June 14, 2016 - Malcolm Gladwell

  • 06/14/2016

A Stanford athlete gets a slap on the wrist for sexual assault, and Larry looks back on the O.J. Simpson trial with Malcolm Gladwell, Rory Albanese and Franchesca Ramsey.

Hey, thank you very much.

Man, nice crowd.

Thank you so much.Very kind.

Welcome to The Nightly Show.

Yes. I am Larry Wilmore.

Thank you so much.Please have a seat.

AUDIENCE (chanting):Larry! Larry! Larry! Larry!

Thank you so much,I appreciate it.

Great show-- author and expert

Malcolm Gladwellis here tonight, you guys.

(cheering, applause)

Yes. And this has neverbeen done before--

I'm going to talk to himfor 10,000 hours.

Tonight. Little Malcolm Gladwellgeek humor there.

Which I am--I'm a Gladwell geek.

I'm proud of that.Uh, now, as you may know...

By the way,today is our second day back

after, like,a two-week hiatus, right?

And when we're... when we'reaway, guys, something,

believe it or not,news just still happens, right?

I don't know how that works out.

And there werea few stories, though, uh,

that occurred last weekthat I want to address tonight,

in a new segmentwe're calling, um...

No. No.

No, no, no.

-No. Guys...-(cheering, applause)

We can't call itLast Week Tonight.

And why'd you putJohn Oliver on there, too?

Um, I-I just wantto talk about some stuff

that happened last week, okay?

That's a horrible title.

Okay, mandatory graphics meetingtonight, all right?

Forget it. Forget it.

God, what's wrong with us?

Okay, here's the thing.

Okay, let's start with LeBrongetting whacked in the nuts.

All right...

I know it sounds weird,but this is what happened.

For those of youthat don't know, last week,

game four of the NBA Finals,LeBron James

knocks over Draymond Green,right? And while Draymond

was getting up, LeBron, he kindof straddle-walks him, right?

And-and Draymond--he, like, feels the presence

of, you know, LeBron's...

LeBron's cavaliers,shall I say, right?

Right? Right?They're just dangling, right?

And, you know, Draymond,I-I think, politely,

kind of pushes themout of the way, right?

It was politely, right?The league, however,

went and reviewed the playand then retroactively

punishes Draymond Green.

He was therefore suspendedfor last night's game.

Golden State lost,largely because of that.

'Cause you know I'm rootingfor the light-skinned brothers.


Oh, I said it...I said it again?

Sorry about that.Didn't mean to say that.

Okay, this really pisses me off,guys, this really pisses me off.

'Cause this is like whena traffic camera catches you

for running a red lightand not a cop.

(bleep) that ticket.

Right? No, no, no.

You didn't catch me, right?

No, really.(bleep) that ticket.


(cheering, applause)

City of Yonkers.

That's not even a word--Yonkers. Okay...

Uh, I mean, you could watch backthe entire game in slow motion

and see a lot of foulsthat were missed by the refs

and just startgiving out technicals, right?

It's called "instant replay,"not "eventual replay."

That's all I'm saying, okay?

And, now, I know,I know, I know--

I seem worked up, because for methis goes beyond basketball.

This is a question of morality.

Am I right, Charles Barkley?

(cheering, applause)


A moral obligation.

You are correct,Charles Barkley.

I'm pretty sureit was one of the beatitudes

on the Sermon of the Mount.I'm pretty sure.

Uh, you can Bing that.Um, sorry, I just

had to get thatout of my system. Okay.

Uh, there was another story

that I want to make suredoesn't get forgotten.

Now, this one's about a judgewho was, let's say,

a bit too cavalierin his sentencing.

REPORTER: 20-year-old swimming star Brock Turner

could have been looking at 14 years

for sexually assaulting an intoxicated

and unconscious woman

behind a Dumpster on Stanford's campus.

But instead of 14 years, a judge has ruled Turner

will only spend six months in jail,

eligible for parole in three months.

Hold on a second.

It's 14 years or six months?

Those are the two options?

There's got to besomething in between,

like-like 13 years, maybe?

Or 13 years and six months?

(cheering, applause)

What am I missing?


Or... or what the (bleep)

was wrong with 14 years?

How about that?

So, anyhow, the judgesaid he understood

the devastationthe victim suffered.

Uh, but thatthe "prison sentence would have

a severe impact" on Brock.

Yes, because if anyoneisn't supposed to change

after a brutal attack,it's the attacker.

Brock, man, we're gonnalock you up for a bit,

but promise you won't losethat rapey side we love so much,

all right, man?Don't change, man, don't change.

Now, in California,the mandatory minimum

for this type of caseis two years,

and a judge can sentencebelow that, but why would he?

REPORTER: The judge's reasoning? The rape carried

"less moral culpability because Turner was drunk

at the time of the attack."

That's a defense?

Was this judge drunkat the time of sentencing?

(cheering, applause)

How...Guys, think about this.

How does "too drunk" workas an excuse for any crime?

Sorry I committed that DUI.In my defense, I was drunk.

Get out of here.

Drunk should never be an excuse.

My coworkers still haven'tforgiven me for

the drunken crimes I committedat staff karaoke night.

Right? Still paying for that.

Now, it could be that the judgemay have been swayed by a letter

from Brock 's daddyin which he wrote...

"that is a steep priceto pay..."

I smell almonds.Am I having a stroke?

"20 minutes of action?"

He describes rape as "action"?

Okay, I've said this before:there's a reason why

we have words, okay?

And those two wordsare not the same.

Only the most horribletype of human scum

would say somethinglike that-- "action."

Not to mention, you would bethe worst movie director ever.

All right, everybody,quiet on the set. Quiet.

And... rape.

Okay, that was bad.That was horrible.

-I know, I know. True. Um...-(cheering, applause)

Actually, uh, actually,you'd be tied with

Roman Polanskiand Woody Allen. But...

That's right, I went there.

But... but action-dadwasn't done.

"I was always excitedto buy him...

Who gives a (bleep)?

(cheering, applause)


Who cares?

Oh... oh, the poor widdle fella.

Is the rapisttoo raped out to eat steak?

Okay, here's what'sreally gets me about this, guys.

It's 20-(bleep)-16,

and this is the best we can doabout sexual assault?

I... This is exhausting,you guys.

Like, take this (bleep),

who I haven'tforgotten about, right?

(cheering, applause)


Okay, he's accusedof over 50 "actions,"

and we can barely get himinto a (bleep) courtroom.

REPORTER: We see he's making his way there

through the metal detector.

You're not blind.Open your goddamn eyes,

you fake-blind (bleep)!

You're not.


But anyway, I just thinkas a society, today,

I just think we have to finda way to do better.

We'll be right back.

-(cheers and applause)-Welcome back!

Now, earlier, we were speakingof lowering the bar on society,

and there was one other storyI wanted to mention tonight.

Some parents are stealingtens of thousands of these

from local Girl Scouts,and it's not the first time.


Girl Scout cookies?

People aren't payingfor Girl Scout cookies?!

-Is there nothing sacred left?-(laughter)


(with accent):What do you want? Do-si-dos?

Tagalongs? Thin Mints?

Don't worry about it.They fell off a truck.

They try to have a systemin place

so that the troopis not affected

if it does have some Scoutsin cookie debt.


Cookie debt?

Seriously, America, how muchdebt are we putting our kids in?

Right? First,we got college debt.

Now they gotto worry about cookie debt?

And most college kids are, like,in weed debt, right?

(laughter, cheering)

Which... which, be fair--

puts them even deeperinto cookie debt, ironically.

-(laughter)-It's a vicious cycle, you guys.


So here's what's happening.Here's what's happening.

This makes my brain explode.

As a parentof a Girl Scout, you know,

you have to estimate how manycookies your Scout may sell,

and if they come up short,now you're stuck

with having to payfor those cookies.

Hence, the cookie debt.

You guys,Bernie Sanders talked...

He talked all about this, right?

This is whathe was talking about.

And it was dramatizedbeautifully in that movie

The Big Shortbread, I think it was called.


I apologize.I apologize for that one.

That's my bad.

Okay, well,how are they getting the money?

WOMAN: We have a delinquency form

that the troops can fill out.

Say, you know,a parent did not pay us,

a customer did not pay us.

And what we'll do iswe'll investigate that debt.

(laughing):Oh, man.

Investigate that debt?

I'm not sure what that meansexactly.

All right, to find outmore about this issue,

let's talkwith two representatives

of the Girl scouts of America--Joey and Crystal.

(cheers and applause)

WILMORE:Wait. Uh...

Hold on. Are you guys, uh...?

You guys areGirl Scout leaders?

We're associated.


Just independent contractors

who ferret out cookie deadbeatsand make them pay.

Jesus! What's the bat for?

-Hitting (bleep).-Yeah.


Yeah, like softballsand (bleep).

Yeah. Yeah,not like skulls or anything.

-Nah. Nah. Nah.-Don't worry about it.

Okay, all right,but, you know,

the whole storyabout cookie debt

seems kind of ridiculous,doesn't it?

-Wow. -WILMORE: What? What?

-You did not just say that.-WILMORE: What? What did I say?

-Wow.-WILMORE: What?

Look, the Girl Scouts

and its loosely associatednetwork of enforcers

are America's last lineof defense for total decency.

-Don't try to rip off the GirlScouts, mother (bleep). -Yeah.

-Whoa, whoa, whoa, I'm not.-(Bleep).

-Don't do it!-What the (bleep)!

-Calm down.-Don't do it!

-What the (bleep)! -I'm notdoing anything. I'm not doing...

I appreciate you protectingthis organization,

but I have to say,

your tone doesn't seemvery Girl Scout to me.

Oh, oh, is this Girl Scoutenough for you?

-This is my badgefor needlework. -(laughter)

Oh. Oh, that's nice.That's kind of cute.

Yeah, I stucka giant sewing needle

into the eye of a deadbeat

who wouldn't payfor her Peanut Butter Patties.

-(cheers and applause)-WILMORE: Oh, my.

Oh. Oh.

Pay your debt, Miss Paulson,

-while you still gotone good eye. -(laughter)

Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

This is kind of messed up,you guys.

It's not very scout-like,is all I'm saying.

I mean, really,all this over cookies?

-It's not the cookies, Larry.-Uh-huh.

The cookies are just a symptom

of a much bigger problemin America, Larry.

Um, obesity?


-Smart-mouthed mother (bleep).-WILMORE: Oh, wait.

-Aah!-(cheers and applause)

Aah! Larry, do not make me earnmy creative play badge

right now, bro.

-(laughter)-Don't do it. -I...

'Cause that's a lot more violentthan it sounds, trust me.

I believe that.I believe that.

Okay, okay, I got this.I got this.

-Yeah.-Larry, you like Thin Mints?

Um, they're all right.

They're more than all right,mother (bleep).

-Okay, all right.-Okay, yes. They're awesome.

-You love Thin Mints!-I love them. I love them.

I love them, yeah.

Now, Thin Mints--they're the thin minty line

between America 's decent,law-abiding,

honor-code-following young girls

who are the future leadersof tomorrow...

And the peoplewho will soon be broken-thumbed.


Okay, um, um,quick cookie question.

Um, do you guys haveany Savannah Smiles?

-We're not in sales, homie.-Oh. -(laughter)

Yeah, for us,a Savannah Smile is

when someone owes theGirl Scouts $25 in cookie debt,

-and you curb-stomp their jaw.-(laughter and groaning)

Is that what you want, Larry?Is that what you want?

You want us to curb-stompyour jaw? Is that what you want?

-No. No, no, no, I don't. I'mgood. -That's what I thought.

Joey and Crystal,protecting the Girl Scouts

-of America, everybody.-All right.

-(cheers and applause)-All right, welcome back.

I'm here with my panel.

First up, Nightly Show contributor Rory Albanese.

(cheers and applause)

And Nightly Show contributor

-Franchesca Ramsey.-(cheers and applause)

And he's the best-selling authorof Blink, The Tipping Point,

Outliers, David and Goliath.

And he has a new podcaststarting this Thursday

you can check outcalled Revisionist History.

-Malcolm Gladwell, everybody.Yeah. -(cheers and applause)

And for everyone at home,join our conversation right now

on Twitter @NightlyShow usingthe hashtag #Tonightly, okay?

Now, tonight I wantedto talk about something

that's been backin the news lately.

It's the 20th anniversaryof the O.J. Simpson trial.

There's already been, like,a special on FX,

and a new documentary on ESPN

which just started,which is amazing,

um, uh, which is out.

So, Malcolm,I want to start with you.

Why do you thing this issueis resonating so much today?

There's two parts. There's thedomestic violence part of it,

-and the racial part.-GLADWELL: Yeah.

You know, I don't think

that this country hada kind of fundamental change

in its attitude towards domesticviolence until Ray Rice.

-WILMORE: Mm-hmm. -I mean,O.J. is... goes on for...

RAMSEY:They blamed her. They blamed her

a lot for...with Ray Rice, though.

GLADWELL:But I mean, it was only after

the head of the NFL, you know,bizarrely gives Ray Rice--

what was it,a two-game suspension.

-And the world goes crazy.-WILMORE: Sure. Right.

That people, like,"Oh, wait a minute.

-This is a serious problem."-WILMORE: And, like, no Gatorade

-or something, right?-(laughter)

ALBANESE: Yeah.And that was only one

of two violent elevator crimesthat happened, 'cause Solange

hit Jay Z in the head that year,too. You know what I mean?

So, there was a lotof elevator crimes, I think,

-that changed things. -WILMORE:Right. Right. Thanks, Rory.

Yeah, well, I'm just trying tokeep everybody on the same page.

-Bringing that page.-Right. -(laughter)

Well, the Juicehas a contribution,

and so does Solange.

-Yeah, yeah, everybody.-Yeah. Right.

We learned that with Lemonade Jay Z deserved it, though.

-We did learn that.-(laughter and groaning)

-WILMORE: That's true.-It is.

-(applause and cheering)-WILMORE: And, uh...

RAMSEY:I still think we are very

misinformed when it comesto domestic violence.

Because you lookat what's going on

with Johnny Depp right nowand Amber Heard.

She has video, she has texts,

and people are like,"Oh, she's a gold-digger.

Oh, she's just tryingto get famous."

And we see this happen a lot.

And so I think that we havegotten a little bit better,

but I do think at the timethey just weren't equipped.

And also, they weren't allowedto bring in those 911 tapes,

-Mm-hmm. -they weren't allowedto have, uh, Nicole's journal.

There was a lot of evidencethere that would have helped

-that they weren't...-There's a lot of time spent

on this documentaryabout O.J.'s fame.

And I remember as a kid,I played football,

you know, I ran track,and, you know,

I wanted to play footballlike O.J. Simpson.

You know...I'd look up to him in that way.

It's funny, 'cause I looked upto Muhammad Ali as a black man.

It's, like, Muhammad Alimade me proud to be black.

O.J. Simpson-- I just wantedto run through the airport.


Yeah. But a lot of time is spenton how much he distanced himself

from the black experience.

They... they say he said, uh,"I don't want to be black,

-I just want to be O.J."-ALBANESE: Yeah.

-And it's funny how...-Now, by the way,

now he just wants to be blackand not O.J.


Now being black isa lot better than being O.J.

Exactly. But I thinkthat resonated with people

during the trial,'cause it was...

the Rodney King situationhad just happened very recently.

-GLADWELL: Oh, yeah.-Well, that's the big factor

why I think so many people inthe black community at the time

were... you know, watching itand cheering when he got off,

'cause it just felt like, well,the system was broken one time,

now maybe it's broken again,but at least this time

-it broke in our favor.-That cheering was

-for all the trials that went...-Yeah, and I don't think anyone

thought, you know,he was innocent.

I mean, maybe a few peopleon the deep web.

You know what I mean?But I'm saying, like...

but I do thinkthere's a component of it,

like, it was a little bitof a payback, and there...

There were huge riotsafter Rodney King.

You know what's going onright now in Brooklyn

in, uh...and not just in Brooklyn,

-People are making pickles-but throughout the...

-in a walk-up apartment?-No. No, no, no.

What's going on now is...

-So wrong! -Well,if that's what's happening.

That is one thing happeningin Brooklyn right now.

-That is a horrible...-All right, that's a fair...

-That is a horrible thing.-There's a whole series of cases

where people aregoing back through, uh,

-murder cases, serious criminalcases from the 1990s, -Mm-hmm.

and overturning them, because...

-they were completelyfraudulent. -Hmm.

The cops brought infraudulent evidence,

the vic...the accused was railroaded.

It is notan uncommon occurrence,

-Mm-hmm.-particularly in that era,

for there to be massivemiscarriages of justice.

So at the time--I mean, I think O.J. did it--

but at the time, to say,look, I know tons of cases

where peoplehave been unfairly...

black people have been unfairlyaccused of murder in this city

and have been framedfor all kinds of crimes

they didn't commit.

I mean, that's a plausibleresponse in 1995 in L.A.

-and in New York.-It was kind of similar, like,

when Leo won the Oscarfor The Revenant.

-Like, he didn'treally deserve it. -Yeah!

But he had made a bunchof really good movies before,

so you were kind of like, "Eh...all right, you know, it's okay."

Yeah, it'sa totally legit parallel.

-No, that's a le... -Kind oflike a... like a body of work.

Hey, it's like Scor...

-(whooping, applause)-look, it's like Scorsese

with The Departed, you know what I mean?

-It wasn't as bad. -It was,like, you know, you win some,

-you lose some. -How do youput up with this every night?

-I don't know. It's like... -I'mnot saying they're justified,

but I think that that'swhat some of the people...

GLADWELL: The Leo parallel.I hadn't thought of that.

WILMORE: Yeah, where peopleare thinking about how racist

the LAPD has been for years,and going,

"I'm relating thisto the Oscars."

-(laughter) -ALBANESE:But it's not just the LAPD.

I mean, and it's not just...it's not like we fixed it.

I mean, it seemslike there's still a lot

of just absoluteand utter racism

-in the police. -Do you thinkthere is a problem with fame?

-Like, with people...-GLADWELL: Oh, yeah.

uh, judging famous people

and having a problemseparating that?

I remember, uh, years agoI was interviewing some guy

-who was an experton interrogation. -Mm-hmm.

And he had... he gave me a...we went over together

a transcript of the onlypolice interrogation of O.J.,

-Mm-hmm. -which wasthe next morning, right?

He only talks to the cops once.

And his whole point was,the interrogation,

if you read it closely,makes no sense whatsoever.

-Mm-hmm.-They are so in awe of him.

-Yeah. -Wow. -They...they don't let him talk.

They interrupt him as he's aboutto say incriminating things.

He contradicts himself--they totally blow it off.

They're just like,"I'm with O.J.

This is fantastic.I can't..."

WILMORE: He's like, "Yeah, andback when I killed Kennedy..."

-"No, O.J., stop that."-Yeah, yeah, yeah. -"Shh!"

-It's astonishing to read...the transcript. -Uh-huh.

And you realize, it is...people had huge blinders on.

Well, also, L.A. is obsessedwith celebrity, obviously.

That's, like, the town where allhorrible celebrity things occur.

And-and on top of that--it is-- and on top of that,

um, it seems, too, that,like, could you imagine

if that happened now,with selfies and Instagrams

-and everything else?-And Snapchat.

How many cops would be in theinterrogation room with O.J.?

Like, we didn'teven have that then.

But they were obsessed,they were completely obsessed

with him the entire him.I really think race became

a factor 'cause Johnnie Cochranworked it in.

But to me, the...the fame thing is really...

They were all obsessed with him.Everybody was...

-He... he was one of the mostfamous guys in the world. -Yeah.

I mean, he still is.Now he's just a...

like Cosby, he's justa horrible famous person.

You know? But it's, like...

But no, but he...he was at the time.

Tough to forget. And The Naked Gun movies were very good.

-Yeah.-(cheering, applause, whooping)

The end of the day.

For some people,that's all that matters.

We'll be right backright after this.

YARD: If you live in the New York City area

or are planning to visit, grab some free tickets

to The Nightly Show.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

Thanks to my panelists,Rory Albanese,

Franchesca Ramseyand Malcolm Gladwell.

Thanks for watching.Goodnightly, everyone!

-(cheering, applause)-Yeah!

MAN: Ooh, sorry.