tv Amanpour on PBS PBS April 2, 2018 6:00am-6:30am PDT
welcome to amanpour on pbs. tonight, our exclusive exposé sexu assault allegations at #fe united tions. a whistle-blower speaks out publicly for the first time. >> i was holding on the tell separator and i was pleading with him and i was just bracing with all that i could and that's how i escaped. >> holding the u.n. accountable. plus, holding men everywhere accountable. i talk to the actor/director david schwimmer and the anti-sexism activist jackson katz about their "ask more of him" campaign.
good evening and welcome to the pamerogram, i'm cristian amanpour in london. the united nations is an organization with tens of thousands of employees all around the globe. it dedicates much of its work to lifting up the most vulnerable through programs on health, security, and human development. but with all the good, there have been some problems. we have brought you the stories before of sexual exploitation at the hands of u.n. peacekeepers and employees in the field, and tonight we want to take a closer look at what goes on within the organization when employees feel they've been violated by their own colleagues. one woman, martina brostrom, is coming forward for the first time publicly to tell her story.
she says she was sexually assaulted by her superior, the deputy executive director of u.n. aid, luis lures and the investigation was woefully flawed. cnn has talked to two other women who had similar experiences with loures. he tells cnn they that he cooperated fully with the investigation which found the brostrom's claims were unsubstantiated. martina brostrom is frank about her own experiences which she says have made feel dimini diminishes and deeply anxious but she says the problem is much larger. we talked about this when i sat down with her here in the london studio. welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> this is difficult to talk you about publicly. describe the event which i beli was in a hotel in
thailand in may of 2015. >> that's correct. i was asked by luiz loures, i was invited to a meeting in a quiet corner of the hotel. i had trepidation meeting with him one on one. >> because? >> because he had a reputation and his behavior towards me which had been ongoing for several years. >> and what was that behavior? >> sexual harassment. his mannerism in the workplace. >> how? describe that. >> it was remarks about looks, it was unwelcome touching, touching your hair, rubbing your shoulders and i wanted to present myself as someone who was serious and integral but i was put at ease when i saw the other deputy executive director who is now the undersecretary general for management in the u.n., that she was also there with two colleagues. >> so you felt safe in that
environment. >> yes, i did. >> and then what happened? >> as we wrapped up the work-related conversation and we were both leaving the meeting location, we were joining in tell separator to go down to our respective rooms and as i'm standing in tell separator he's launching at me and he's attacking me. i'm pushed towards the wall, he starts shoving his tongue into my mouth trying to kiss me and he's groping my body including my breasts. the elevator doors open and he tries to forcefully pull me out of tell separator, drag me towards the corridor of his room >> how did you manage not to be dragged out. you're quite little, you're very petite. >> i was holding on to tell separator and i was pleading with him and i was bracing with all that they could to never leave tell separator and that's how i escaped. it took me a while to report it formally within the u.n. system because of my fear that they wouldn't take my allegations seriously or they would
retaliate against me. >> indeed, it took you more than a year and a half. >> before i formally reported it in writing. >> got it. >> but i had been informing the chief of staff and the executive director ahead of time. >> you describe a pattern of alleged assault. was this the worst of what you say you experienced from him? >> there had been several instances in the leadup which had been more of a harassment nature. i think in terms of what i have faced from luiz loures, that was the worst, but beyond the sexual assault that i experienced, i've also experienced a moral and professional assault by u.n. aid executive director mr. michele sidibe and as i launched my complaint, humiliation. >> as you know, luiz loures denies all of this and as you also know there was an internal investigation after you filed the complaint. you said you filed the formal
complaint a year and a half after the incident. the report by the internal oversight services says that dr. loures reported behavior in kissing and engaging in physical contact with staff may be viewed as inappropriate, especially given his senior position, however there is insufficient evidence to support ms. brostrom's allegation that she was sexually harassed by dr. loures. and the ios concludes there's no evidence to corroborate ms. brostrom's allegations she was sexual assaulted by dr. loures at the hotel may 8, 2015. what's your response to that? >> well i am devastated and deeply offended that that is the conclusion of a 14 month very protracted and deeply flawed and irregular investigation process. >> why do you say that? tell me about the investigation process et cetera. why was it deeply flawed? >> there was dem monoadministrative evidence in support of my claims.
>> such as? >> such as documentation of retaliation. there was witness testimony, there was a formal complaint which i logged immediately with my own government after i came back from thailand that were just disregarded. i think more material in the raw tribt that was provided, ty we left out of the report. the report w spun in such a way that it freed him, seemingly, from my wrongdoing. there was, for example, as i was just telling you the opportunity to have investigated and inquired about the incident at the meeting where i was seen having a meeting with him, which he denies, by the other deputy executive director. there were bills from the location where the meeting took place, all of which was disregarded. in fact, there was never an investigation that took place and i haven't even touched on
the irregular involvement of u.n. aid's executive director. >> well, you've mentioned him once already and his name is michel sidibe. >> that's correct. >> you say he tried to broker an apology at some point between yourself and loures, that loures would apologize to you. in return for discussion your promotion. sidibe denies that was on the table, no apology but that, yes, you did have a conversation about the situation. what's your position on this? >> that happened during a work mission in sweden and there were witnesses whom i immediately told about what happened. after that he tried to bribe me with a promotion. when that didn't work, he then tried to threaten me by sending me outside of my work location and finally he tried to humiliate me by informing me that luiz loures had been
exonerated. >> what does that mean threaten you by sending you outside of your work location? >> that means he was trying to phase me out of the organizat n organization, moving me out of headquarters to a less desirable duty station with the ultimate aim of trying to oust me. >> what is your recourse now? where do you think you'reaking th? >> well, in terms of the internal u.n. system i have exhausted all mechanisms for recourse which is also part of why i'm here speaking today. i think how the situation has been mishandled, how that happened to my, it mustn't has been to any other women. evy single accusation needs to be fairly, independently and robustly investigated. that hasn't happened to me and so i'm trying to seek my recourse outside of the system. >> you say you don't want what happened to you to happen to anyone else. >> right. >> but cnn has already spoken to a number of people who say that
it did happen to them. the same or similar pattern of aggressive behavior that you're describing. has you known this was -- you said he had a reputation, did you know specifically? >> no. i know the behavior of the u.n. aid deputy executive director had always been an open secret and i don't think there is a single woman staff who hasn't been subjected to a remark or some touching that has been inappropriate. i never thought i'd be sexually assaulted and i blame myself because i think that's where -- i didn't see the danger coming in sharing an elevator with somebody, mistakenly. i believe that the systems in place are inadequate. >> he said that you spoke to him about your sexual preferences.
>> that's incorrect. prior to which he had also alleged that he was my medical doctor and i was his patient so that was just another way in which he was trying to obstruct the zblvgs what has to change? >> i think we need two things. i think we need reform. in terms of exemplarity, we mustn't let the few rotten apples ruin the whole basket. what has been done to me, the sexual assault by luiz loures and the cover up by michel sidibe, it mustn't happen and the secretary general must make an example out of them. beyond that, i think we need reform and the reform is a complete overhaul of the system and ensuring that every single investigation to not run into situations such as this happened with my case, take it from every single accusation must be thoroughly investigated, taken outside and given to an
independent mechanism that can allow for a thorough and fair investigation. >> because the investigation was internal, right? >> absolutely, yes. the system in place today -- and i can say that having lived this nightmare for almost three years now there is an inherent biased conflict of interest where the reputation of the united nations triumphs the experience of the victims and in such aayt favors the perpetrator. >> why do you suppose, if this is all true, they favor that personality over you? >> i think it's about hierarchy and certainly in u.n. aid there is -- it's a system of patronism, there is a system of cronyism. it is the boys club, as it has been described to me and people are afraid of speaking out. in my experience i have colleagues that have been talking to me, friends that have turned their backs on me because
i have been speaking out about what has happened. >> even women? >> even women. and very close zblends how has it affected you emotionally? physically? you're still employed by the u.n. >> i am. >> you're at work? >> i am on sick leave for a year now. i have diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and so in terms of my professional career it has been a sad experience. my dream job turned into a nightmare. i have lost touch with colleagues as i just told you with my -- lost my professional networks. on a my personal level i have -- it's impacted my family life. just a couple of months ago i had -- there was at my daughter's school, she's 10, there was the opportunity to accompany your paren to work. i couldn't go because of the hostile environment and because of become on leave. that was very, very difficult.
>> would you ever go back to your job? >> well, i have asked at four occasions the secretary general guterres to intervene in my case. i'm still hopeful that he will decide to be part of the solution rather than the problem and i think if the rules that already are in place today would just be appropriately implement ed i would love to take back my position because i think it's my calling, you know? the response to hiv, the reproductive health and rights aspects of it, i think this experience has made me stronger, understand the vulnerability of some of the people that we aim to defend. >> so you mentioned the secretary general antonio guterres. you have showed us four e-mails that you sent to him and you have not heard back, apparently.
>> no, i have not. >> the u.n. apparently has made some changes, though, he himself has said the u.n. will not tolerate sexual harassment anywhere, launched a jends egen parity strategy, established a task force of leaders across the u.n. to step up efforts to tackle this kind of harassment, boost support of victims. they're strengthening the protection of whistle-blowers such as yourself and there's a new hotline since february. if that's not enough, it is a step in the right direction? >> sadly, i don't think so. already from the perspective of process, i think these are plans almost pulled together overnight as a response to the media outcry and the backdrop of the me too movement that has touched every single sector. they've been pulled together by the senior leadership. now that's process. in terms of the content, it's a cut-and-paste of documentation and policies already in place.
for example, the hotline during a discussion at u.n. aid, staff revealed they don't trust the anonymity of the hotline and how can such an anonymous hotline work and be used? and finally it's about the implementation once again. if the moral and political will is not there to affect change, no matter how good the plan it will not make a difference for the victim. >> and i do actually need to ask you a question because it goes a little bit to the heart of what loures suggested, that you're now in a personal relationship with the person who was your boss at the time of that assault. he was interviewed in the investigation and loures and the others say this is a conflict of intere interest. do you understand that position? >> no, i don't. our person relationship has evolved as a consequence of what happened to me and the support
he offered me throughout this process. i think it's a curveball to draw attention to the absolute wrong things. i think we're all entitled to a private life and i believe it's another opportunity to obstruct due process and draw attention away from what matters, which is his assault on me and the coverup by mr. michel sidibe. >> martina brostrom, thank you so much for coming in. >> thank you so much for inviting me. >> we offered luiz loures an on camera interview. he declined but in a statement said "i deny the allegations, i cooperated fully with the independent investigation and provided proof of my innocence. the claims against me were unsubstantiated." he also denied allegations made by a second woman who spoke to cnn, malia harper. a spokes manhattan for u.n. aid denied that sid by offered
brostrom a promotion. he added that sidibe recused himself from the investigation. and he said while the inquiry followed due process, u.n. aid has a zero tolerance policy and brostrom is welcome to appeal the decision. finally, a spokes manhattan for the u.n. secretary general told us that antonio guterres spoke with the u.n. aid's chief and asked him to "lead by example." the u.n., as we said, is implementing new ways for victims to report harassment and the spokesman said guterres has made it his personal commitment to eliminate it. and now to a surprising corner that's championing women's fundamental right to feel safe -- men. specifically david schwimmer, the actor who along with the cast of "friends" defined the turn of the millennium for hundreds of millions of viewers all around the world. that sitcom shot him to superstardom. now a career renaissance has taken a turn few might have
expected. he's made a series of short films that highlight the insidious nature of everyday sexism and harassment. here's a clip of the one called "the boss." >> it's a big responsibility. >> it's huge. >> and the salary. >> oh, my goodness, yes. i was literally about to move in with my parents and right before -- yeah, so that saved me. >> i really believe in you, you know? >> thank you, it's nice to hear that -- from someone. >> these are cool. did you -- >> the sleazy boss is not quite the ross that we knew and loved from "friends" and now the real david schwimmer is getting behind the new campaign "ask more of him" along with anti-sexism educator dr. jackson katz who has long called for men to use their power and their privilege to encourage other men to get with the picture.
and they join me from new york. gentlemen, welcome to the program. >> thank you so much. >> how did you feel about taking that leap from a character who is known and loved around the world to doing this in this cause and making yourself one of the least attractive types that we can imagine toy? >> ll part of the appeal of the idea of acting in one of the six films was exactly that. i knew that the character i'm most known for is actually quite trustworthy so i thought that i could leverage that in a way that would benefit the power of the films and what we're trying to articulate. >> so this happened, david, preharvey weinstein. you made these films a long time, many months before the weinstein floodgates were open. how? why did you do it then? >> well, i've always been an advocate for women's rights and
also the rights of victims of -- child victims and adult victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse around having grown up with many, many stories of my mother enduring countless sexual harassment as a young attorney in california and then my sister when she joined the work force and so many women in my life whether they're girlfriends or colleagues, i thought, well, this was always something that i felt needed to be addressed? >> and jackson katz. you have been doing this, so to speak, for a long time as well and you have a really interesting point of view. it's almost like turning syntax on its head in order to identify the issue. for instance, you have said in regards to domestic violence and
rape, "we talk about how many women were reapeed last year, nw how many men rapeed women". >> right, my work has been to try to reframe the issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment and domestic violence and related matters not as women's issues that some good men help out with but as men's issues and part of that is the reframe of the language so using passive voice and talking about how many women were assaulted, even the term "violence against women" there's no men in the term. it's a passive phrase and if we want to energize men and get men involved and we want to hol m accountable at all levels of power -- socially, culturally, politically, economically -- for addressing the issues of gender equality, we have to be direct and accountable in our use of language and active voice is a big part of that. >> we've heard a lot of complaints from men who say it's a one size fits all. that if you're targeted as having said something offensive it's the same as if you leapt on somebody and forced yourself on
somebody. do you feel there is that problem, david? >> i think that that is a problem in the current climate, that there's very -- look, we're not very good at nuance and context and complexity. in the current culture, everyone is shouting and very few people are listening but there has to be degrees of wrongdoing so without excusing anyone, there's a great difference between the harvey weinsteins of the world and, say the al frankens. there's a huge difference just as you would not sentence someone for a crime of stealing a bicycle, you would not gave that same person the same sentence as a murderer or a serial rapist. there has to be room for complexity and context and a varying range of inappropriate and illegal behavior. >> jackson, the films do show
this sort of nefarious insidious everyday sexism. what do you think, what have you heard from the men who've listened to your speeches, who are watching these films who u're trying to reach? do you feel there will be some kind of tipping point of men coming together to address this? >> clearly women in a multicultural multiracial and global sense are the driving agents of the social transformations happening but i think there's a lot of men ready to join them. i think men are trying to figure out what to do and say. of course some men respond defensively initially. i understand that as an educator. a lot of men comes into rooms where there's a sexual harassment training or gender violence prevention training with their arms folded, they think they'll get bashed or criticized. but engaging education on these matters is die lod s is is dial. people discuss and talk and throw around ideas. it's not sitting in a room listening to a power point
presentation but don't do this, don't do that. young men have a direct self-interest in men who care about men and boys as well as women and girls have a direct self-interest in changing the social norms that equate manhood with dominance, power, control, and all these other unpleasant characteristics. >> david schwimmer, jackso katz, thank you so much for joining me tonight. >> thanks for having us. >> thank you so much christiane. tonight our whole program was focused on women's flight regarding sexual harassment and actions men are taking to support them which brings me to this weekend when my new series on love, intimacy and consent around the world continues. this time i travel to beirut to explore the influence that lebanon's recent wars and religious cross currents have on relationships there. zima is a writer and artist who hosts a monthly story telling night that's lgbt friendly. even in relatively liberal
beirut, homosexuality is still criminalized just like around the rest of the arab world. >> be i came back to lebanon, one of my friend's frs said so you're going back to beirut? i said yes i am. she said you're not scared? i said yes i am. she said, but it's okay because then you get to fight the beast from within. >> there are so many surprises as sex and love around the world continue this is saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern on cnn. that's it for our program tonight. thank you for watching amanpour on pbs. join us again next time.
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