need. but there's no way that none of them do. amna: earlier this year, microsoft joined the second chance business coalition, a group of major corporations pledging to expand hiring and advancement of people with criminal records. winner is now two and a half years into her corporate job, working in surface tablet sales to other businesses. her latest fight is for full custody of her son, who's been with other family since she went to prison.
still, winner says, she's grateful for her second chances. and knows there are many more out there who need them too. >> as formerly incarcerated, we tend to get beat down by society 's stigmas and beliefs about us, and we tend to buy into those beliefs. i wasn't going to do that. i was going to show society that i am a worthy person, but i deserve to have an amazing job. i deserve to be a productive member of society. this whole process, i've had a lot of fear. and there were times where i almost gave up, but i'm so glad i didn't. amna: for the pbs "newshour," i'm amna nawaz in vallejo, california. ♪ judy: one of china's biggest sports stars recently appeared to publicly accuse a former top government official of sexual assault. as stephanie sy explains, there are now new questions about what
happened, and the broader issue of "metoo" in china. stephanie: judy, this month chinese tennis star peng shuai , seemed to accuse a former top government official-- zhang gaoli--of forcing her to have sex, making zhang the highest-ranking chinese official called out by china's fledgling #metoo movement. peng posted the allegation to a chinese cial media site, which promptly deleted it. high-profile players voiced their support, amid fears she went missing. naomosaka tweeted, "censorship is never ok at any cost, i hope peng shuai and her family are safe and ok." but today chinese state tv tweeted a copy of an email peng allegedly sent to the women's tennis association. "the allegation of sexual assault is not true," she wrote, "i'm not missing, nor am i unsafe."
for more on this, i'm joined by jane mcmanus, a sports reporter and director of the center for sports communication at marist college. jane, this has all gotten very complicated in the last few hours. today peng shuai supposedly sent this email to the wta denying her original claim and saying she was not sexually assaulted. but this afternoon the chair of the wta puts out a statement saying "i have a hard time , believing that peng shuai actually wrote the email or believes what is being attributed to her." he say her safety still needs to be verified. what do you make of all this? jane: wellw, theta -- well, the wta has been trying a lot of different avenues to make contact with peng shuai. and they have been unable to. so this claim that she is resting at home, which is not
the case, it raises questions about the veracity of the email, how it was written, under what circumstances she may have written the email. stephanie: china is an enormously important market for u.s.-based leagues. were you surprised to see the wta double down on demanding an investigation on behalf of one of its players? jane: actually, the wta has made i think one of the strongest statements since in reaction to something china has done. we have not seen this from other leagues like the nba and the premier league which have also had players speak out against some alleged abuses china has had. the wta is risking a lot here in its relationship with china. it has 10 tournaments in the normal pre-covid year in china, top-tier. it also has major sponsors who are chinese companies. , so risking millions if not more when risking this relationship. . i think the wta, and certainly the statement, says the wta
values some of these underlying values of the league a lot more than it is going to value the money. stephanie: could we see the wta boycott china? jane: simon has threatened to remove tournaments from china if this situation is not resolved to their satisfaction and the safety of peng shuai is not assured. we could see something that. many times this negotiation between companies and potential human rights abuses take place behind closed doors. there is a quiet diplomacy when there a crisis like this. so to make such a public statement challenging china's version of what is happening is a risky play from the wta, and i don't know exactly what the end will be. there is potential for real damage here in this relationship. stephanie: i want to talk about this in the larger context of the metoo movement in china. her post was deleted pretty qukly by censors in china.
they are very good at that. how big of a problem are these allegations for beijing? given the stature of the star as well as of the government official, who is allied with the president xi jinping himself? jane: it is a real optics problem for china. they will be hosting the olympics in a few weeks. the idea that the intersection between china and sports is very much at the forefront of people's thinking right now, you have a lot of government quesoning how involved they should be in this olympics with the human rights allegations against china. so, obviously, this is something that really stands out. the way that they have cracked down not just on peng shuai's social media, all mention of tennis in some cases. the new york times had a report were certain keywords were no longer searchable in china. . but this has happened with the larger metoo movement, where key phrases related to feminism and sexual assault allegations have also been censored. this is a tactic that china has
used to crackdown on dissent, which is part of the thing that actually sparks the critique that it then has to try and censor. stephanie: sports reporter jane mcmanus, thank you for joining us. jane: thank you for having me. judy: and we will continue to follow that story. on the newshour" online, a look inside detroit's japanese american community, which has built a legacy intertwined with the city's history, the history of the automobile, and american history all while telling its own story. that's on pbs.org/newshour. and that is the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us on-line and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe and we'll see you soon. ♪ >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- >> the rules of business are being reinvented with a more flexible workforce. embracing innovation, by looking not only at current opportunities, but i had to future ones.
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