Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Transcript: Al Sharpton on 'FOX News Sunday'

The following is a partial transcript of the April 15, 2007, edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace":

"FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST CHRIS WALLACE: Joining us now from New York to discuss the fallout from the Don Imus controversy is the Reverend Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist who was among the first to call for the radio host to be fired.

Reverend Sharpton, now that Don Imus is off the air, will you go after the rappers who say a lot worse things than Imus ever has, as well as the radio companies, the music record companies and the broadcast companies that make so much money off this kind of language?

REV. AL SHARPTON: I think the real question is whether or not the major media will cover our already having gone after some of the rappers and record companies that they have in some cases not covered. In some cases they have.

I led a campaign against the whole song "It's Hard Out Here to be a Pimp" and said it should have never gotten an Oscar nomination. I led a campaign and had marches against the show "Boondocks" that used the "N" word. Both are blacks involved.

So we did not get the kind of attention — we got some, but we didn't get the kind of attention on that we got on Imus. But this has been an ongoing campaign of National Action Network, and it will absolutely intensify and continue.

We have our national conference this week, and we'll be naming those that we will go after from here. I even had a meeting with FCC about this that even one of your competitors did a national piece on.

So the real question has been the media that now comes and says will we start doing this — the question is why they have not made a major issue when we have in the past on this.

WALLACE: Well, Reverend, let me ask you about this. Do you plan in this new wave to picket these companies, to urge advertiser boycotts the way you did for Imus?

And let me ask you about another aspect of this. There's a report today in the New York Daily News that Hillary Clinton a couple of weeks ago raised, I think, $800,000 from the hip-hop producer Timbaland.

I have to say I'm not familiar with him, but apparently he's a composer and producer, and some of his music is as vile as a lot of the other rap music is. Would you urge Democratic candidates not to accept money and, in fact, to give back money that they get from these producers?

SHARPTON: Well, let me say this. Again, it is not new. I would hope that there is a new intensity in terms of people like you and those in broadcasting to cover those ongoing campaigns.

Just two weeks ago, there was a picket that — I held a press conference with those that were doing it and one of the music companies about a situation in the hip-hop community in new York. So I think it's unfair to say a new.

I would say it would be even more intensified. But we have been doing that, including our meetings with FCC.

WALLACE: Well, but you didn't answer my question, sir, specifically, for instance, about Hillary Clinton.

SHARPTON: No, I was getting ready to say that.

WALLACE: Would you urge Democrats not to raise money from these people?

SHARPTON: What I would do — and I certainly intend to in our conference, since all of the Democrats are appearing, is discuss that as well as discuss the fact that President George Bush hosted one of the leading hip-hop artists in the country, Sean "Puffy" Combs, at the White House and had him to the Republican convention.

So whatever position that we would take with Senator Clinton or Senator Obama we will also take with the president.

I don't understand how people would question us and have not asked the president why he would bring a leading hip-hop artist to the White House when he wasn't even meeting with civil rights leaders and have him as a guest at the Republican convention.

So the question becomes who draws the line where when it comes to politicians, whether those politicians are, in fact, supporting these artists since they're hosting them even in the Oval Office, or whether those artists are supporting them on specific cases.

I think that you raise a very legitimate dialogue that we need to have.

WALLACE: Well, let's play a clip, if we can, right now from one of those videos while I read you some of the lyrics. This is from Ludacris. They're saying, "Shake your money maker like somebody's 'bout to pay you."

We looked at, Reverend Sharpton, the top rap songs on Billboard this week. They're filled with words like "ho" and "bitch" and the "N" word.

As you point out, back in 2005, you lobbied the FCC to ban artists who were engaged in actual violence. These were artists who were actually shooting each other.

Have you led marches — and educate me, because we couldn't find any record of it. Have you led marches? Have you called for boycotts when it involves this kind of racist and misogynist language?

SHARPTON: Again, maybe you're not hearing me. We've marched on the show "Boondocks" because of the use of the "N" word on HBO. A black young cartoonist — it was very much — I don't know if you get your own station.

I talked on this station, I believe on Mr. O'Reilly's show, about this. I mean, I don't know why you can't find it. We marched on that. We went after advertisers on that.

We've gone after various lyrics of various songs. I just recounted it to you. When Bill Cosby came out with a sweeping attack on this, we were one of the organizations that stood with him. In fact, he has frequently appeared on my radio show.

So again, if you would call me, I would be glad to give you a copy of this, because I don't understand why people would not give that the same intensity.

It seemed like they only got disturbed when we would question Imus. When we were questioning men and women in our own communities that were doing this, it seems like there was not the same attention.

There was some, to be fair, but it certainly wasn't the kind of attention that Mr. Imus got, who did the same thing, and in some ways worse because as we are told "60 Minutes" will show tonight — Bob Herbert of the New York Times did a very credible piece on this.

He actually had someone where he said his job was to do "N" jokes. So this was something that seemed to be part of his programming operation, which makes it even more egregious to me.

WALLACE: In this whole controversy, some people have asked questions about you, Reverend Sharpton. I'm going to ask you some of those questions.

You have a history of getting involved in racial conflicts in which whites allegedly victimize blacks. Back in 1987, you pushed very hard, were very public in the case of Tawana Brawley, a black teen who said she was raped by white police officers and a white prosecutor.

A grand jury found it was a hoax, and a jury made you pay one official $87,000 for defamation. Question: We can't find any record that you ever apologized to any of those white officials the way Don Imus did this week.

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, that was a civil case based on a case that I believed, and I stood by a young lady that came to us.

So I did not get involved without an invitation — a case I fought, just like I fought a case with Central Park two years later that a jury convicted young men. They went to jail 13 years. People said...

WALLACE: Yes, but I'm asking you about Tawana Brawley. A grand jury found it was...

SHARPTON: If you would allow me to finish the answer...

WALLACE: If I may, sir — if I may ask the question, a grand jury says it was a hoax. A jury found you guilty of defamation and made you pay one of the white officers $87,000.

Did you ever apologize to any of them for your comments?

SHARPTON: May I answer the question?

WALLACE: If you answer the question about Tawana Brawley, sure.

SHARPTON: I'm answering the question, yes. Just like I have done in other cases where juries find in criminal cases — there's no guilt in a civil case — and did not apologize and come to find out we were right.

I believed I was right on Ms. Brawley. We paid the penalty, just as I felt Mr. Imus should pay the penalty. I did not apologize for something that I believed were right.

I believed many Americans disagreed with the jury in O.J. Simpson. Do they have to apologize and say they were racist because they believed O.J. Simpson was guilty and the jury said he was not, or Michael Jackson?

I mean, all of us have the right to disagrees with juries. If people feel that you did it wrongly, they have a right to pursue an action, and you should stay and stand up and pay the penalty of that. I did. And so should others, including, in this case, Mr. Imus.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about another case. When those three students charged in the Duke rape case were charged in the case, even after people found holes in the prosecutor's argument, you continued to side with the accuser.

Here's what you told Bill O'Reilly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This D.A. is probably not one that is crazy. He would not have proceeded it he did not feel...

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: I'm not criticizing him.

SHARPTON: ... that he could convict.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Reverend Sharpton, now that all of those students have been found innocent by the state attorney general, will you apologize to the Duke students?

SHARPTON: Mr. Wallace, maybe you played the wrong tape. I think what I said in that tape was that the D.A. is apparently not crazy, and this is what the D.A. said.

You said that you were getting ready to play a tape where I said that this case must be pushed despite the holes in it. That's not what you played. And the reason you didn't play it is because I never said that.

What I said is that the D.A., we felt, brought the charges because — the charges he felt he had evidence for. If the D.A. misled us, you want me to apologize for what, being misled?

WALLACE: Well, one could argue that, in fact, you — a lot of other people were saying let's see what happens in the court case. You were siding with the prosecutor. You were saying he's not crazy.

SHARPTON: No, I said that I did not...

WALLACE: What about the presumption of innocence, Reverend Sharpton?

SHARPTON: Wait, woah, woah.

WALLACE: What about the presumption of innocence, Reverend Sharpton?

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, again, what you are trying to do is compare a man who gets on radio that involved no case, no allegation — nobody said anything about these students — and called them nappy-headed ho's with cases that people — whether it's O.J., whether it's Michael Jackson or anything else — people have a right to take positions on what they believe in a case.

You cannot take an individual case and compare that to people getting on federally regulated broadcast stations and making, for no reason, no context, no accusation, just blanket statements. You're trying to compare apples and oranges.

WALLACE: And, Reverend Sharpton, even after the case has been completely disproved, even after the attorney general in North Carolina has said that it was an overreaching, overzealous prosecutor, you're still not willing to say...

SHARPTON: Oh, absolutely, but...

WALLACE: ... "I, Reverend Sharpton, was wrong, I owe an apology to those students?"

SHARPTON: ... you didn't ask that question. You did not ask that question.

WALLACE: Well, I'm asking it to you now, sir.

SHARPTON: I wish you would, rather than assume my answer. Not only would I said today I think clearly the prosecutor misled us, and that what happened to those young men were horrible, I said it on my show Friday. It said it immediately after it happened.

So to act as though I have not said that is not true. You should have asked that. I've said that as soon as it came down. I said it on my radio program Friday.

But again, you didn't ask that. You assumed an answer and put it in my mouth and then asked me to apologize for it.

WALLACE: I don't think that's exactly what I did. Actually, what I said was now that the attorney general says they're all innocent, do you apologize to the students.

SHARPTON: No. You said will I now...

WALLACE: In any case, Reverend Sharpton, let me ask you one...

SHARPTON: ... do it, as if I had not done it.

WALLACE: Reverend Sharpton, let me ask you one...

SHARPTON: I did it.

WALLACE: ... final question, if I may.

SHARPTON: I will again do it. I did it on Friday.

WALLACE: You're holding your annual National Action Network convention this week and all of the leading Democratic candidates, presidential candidates, are going to be there. Are you now a king maker in the Democratic Party, sir?

SHARPTON: No. I'm no more of a king maker than when Republicans go see Reverend Jerry Falwell and others that represents constituencies on the other side.

Why does it have to be something — if Democratic candidates come to people that have constituency bases in one segment of society — but if John McCain goes to see Jerry Falwell, or if some others go to see environmentalists or gay activists or immigration activists, that it is something else?

Everybody in America should have a right to hear from the candidates they are choosing from. It's no more and no less with us. It's not about king making.

It's about our having the ability to hear from people that we are considering to give our vote. I think that it is a real double standard when it is understood in other areas, and all of a sudden it's inflated when it comes to some of us.

WALLACE: Reverend Sharpton, we're going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much for coming in and joining us and talking with us today, sir.

SHARPTON: Thank you, sir.