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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to “Amanpour and Company.” Here’s what’s coming up.
It’s International Women’s Day and these are our guests, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell tell me why the time is now for
universal health care in America.
Game of Thrones actress, Lena Headey, takes on a new challenge, the fragile mental health of refugees.
And Harvard’s first female president, Drew Faust, files tells our Walter Isaacson how she overcame this warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW FAUST: And my mother said to me, “It’s a man’s world, sweetie, and the sooner you learn that the better off you’ll be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Plus, the bookstore appending the idea that female authors should be left on the second shelf.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I’m Christiane Amanpour in London.
How should America care for its sick? The question has plagued the nation nearly since its inception. President John Adams was the first to sign a
public health law in 1798 during a yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to include national health insurance in
his Social Security bill but it never saw the light of day, President Johnson got Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor, Presidents
Carter and Clinton both tried to get universal health care and failed. President Obama did make massive strides with reforms to preexisting
conditions and putting kids on their parents’ insurance but universal affordable care has remained elusive.
Left and right agree that the system is broken. Americans pay more for worse outcomes than anywhere in the Western world. So, now is the time for
boldness say Democrats. Medicare-for-all of has become the rallying cry of legislators and almost all Democratic presidential candidates. Not so fast
say small government Republicans.
For answers, we turn to Pramila Jayapal, lead sponsor of a new Medicare- for-all Bill and Debbie Dingell. Dingell has made universal care her life’s work, something she shared with her recently deceased husband, John,
who is the longest serving congressman in American history. They join me from Capitol Hill Statuary Hall.
Congresswomen, welcome to the program.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D), WASHINGTON: Thanks so much.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL, (D), MICHIGAN: Glad to be here.
AMANPOUR: Well, this is such an important issue and on the theme that we’re busy exploring of big, big topics and big reforms, you’re Medicare-
for-all pretty much ticks that box. Just explain to us, both of you, what exactly are you proposing. I mean, Medicare already exists and Obamacare
JAYAPAL: Yes. So, what we are proposing, and I’m just so thrilled to have such a long-term champion co-leading this effort with me and 105 of our
colleagues in the House that are original co-sponsors, we propose that health care should be available for everybody, no co-pays, no deductibles,
no premiums, you can go see the doctor or the hospital of your choice, in fact, more choice than is available now.
And the only thing that really change is we pay for it through a government insurance program. And we cut out the waste and we contain the costs. So,
for the first time, you’ll be able to get vision, dental, mental health, substance abuse and long-term supports and services.
AMANPOUR: You make it sound very attractive and very doable and you talk about 105, you know, supporters and co-sponsors, I wonder whether any of
those are Republicans. But what happens when they start saying, “Well, hang on, that’s all well and good, but this is going to cost the nation an
arm and a leg, so to speak. It’s just going to be too expensive.”
DINGELL: So, let’s start with the fact. I believe that every person has got a right to quality affordable health care. And right now, we’ve got a
very broken fragmented system that doesn’t work. And the bulk of the — we’re the most expensive of any country in the world, we are the most
expensive country in terms of delivering health care to Americans.
And so, what we do is we save money as — we’re also the only industrialized nation in the world. This is an economic issue as well is
an issue that nobody should have to worry about whether they can afford to go to a doctor because we’re competing in a global marketplace. Yet, every
other industrialized nation that we’re competing with — my background was auto industry at one point, is competing against countries where the cost
of health care isn’t passed on to the private employer.
So — but by going to a single payer system, we’re going to eliminate a lot of waste and we’re going to let doctors — we’re going to get rid of
bureaucracy, we’re going to get rid of paper, we’re going to let doctors and nurses go back to taking care of the patients and we will save a
significant amount of money just in streamlining and making the process more efficient.
AMANPOUR: So, I mean, I’m speaking to you from London and here we have a National Health Service, which speaks for itself. It’s about what you
would basically suggesting and it’s incomprehensible for many in the rest of the democratic world and the — you know, basically the developed world
that the United States doesn’t have a universal health care system such as the one you’re describing.
And it is just to remind — you know, said the U.S. spends about twice what other high income nations do on health care but it has the lowest life
expectancy, the highest infant mortality rate, you know, this life expectancy directly tied to the high level of people without health
So, these figures are, in fact, staggering. But for some reason, your nation has grappled with this from the beginning of time, from the
beginning of the new deal that just doesn’t seem the political will to push this ball over the line.
JAYAPAL: Well, I think that’s true but I think that things have really changed and we are deeply committed to having a conversation across this
country about the costs of health care today. As you said, you know, the estimates are — will be at 50 trillion in 10 years for the existing
So, our plan would make this cheaper for everybody. It would save money for the economy, it would save money for American families. But most of
all, we would cut out the waste in a system that frankly has been geared around profits instead of patient care. We have got to contain those costs
and we’ve got to take on the industries that perhaps don’t want us to change because it’s doing pretty well for them.
In the end, our responsibility is to the American people and I think this is true in red districts and blue districts, in independent districts that
people are ready for Congress to take this on. I have people who are Republicans, small business owners in my district and they come up to me
and say, you know, “I might disagree with you on a whole bunch of other issues, but get this done. We can’t afford to pay for health care for our
employees anymore. We would be happy to pay into a government insurance program if we could contain the cost and if we could ensure that health
care was taken care of so that we really could do the work that we’re supposed to do as small businesses,” and as Debbie said, retain our
Political will has changed and I think our work is to continue to organize around the country and make sure that people are speaking up about the real
things they are facing at the kitchen table every day.
AMANPOUR: So, again, you know, we remember when Hillary Clinton tried to take this on and President Obama, and it was really hard to get it across.
And then we’ve had 10 years of the Republicans trying to kill “Obamacare.” We see how popular it has been, certainly in the midterm elections, to keep
that hard-won health care.
So, I am interested to know, Congresswoman Dingell, because your late husband, really, this was his life’s work as well, to create Medicare,
Medicaid, to be there at the origin and to keep protecting it as well. Do you think the politics as Representative Jayapal said, have actually
changed on this?
DINGELL: So, you know, here’s the reality. The reality is it’s actually my father-in-law that introduced the first national health care insurance
bill in this country in the early 40s. If you want to bring about real change, we’d like to see it quickly, I’d like to see it today but you have
to work together and build that coalition and get people to understand.
People in this country fought Social Security and Medicare are now trying to take it away and they’re going to scream. Medicare was the first bill
that passed as a result of that initial bill, it took 20 years. And then we got to children’s insurance program.
I think you saw in the last two years, people — when the affordable care bill passed, there were many things that people were concerned about,
people with preexisting conditions couldn’t get access to health care. Now, when Republicans are trying to take that away from people, people are
screaming. And I mean, the stories, when you got — you here the mother of a diabetic child worried that her child will grow into adulthood, the woman
the tender stroke in her 50s, I think when you’re out there, people are understanding more, they’re not letting the horror stories or the fear
mongers and I think the times have changed.
So, we’ve got to go across the country, we’ve got to build the coalition. We can’t let other people define what this is. We have to talk about how
it is working in England, in Germany, France, Canada, China, Japan and tell people, “You don’t have to worry. If you find a lump, you can afford the
mammogram. And if it is something, you can get treated.”
AMANPOUR: I wonder whether both of you will also be telling the story as you cross the country on this, how it’s not just working in those other
countries you talk about but in all the states in the United States. I mean, states, you know, like Hawaii, Minnesota, Connecticut, you know, they
have results like high income countries whereas, you know, life expectancy in places like Mississippi is much, much worse than other parts of the
United States. I wonder if people get that.
JAYAPAL: I mean, I think we’ll be able to illuminate that, you know, our bill also includes a really important cost containment measure around
global budgets for hospitals, that is something that obviously most developed countries already have in their system. But here in Maryland,
there are some really fantastic results that are coming out of a smaller segment of hospitals that are trying that.
So, I think the important thing for people to understand is that while this might be called radical as it was when Mr. Dingell introduced the first
bill, as it was when Teddy Roosevelt talked about this or Harry Truman talked about this, the reality is, it’s not a radical idea to ensure that
health care is a right and not a privilege and certainly not for the richest country in the world. And it’s not a new idea and that we do have
these other countries, other states.
I mean, states aren’t providing universal health care in the way we’re talking about, but some states are more generous. My state of Washington
has a very generous program but it is subsidizing the costs still of a very expensive system. And so, it is universal coverage, it’s also cost
containment and it’s making sure that at the end of the day, nobody is choosing between their insulin treatments and their mortgage, nobody is
having to foreclose on their home because they can’t afford their cancer treatments, people aren’t having to go to GoFundMe as an insurance program.
That mindset is very different today than it was even with the Affordable Care Act. And I think the Affordable Care Act and Democrats are united
around needing to shore up the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act was also very important in helping to transition Americans to believe
that health care is a right and not a privilege.
AMANPOUR: We keep hearing that, you know, it’s just going to be too expensive, too expensive, and you have conspicuously not attached a cost to
your bill. We don’t know how much you estimate this is going to cost. We do know that public opinion is shifting towards single payer but not
towards paying higher taxes to finance it. So, how do you square that?
DINGELL: Well, I think first of all, we have to figure out what the real cost is going to be and what we’re going to save in terms of going to a
single payer system. But another point that I wanted to me is that we’ve got 10,000 people turning 65 every day in this country. Long-term care is
the theory broken system, it’s fragmented.
If you’re in it, you better only be six for 90 days. And I don’t think — I think as more and more people are having to access the health care
system, they realize how broken it is.
I’m — now, that I’m luckier than 99 and nine-tenths of the people in this country. And yet, I had no idea until the last couple of years as a spouse
how broken the system is. And I think more and more Americans are understanding as they start to have more health care issues, we have a very
broken system and it needs to be fixed. So, we have to be very blunt.
JAYAPAL: Yes. No, I was just going to respond. And I totally agree with everything that Debbie said and I wanted to respond to the cost issue. Our
system today is going to cost us in 10 year — over 10 years, $50 trillion. This is unsustainable. That is 18 percent of US GDP right now, double the
cost of what most industrialized countries in the world pay. And recognize that two-thirds of those costs are already borne by the federal government.
So, when people say this is going to cost a certain amount of money because there are other plans like Senator Sanders plan which is different from
ours and in a couple of critical ways, but some of the cost estimates, even from conservative think tanks, say that we will save $2 trillion over the
next 10 years by going to our plan and some estimates have that American families, the average working family across America, will save 14 percent.
Because remember that somebody is bearing those costs, that are 50 trillion over — you know, in the next 10 years. That cost is now increasingly
being borne by families who pay co-pays, premiums, deductibles, out of pocket costs for their care.
So, just the other day, Debbie and I get these stories all the time from our constituents. I have a constituent who is covered by health insurance
employer health care and is — has a disability and is paying $35,000 out of pocket costs.
So, in the end, the American family, if you count up everything that they’re paying for health care out of pocket, they are already paying for
this and they are not getting the care they need, and some of them are dying because they can’t get insulin. So, the cost issue is far out blown
because nobody ever says when they say what the cost of health care of our plan would be, even a conservative estimate, they don’t talk about the fact
that it saves the overall economy money and they don’t talk about the fact that those costs are being borne and already by American families.
And what is it going to? It’s going to astronomical pharmaceutical drug pricing profits and insurance companies that have a lot of administration
that can be taken out if we go to a single payer government insurance system, recognizing that the private system of delivery is still the same,
we’re not changing anything around that. So, it’s really just about who ends up paying and cutting out the waste.
AMANPOUR: You know, you’re no doubt going to face a lot of opposition and pushback from pharmaceutical companies, from insurance companies. You’ve
said that perhaps small businesses and medium sized businesses could be your allies here.
I do want to just pick up on what you said, Congressman Dingell. You lost your husband and we offer our condolences. He was the longest serving
member of Congress, he was on the committee that oversaw the chairman, who oversaw Medicaid and Medicare. And he said, you know, amongst his last
words, he wrote a letter to America and he basically said, “Opponents of the Medicare program that saved the elderly from impoverishment called it
socialized medicine. Remember that slander if there’s a sustained revival of silly red baiting today.”
You know, fighting words. Was he on board with your Medicare-for-all? Would he have approved and fought for that?
DINGELL: He would have approved of anything these two women put together. But, you know, I want to say something. I don’t — we want a seat at the
table for everybody. We’re not trying to — we got to do something for the people that we represent, we’ve got to do something for the working men and
women of this country so that they’ve got access to health care.
I don’t want to demonize anybody. I want to work with the pharmaceutical companies and say, “Why is insulin gone up from $39 to –” I mean, it
depends which prescription it is. But for some people $300, $400, $500 a month. We need to work with the hospitals, we need to — this is — how do
you build the coalition that says, you know, they’re not in your country, they’re not enemies. I mean, people get mad at them. We want to bring
everybody together because the time is now, people need to have access to health care, they need to be able to afford their medicine.
And I think the will of the people this year, we’re not going to let people try to define this is something that it’s not. We are going to make sure
that if you’re sick you can go to the doctor and you can afford what you need to have.
AMANPOUR: So, let’s just ask you what you would tell your constituents and people in response to what Seema Verma has said. She oversees Medicare for
the Trump administration and she’s called, you know, Medicare-for-all the greatest threat to the American health care system. She says, “Expanding
Medicare will ruin the program for the seniors it was created to serve and it would decrease the quality of care that we as Americans have come to
expect. Medical — Medicare-for-all is in reality Medicare for non.”
JAYAPAL: I just — I mean, we fundamentally disagree with that. You know, the Medicare program, as Debbie said, is adding people every single year.
And actually, Medicare when it was instituted, the entire change took place in one year without any computers or anything like that. So, we have the
You know, we are a country that ended slavery, we are country that got women the right to vote, we are a country that sent a man to the moon, we
certainly can provide health care for everyone. There will be scare stories out there and that’s unfortunate.
We want as many people at the table ready to work towards that vision, that universal goal of helping America to not only be more competitive in the
global economy, to not only make sure that we are addressing the health care needs of everyone but to really uphold that fundamental human right,
which is that people shouldn’t go to bed worrying about how they’re going to pay for their health care costs or skip their prescription drugs or cut
their pills in half in order to make them last longer or drive to Canada, that’s the vision that we have.
And we actually think that America is with us. It’s — it — I even have – – you know, people say the hospitals are against us, I don’t think that’s true. We’re having meetings with our hospitals, with folks in the district
and people are saying to me, “Look, I actually think this is a really good idea. We want you to do this.”
DINGELL: Hospitals, really?
JAYAPAL: The hospital, yes. Because they know — look, and they want their doctors to be able to do what they were trained to do in medical
school, which is to provide patient care, not to deal with five insurance plans, trying to figure out who’s in a network, who’s out of a network,
doing all the administration, the paperwork, they just want to provide care.
And so, we’ve got physicians, we’ve got nurses, we’ve got labor unions, the biggest coalition yet for this plan. And we believe that in the end, it’s
the stories of the American people and the voices that are really going to —
AMANPOUR: And you have millennials who are becoming the biggest voting bloc and who care very, very much about this issue.
DINGELL: They do care deeply. But I want to just talk about the author of that quote that you just read. This is a person that doesn’t want to
defend — ensuring that some of the preexisting conditions will have access to insurance.
So, something with high blood pressure, something with diabetes, for the administration that she works for doesn’t even think preexisting conditions
is important. That was one of the most important things that we did in the Affordable Care Act. That people who had those, had, you know, a variety
of preexisting conditions weren’t guaranteed access to health care insurance. And if they did have it, it was sky high and not affordable.
So, if somebody like that who’s not going to defend preexisting conditions, isn’t going to have credibility for me to talk about what we’re trying to
AMANPOUR: And just because this is airing on International Women’s Day, how will you bill affect women, many of whom are often the ones left
carrying, you know, the biggest burden and the least financially equipped to take care of their health or their family’s health?
JAYAPAL: Well, health care, overall, I think is a women’s issue, it is, of course, everybody’s issue. But women do end up being in this position
where they have to make these really tough choices, take care of families more often than not.
But in addition, we allow in this bill the ability for every woman to control her own reproductive choices and to get the reproductive care that
she needs. So, we essentially repeal the Hyde Amendment, also the long- term supports and services. I think that this is a women’s issue because the majority of that unpaid care that currently fuels the long-term
supports industry is by women who have to leave their jobs or make choices to take care of a family member and often women of color, in particular,
who have to make all of these decisions to take care of their family first, which they are always going to do.
And so, this is a real issue for women in multiple ways and it’s just meaningful to me that I’m doing this with Debbie and that we have so many
strong women’s groups that are with us on this, groups that really believe that health care is a human right for everybody and that the
disproportionate effect of our broken health care system often gets borne by women.
AMANPOUR: Really interesting. Thank you so much for laying it all out. Congresswomen Primila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell, thank you so much for
JAYAPAL: Thank you.
DINGELL: Thank you. Thanks for caring about it for us.
AMANPOUR: Of course, with the Republican controlled Senate, the bill’s prospects (INAUDIBLE) but the debate is changing and it’s moving.
We turn now to a phenomenon of a different kind, one that has swept the airwaves, the computer screens and the smartphones. I’m talking of course
about “Game of Thrones.” HBO has just teased the show’s eighth and final season and it brings to our shores the actress Lena Headey who plays the
villainous queen, Cersei.
In real life she’s much more altruistic, visiting refugees in camps on the Greek Island of Lesbos and calling on European leaders to step up their
efforts to help them particularly when it comes to mental health and security. And I’ve been speaking to about her humanitarian and her film
Lena Headey, welcome to the program.
LENA HEADEY, ACTRESS,” GAME OF THRONES: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, I understand you’ve just come back from Lesbos. What did you find there? First of all, why are you even going there?
HEADEY: I went to Lesbos three years ago with the IRC, which I am a voice for.
AMANPOUR: International Rescue Committee.
HEADEY: Committee, yes.
HEADEY: And we went back to look at their mental health program that they’re running. And also, to go inside the reception center, Moorea,
which is a government run place —
AMANPOUR: Run by the Greek government?
HEADEY: Yes. And no one’s really been in there before.
AMANPOUR: What did you find?
HEADEY: It’s appalling. It may — it was unforgivable. I spoke to a lot of people who were in there, who are stuck there. It’s unthinkable. I
mean, it’s horribly unsafe for women and children. The women don’t use the toilets at night, there’s no lighting after dark.
AMANPOUR: Because they’re afraid of getting attacked just —
HEADEY: I mean, rape is an everyday occurrence and —
AMANPOUR: Are you serious?
AMANPOUR: Rape is an everyday occurrence?
AMANPOUR: That is shocking.
AMANPOUR: Why do we not know?
HEADEY: I don’t know why we don’t know this. It was horrendous to listen to stories.
AMANPOUR: Did they give you any assurance that they were going to help people in this regard, that — I mean, is there any security that they can
put there to make sure the women are safer?
HEADEY: I mean, the camp is manned by police and military. They also have six psychologists on the site. I don’t know how often that is. You hear
very different tales from the officials, tales from the people that are in there. The medical team come and go. I think they find it overwhelming,
they don’t have a place to work from.
There’s a lot of illness in the camp. And people are just told, “Well, just go to the chemists.” So, nothing is diagnosed. So, people get ill
and that spreads, it’s deeply unsanitary.
AMANPOUR: And it’s been going on for years now.
HEADEY: For — yes.
HEADEY: The last kind of six years.
HEADEY: And at Christmas, it was full of 9,000 people. Now, it’s at 5,000. The past year is 3,000. So, I dread to think —
AMANPOUR: What’s going to have next. Look, I mean, it must be really different and very strange for you to come from, I mean, a fairly
privileged environment —
AMANPOUR: — where you’re a Hollywood movie star, where you’re on “Game of Thrones,” where the whole world knows you, you have, you know, money and
fame and all this, to go there and see that. I mean, how much of a total culture shock was it for you?
HEADEY: I mean, before I got famous, because I’m sort of a Yorkshire lass, you know and I never expected this happens to me. I’ve always had an
interest in humanitarian work. I travel to India as a backpacker for six years, running. So, I was obsessed with it. But I’d never seen anything
like the refugee crisis, I’ve never seen such a lack of humanity and sort of carelessness where people are concerned that need it most.
AMANPOUR: One of the things when I was reading about you that I found really, really interesting is that two years or a year ago you went with
your costar from “Game of Thrones.”
HEADEY: Yes. With Maisie.
AMANPOUR: Maisie Williams, right?
HEADEY: Yes, yes.
AMANPOUR: And one of the questions she asked you really sort of struck me, she basically was saying to you, “We experience what we saw from two
different points as a teenage and as a mother. It’s only when you’re face to face with someone who’s just like you, who deserves the same
opportunities as you and is just as bright as you, yet they’re forced to live in a tent with people they don’t know that you realize how horrendous
the situation is.” And she asked you what affected you most. But that juxtaposition she really sorts of articulates well.
HEADEY: Yes. Well, that was the thing. The takeaway — the first takeaway from the visit, our original visit, was that there’s no
difference, you know, it’s geography and circumstance. And this time, I saw so many despondent mothers and so many kids desperate for present
affection. And that — as a mom with great privilege, that just was the worst thing I think I saw.
AMANPOUR: What made you want to join IRC?
HEADEY: We were — I think we’re in the 3rd season of “Game of Thrones” and I kept saying, “We need to do something, have a great platform. We
have a lot of eyes on us and we should do something to bring some attention to this.” And our wonderful PR kind of — = (INAUDIBLE) said, “Funny
enough, we’re talking to the IRC about doing a fundraiser.”
And so, I met a wonderful Sandy and I said, “Can I come on a trip with you guys?” And just — you know, the only way to kind of grasp it is to
firsthand experience it, I know that. So, they took me (INAUDIBLE). And I think you — once you’ve been there, it doesn’t leave you.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you’ve spoken — you know, you’ve spoken quite articulately and with feeling about what happens to the women there. I
just want to — I mean, here you are, a young woman, you have achieved fame with this unbelievable who knew that it would be so successful, “Game of
HEADEY: Yes. Who knew.
AMANPOUR: And it’s just the talking point all over the world, everybody’s talking about this, water cooler conversation is what happens in “Game of
Thrones.” It’s ending. How does that feel to you?
HEADEY: I’m OK. I mean, it’s been eight years. You know, I like new things. So —
AMANPOUR: And how did the cast all feel about having to disperse? I mean, it’s been shot but it’s not out yet.
HEADEY: It’s not out yet. We’re all going to New York at the end of the month. So, we’ll all see each other. And then I think it will feel real.
But, you know, this thing is happening already, really exciting projects and it allows you, you know, a bit of freedom now.
AMANPOUR: It’s very — it’s really interesting because there’s a lot of very strong women in “Game of Thrones.”
AMANPOUR: And there is a little bit of — you know, I mean, there’s very strong women but there’s also portrayal of women in ways that some women
might not like. I mean, it’s caused some controversy, rapes and, you know, violence and you’re a pretty villainous queen.
HEADEY: No. Well, she is.
AMANPOUR: I mean, she is, right?
HEADEY: She is.
AMANPOUR: But is it an empowering role?
HEADEY: Yes, it’s fantastic. You know, David and Dan, our writers, who are wonderful men from the get-go took these women who were struggling and
they knew they were going to raise them to these positions of power.
And within that, all kind of violent muddy waters, as we know the world, shows us every day.
So to be part of the group of survivors which are mainly women, it’s a great thing.
AMANPOUR: And it is quite a parable also. Let us just play a small clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CERSEI LANNISTER: Your daughter will die here in this cell, and you will be here watching when she does. You’ll be here the rest of your days. If
you refuse to eat, we’ll force food down your throat. You will live to watch your daughter rot, to watch that beautiful face collapse to bone and
All the while contemplating the choices you’ve made. Make sure the guards change the torches every few hours. I don’t want her to miss a thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Don’t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So Lena Headey, that’s you playing Queen Cersei.
AMANPOUR: Very villainous but come sort of from a place of personal pain.
AMANPOUR: Describe your character.
HEADEY: Cersei is a product of a deeply anti-female society. Her father – – she’s — the only thing she settled for is love from her father and recognition from her father. Even though he hates one of his sons, he
still respects him.
She loses her mother when she’s younger so all she has is this father figure. And she’s also in love with her twin brother. One of her children
is from him. She hates her younger brother because he killed her mother during childbirth.
And her father just won’t even give her the eye contact that she’s so desperate — she wants to be recognized as the ferocious intelligent woman
she is and she outlives her father so.
AMANPOUR: What about your own children? I mean who do they tweak that their mom plays this really massive larger than life roles in this regard?
HEADEY: I don’t want — well, Ted who’s my youngest, she doesn’t have a clue. And Wiley knows because he’s at school and people talk and he comes
home and says, “Is that you?” Yes.
AMANPOUR: So he’s proud?
HEADEY: I think he’s secretly proud. You know he’s nine so he’s a little too cool for school.
AMANPOUR: A little bit too cool, yes.
AMANPOUR: He doesn’t want you to walk in right to the school gates?
HEADEY: He does.
AMANPOUR: Or he still–
HEADEY: He kind of let go of my hand now.
AMANPOUR: It started. Equally serious but in a different way. Look, you have not been immune to the pressures that women, many women, have had to
face trying to climb any ladder. whether it’s in Hollywood or wherever it might be.
And you have recounted a pretty scary incident with Harvey Weinstein. It happened several years ago and you went public about it.
AMANPOUR: Tell me again what happened.
HEADEY: He — when I first met Harvey, I did a film for him, for Miramax, when I was younger and had an experience with him at a film festival. But
I just sort of — I think I said to him, you look like my granddad.
And then later on, like five years later, I’ve done another film and I met him. And I naively thought something I do with you, that that’s a very
AMANPOUR: And you’ve already told him —
HEADEY: And I told him that I’m not here for that. So we were in the lift to go up to his room to get a script and that sounds incredibly naive. And
I think because I knew my position, I just didn’t believe it would happen. And I said in the lift — I got this feeling and I said I want you know I’m
not here for anything else other than friendship and a job possibly.
And he just — the feeling in the lift just was very frightening and the doors open, he just puts his hand on my back and marched me to his room.
And nobody said anything and he kept —
AMANPOUR: There were people?
HEADEY: No, it was just me and him and silence. And I thought I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this. And he put the key on the door, it
didn’t work. But it was my lucky day I guess. And then he took me downstairs and said, “Never, ever speak of this ever again.”
AMANPOUR: It’s really scary. I mean obviously, we have to say that he would deny all of this.
HEADEY: He would deny all of this, yes.
AMANPOUR: He is facing court for a lot of this. Do you think things have changed for women, for girls, at least in your industry since all of this
HEADEY: The majority, yes. I think there’s always going to be chances. But hopefully, we now have a voice and it’s collective. And
should anything happen, people have a space to speak and it won’t be ignored or shut down.
AMANPOUR: And younger costars, I mean young girls coming up, they’re also getting the message, the older people or the more veterans there?
AMANPOUR: They’re helping them and warning them?
HEADEY: Young girls are coming up and they’re like, you know, I’m going to have the job, nothing to do with whether — it’s already out. Their
dialogue is open and it’s out there which is brilliant.
AMANPOUR: Will you go back into the field for the IRC, the International Rescue Committee?
HEADEY: Yes, absolutely.
AMANPOUR: Where —
HEADEY: It’s so hard to convey this to people that don’t believe and even to people that believe and have a passion for it. So we’re planning a
documentary going back to Moria and doing some really exciting things that will make people listen.
AMANPOUR: Well, we’ll look forward to that.
AMANPOUR: Lena Headey, thank you very much for being with us.
HEADEY: Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure.
AMANPOUR: And we’ve reached out to the Greek government to tell us what it’s doing about the appalling conditions in those state-run refugee camps.
Now, in a moment, we take a look at a unique London bookshop that’s dedicated to female authors. But first, to a woman breaking the glass
ceiling at one of America’s most valued and exclusive institutions. Harvard University has long been a bastion for the elite for its first 250
years, that meant only men.
Harvard opened what would become Radcliffe, a separate college for women in the late 1800. But it wasn’t until 1963 that a woman got a full Harvard
The historian Drew Faust made history of her own when in 2007, she became the university’s first female president. She steered the institution
through choppy financial waters and she was at the helm when students who allege the admissions office discriminates against Asian-Americans sued the
university. That landmark case is still ongoing.
Faust though has stepped down last year and she’s just been granted Harvard’s highest position, University Professor. She sat down with our
Walter Isaacson to talk about her life and amazing career.
WALTER ISAACSON, CONTRIBUTOR: Welcome to the show. Thank you.
DREW FAUST, FORMER PRESIDENT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Thank you, Walter.
ISAACSON: You know this day and age of Trump, we talk about Make America Great Again. That’s a great slogan and that harkens back to the wonderful
1950s. You’re immersing yourself in the history of the 1950s and your personal history there. What are you learning about that time when America
was great and you were a member of the 4H Club?
FAUST: Well, for me, the ’50s weren’t such a great time. I grew up in rural Virginia as a little white girl at a time when being a girl had very
constraining attributes and in a society that was puzzling to a young child who’d been told about the American dream and yet was confronted by division
and exclusion of segregation every day.
I remember chafing at some of the rules that applied to me and my family but did not apply to my three brothers. And I was in constant rebellion
against that. My mother said to me, it’s a man’s world sweetie and the sooner you learn that, the better off you’ll be. So I don’t think that was
such a great time.
ISAACSON: What helped you unlearn that?
FAUST: Well, I was — I feel that I was very lucky because as I grew older, worlds began to open before me and things began to change. And I
got to be the beneficiary of many of those opening doors.
So the change in attitudes that came from the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, the varieties of upheavals in American society in the
’50s and ’60s that are often looked at very critically now. I think we need to understand what they made possible and the lives they made
different and the improvements in the human condition and human opportunity to come out of that period.
ISAACSON: So you’re writing then what will be both a memoir and sort of a social history of the 1950s. Tell me about that.
FAUST: Well, I’m just in kind of early exploratory stages. And so I don’t know quite how it’s going to turn out or how it will be shaped. But my
sense of it is that it won’t be a traditional autobiography in which I say and then the next day I did this and the next day I did this.
Rather I’m imagining doing it as a kind of set of episodes or vignettes united together by some overarching themes. I thought maybe I would tie
each of these episodes or vignettes to an object or a photograph or something that would be a jumping off point for the consideration of
whatever that particular object or photograph might suggest.
ISAACSON: Let me pick one I know about.
ISAACSON: A letter you wrote to the president of the United States when you were nine.
FAUST: I was nine. And this reflected what I had been talking about with you a second ago which is the sense of unfairness. I felt that being a
girl in a family where there were three brothers who were given privileges that I was told I couldn’t have because I was a girl.
And I think that created to me this kind of sense of resistance to things that were unfair. And when I began to hear news about — I’m trying to pin
down exactly what it was. Was it Brown v Board? Was it when we came to Little Rock? What exactly was I hearing on the news?
But suddenly my eyes opened to the fact that the separations in my society were not random. Black people were not separated by their choice. This
was a whole system of superiority and inferiority that was being enforced by white power.
And I was horrified. And so I wrote a letter to President Eisenhower and I got a letter back from someone on his staff saying thank you for expressing
your views. So I always had in my head that I had written this letter.
And in the early 2000s, I was asked to write a little reminiscence about growing up in the south and becoming a historian of the south. And I
thought to myself, did I make that up? Was this like everybody in France fought the resistance and, of course, I opposed segregation when I was a
And so I went to search for the letter, I am a historian after all. And I went to the National Archives then realized not having worked on 20th
Century history before this would be if it had existed in the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
And lo and behold a librarian there found it and sent me an e-mail and said, “I will send you your letter.” I then was panicked and I thought
what might I have said in this letter. So several days went by and then I received a letter and indeed, I’d written it.
It was more religious than I had remembered. I sort of thought that the American Dream was going to be the basis of my argument. It was more God
says we must be fair to black people, yellow people, white people, all are his children. That was the kind of tenor of the letter.
ISAACSON: And so you end up becoming very involved in race and even to go off to March in Selma, Alabama I think when you’re in boarding school,
FAUST: I was a freshman in college. I was 17. I had spent the preceding summer with a Quaker group in the South. And I had been in Birmingham and
Orangeburg and various places where I’ve seen with my own eyes the kind of idealism and commitment that African-Americans and their allies were making
to change society.
And when I arrived at college that fall, I was not a happy freshman in college. I thought I want to be doing something more relevant. The Civil
Rights Revolution’s going on in the south, what am I doing in college? And what am I going to do with my life and how can I continue this sense of
idealism that had been so enhanced by my summers experience?
And so when in March of my freshman year, those extraordinary T.V. shots came available to the American public of John Lewis having his head bashed
in on that first March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I, like many other Americans, said I just have to go to Selma.
ISAACSON: Let me ask you now how some of these experiences translated into your leadership at Harvard. You just testified recently at the affirmative
action trial about Harvard’s admissions process. How important do you feel it is given the history of yourself and our country to have a race-
conscious admission policy?
FAUST: I think it’s hugely important for us to be able to consider race as one factor among many in a holistic evaluation of a person because race
matters and has mattered in the United States. And when we think about who a person is, and that’s what we try to decide in Harvard admissions, what
are the varieties of influences on a person’s life and how does that fit that person to make contributions to the Harvard environment race is a
significant part of who we are in the United States.
And so I think that is critical. I also think it’s critical that we have a diverse population at Harvard that the variety of American life be
represented in our student body because people learn from one another.
ISAACSON: So if you just did admissions mainly by SAT scores, you think Harvard would have more trouble accomplishing its mission?
FAUST: I think admissions by SAT scores would be a disaster because it tells you so little about an individual. It tells you that that
individual is very good at taking tests and that can be — give you some kinds of insight. But there’s so many other things we want to know.
Has this individual confronted hardships? Does this individual have a broad range of interests that might include music or public service or
athletics? What kinds of different experiences has this person had that will influence the way they interact with others in our community? And
none of that is rendered by the kind of objective reduction of a human being to a number through a test.
ISAACSON: And do you think that this lawsuit brought by Edward Blum and others on behalf of Asian-Americans who did not get into Harvard, do you
think that they are fighting for those Asian-Americans or do you think they’re trying to destroy affirmative action on our society?
FAUST: I think I should let you ask them or let their actions define them rather than mainly myself.
ISAACSON: But when you give a personal rating which is the things you just talked about, what do you say to those who say those personal ratings have
discriminated against Asian-Americans systematically?
FAUST: Well, we have to make sure that we have a broad range of input into how a personal rating is developed. But any rating is going to have
different people performing differently on it. And so I think that it’s important that we sustain this commitment to the broad range of what an
ISAACSON: The Reverend Peter Gomes who you remember fondly, I’m sure who is a plumber professor of Christian morals and a preacher at Memorial
Church, gave a strawman once about when you come to Harvard, we tell you how exclusive it is. We say it’s all about you got in, it’s exclusive.
You get into these other places, Harvard is exclusive.
They said, what we forgot to tell you is that it’s about inclusivity. Is that what you’re trying to make now or trying to make a mission of Harvard?
FAUST: This is so important, Walter. And it’s more important now even than when Peter gave that sermon because our student body has changed
significantly. We’ve had a real expansion of financial aid so that 20 percent of our undergraduates now come from families that make less than
$65,000 a year and they pay no tuitions or room and board.
So we have students who would not have been part of Harvard before. We can’t say come this far and then we’ll put up all kinds of new barriers
that exclude you from things. And so this issue of inclusivity and belonging has become one that is much more central to work — to our
You can’t just make your population diverse. You have to make sure that once it gets there, all these different groups and socioeconomic groups,
and ethnic groups, and so forth really feel that they have equal access to the opportunities and in life at Harvard.
ISAACSON: Do you worry about the assaults on free speech by some segments on campus?
FAUST: I worry about the assaults on free speech across our society. I think that we are so polarized, becoming so polarized, that there are just
certain things that one group will not permit another group to say. To tolerate free speech, to encourage free speech means that there will be
wounds, there will be things that are said that are offensive.
We need to give the strength to students who are the recipients of that kind of assault, the courage to respond to it. But I think we can have
interactions and respect on our campus that will underlie and support the expressions of free speech that can be a model for what I think is a threat
throughout our society.
ISAACSON: Can you give me an example of what you had to confront that as president of Harvard?
FAUST: Well, a lot of it at Harvard as in other places has revolved around controversial speakers. And we’ve done a lot of work with our students
saying it’s very important that we have controversial speakers and that we make clear where our disagreements with them are, that we have platforms
and voices that articulate the weaknesses in this heinous speech.
But to prohibit it is only to empower it. And so we’ve tried to plan very carefully for speakers who have been considered controversial. And that
includes not just educating our students, getting leadership among students to set the right tone. It also means having the right place, making sure
that you have control over the venue because there are a lot of people traveling around the United States who have nothing to do with
Harvard or another campus who just want to come and make mischief.
So often we’ll ticket these events so it’s only people in the Harvard community, not people, troublemakers from outside who are invited to come.
So it has to be managed.
But so far — and I always say this, knock on wood, I don’t see any wood to knock on, so far, these speeches have all gone well. The individuals have
been respected. Questions have been asked that can be critical but have not been disrespectful. And there’s been on occasion someone who jumped up
and yelled something and they’ve been quietly escorted out of the venue.
ISAACSON: Well, I like to remind people that it’s actually was much more volatile when you and I —
ISAACSON: Remember when — with George Bundy or Robert McNamara.
FAUST: Didn’t McNamara get kind of carted out of Cambridge and put on top of a car, made his life seem to be a bit under threat back there in the
ISAACSON: Yes. So that gets to a question of why does history matter?
FAUST: Oh, wow. History matters because who are we if we don’t understand where we came from? How do we imagine a future if we don’t see a world
that has been different in the past and can be different again?
As president, I found myself often turning to history. And when I was a president, not a significant number of people said either to me or to
others what does a historian know about how to run a university?
But I always found when there was a problem, the first question I asked was, where did this problem come from? What are its roots? What’s at
stake that I might not see if I don’t go back and look at its origins?
And that seems to me so important. This also carries you through tough times. When we think about the history of our country, Hamilton, and what
we learned about struggles that we experienced in the past about ideals that have inspired us through generations, about people who have done more
than you can believe a human being could possibly do, those kinds of things move us forward.
And it tells you, you’re not alone. You’re part of something bigger than yourself and how you contribute to the next chapter, that is such a
privilege and it’s also so important.
ISAACSON: President Faust, thanks for being with us.
FAUST: Thank you, Walter.
AMANPOUR: How true that is, who are we if we don’t understand where we came from?
And we wanted to end with a special tribute this International Women’s Day. The novelist Meg Wolitzer drew a lot of attention back in 2012 when she
published an essay called The Second Shelf lamenting the fact that so many female writers are displayed on lower and less important shelves in the
It’s an idea that one woman has taken to heart and she’s built a business on it and that’s a book store called the Second Shelf and it’s right here
in London Soho.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
A.N. DEVERS, WRITER AND OWNER, THR SECOND SHELF BOOKSTORE: The Second Shelf is a rare and antiquarian bookstore of books by and about women. And
the reason why I started the Second Shelf is to highlight women writers.
I was looking around for a name and then I had remembered this essay I had read by Meg Wolitzer in the back page of “The New York Times Book Review”
that talked about women’s books being relegated to lower shelves where they get dusty and forgotten and the name of it was The Second Shelf.
I just want people to know that there’s something for them here, that they can find a book that’s collectible and can build a collection from six quid
which is our Penguin first edition paperbacks that are first printings by women all the way up to a $20,000 copy of Jane Austen’s Sense and
Sensibility that was owned by her best friend and signed by her best friend Martha Boyd who knew she was writing before anyone else did in secret.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think coming into a place like this is incredibly empowering. It’s really awesome to be able to see yourself reflected in
the things that you love so much.
DEVERS: There have been many male customers in the store and a lot come in because they’ve been asked to come and get their partner a present. But
they’re also here because they’re excited.
This is a book called Dreams by Olive Schreiner. What I really like about this is the dedication she writes to a small girl-child who may live to
grab somewhat of that which for us is yet sight, not touch. And I think about it in terms of how like far we’ve come and how much farther we have
to go and how sometimes it feels like not enough has changed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Not far enough yet but that’s a good start this International Women’s Day.
That’s it for our program tonight.
Thanks for watching Amanpour and Company on PBS and join us again tomorrow.