tv Piers Morgan Live CNN January 24, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
>> to be honest there was a time in high school where i didn't think he'd be there to see me get into college and graduate and know that i'd be a teacher. >> this was all more than you've expected? >> absolutely. >> we're all going to die. we both know this. it is an inevitability that if you just spend your time dreading and mourning, then you miss out on the good stuff that happens before then. i am very much about living. >> reporter: and still, he pushes on, not to the end but to whatever comes next. tom foreman, cnn, new orleans. >> whattan inspiration. that does it for this edition of 360. thank you for watching. "piers morgan live" starts right now. this is piers morgan live. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. the tonight the movie that's raunchy, raw, and some people say crosses the line. >> stop. safety first. safety is first. >> i don't want to get a bad
reputation. >> "wolf of wall street" i talk exclusively with the man who was the inspiration for leonardo dicaprio's character. >> if i'll not mistaken, you just tried to bribe a federal officer. >> technically i didn't bribe anybody. no, according to the u.s. criminal code there needs to be an exact dollar figure for an exchange of services. that would not hold up in a court of law. >> i heard it. >> no, no, no, no. that's the truth. >> yes. the real-life wolf of wall street, jordan belfort, is here tonight live and unleashed hollywood has made him into a big story. it doesn't get much better than watching leo dicaprio surely play you on the big screen in a movie that could be oscar-bound. he used what's called a pump and dump to scam investors. ended up behind bars for securities fraud and money laundering, serving 22 months of a four-year sentence. jordan belfort joins me now
excludism. you're like one of the most notorious people in the entire world. i have had calls from all over the world in the last 24 hours since we announced this. you don't give interviews, certainly not for a long time. you haven't given them for this movie until now. >> right. >> now you've let yourself loose here for the next hour. how do you feel about this extraordinary mayhem erupting around you, your story, this movie? >> well, it's a bit surreal. i think controversial more than notorious. and i chose not to give any interviews for awhile. i think i wanted the movie to basically play, i think the studio wanted that as well. and i thought this would be a good place to sort of get the message out. i'm sure people have questions, you have questions. >> what is the real message you want to get out? >> well, i guess for me it's important that the movie is viewed the right way. certainly as a cautionary tale. i know there's this big issue of people glamourizing what
happened. i think carey winter said it best. if you look at this movie and you walk away thinking this is how you want to live your life you have a screw loose. >> people said that about wall street and gordon gecko. of course even you admit gordon gecko became this weird inspiration to go and be a gordon gek coast many other people did, too. i suppose the criticism of the movie right now, people will look at jordan belfort's life played by dicaprio and it is glamorous. you don't see the human side of the victims. there is a danger that all this movie will do is create a lot of the old jordan bellforts not the guy you now are but the one who you admit was a pretty bad guy. >> i don't really think that is going to happen and i'll tell you why. i think that is a fundamental difference between the gordon deck gecko character and myself. gecko was a fictionalized character and never saw his downfall. at the end he got taped and
pushed his button. that's that. you don't find out wall street 2 what happened to gordon gecko. this story is clear i lost everything. i ended up in jail and it was a disaster personally, professionally. and i think that being said, though, i think there's a lot of great things to glean from the movie. i think that hopefully when people see this they can say there are some things that wow really are awe-inspiring. starting from nothing, the selling and motivation. i think that does inspire and should motivate people. but they need to get it in context if you don't do it with health ex and integrity it's a disaster for yourself and everyone around you. >> the first clip is leo dea dicaprio in character talking about you. >> my name is jordan belfort. the year i turned 26 i made $49 million which really pissed me off bought it was three shy of a million a week. >> is this legal?
absolutely not. >> the second clip leo dicaprio talking about the real you. about what he this of you personally. >> i've been in his company many times. but there is nothing quite like jordan's public speaking and his ability to train and empower young entrepreneurs. jordan stands as a shining example of the transformative qualities of ambition and hard work. and in that regard, he is a true motivator. >> i suppose my first question would be, pretty extraordinary, right? i mean, there's you. you had it all, you lost it all. you're down. everything's gone. now you've got the hottest movie star in the world pay you can that kind of compliment in a piece he wanted out there for people to see. what does it make you feel like to see dicaprio do that? >> it was amazing. i think that it's a testament to leo's character that he could obviously speaking about my new life and not my old life in that clip. >> right. >> and i think that originally when leo saw this project, i
think he wanted to get it on screen. and he said this publicly. because it represented the mistakes that i made and the attitude that i had at that time represents a lot of what really went wrong ultimately many years later with wall street. and i think that was important to him. and i think that what impressed leo i think about my new life so much he saw me really make this radical turn and i think that moved him. i was really proud and shocked that he did that. >> how much time did you spend with leo dicaprio? >> i spent a lot. >> like what? >> countless hours. hundreds of hours. >> hundreds of hours. >> probably. oh, hundred plus hours. >> how did you find him and how did he found you when you were interacting together? >> by telephone in my house or his house or out somewhere. literally, one thing i don't think people realize about leo, his excellence is not by -- he strives for it. he works really really hard. i think he was so determined to suck every bit of information from me, any stuff that wasn't in the book and sort of what was
on my mind, just really try -- and i guess i don't realize how much he's looking at you. because when i saw it on screen i was like, oh, my god. i thought it was mind boggling to see. >> i can tell already the voice is pretty well perfect. >> amazing. >> he got you. you don't look massively dissimilar to i guess in your younger days to how he is in the movie. when you watch the movie, what did you feel about the reality? because only you would know, really. >> you know, it was shocking. when i first saw the movie with my fiancee the first time. we were speechless afterwards. >> in a good or bad way? >> in a good way. i mean i guess for me it's different. when the audience sees it i think they're speechless because they're like overwhelmed with sensory overload. for me i had come to terms with my old life. i wrote this book and that was like a ca cathartic experience for me. but to see it on screen with
somebody who did such a good job, i was sweating cocaine being scored, sympathetic reactions to it. >> all that was true. i remember reading i think a fbi guy who was investigating you said the thing about jordan belfort it's all true. let's go through some of the things in the movie. i loved the movie. if you haven't seen it regardless of the moral issues it raises it's a brilliant movie. incredibly entertaining, brilliantly made. matthew mcconaughey, leo dicaprio, john hellman, they're all terrific. a female employee shaved her head for $10,000 in front of the baying mob of staff. true? >> true. to get breast implants. so it was sort of even worse. >> to get breast implants she shaved her head for $10,000. >> yes. and i guess the philosophy was, her hair would grow back and then it would all be perfect in six months. that was amazing the rationalization. i think it's interesting you brought that scene up. there was a scene that it personally disturbed me and
probably disturbed a lot of people when you see >> it did it at the time disturb you or were you too high? >> it wasn't that i was so high. but it didn't start that way. it started we shaved a guy's head for $10,000. that was really fun. within a year head shaving was $50. the price went down. >> $50? >> you become numb. that's what happened with the insanity and all the sort of stuff you do. what seems amazing at first becomes commonplace after awhile. you don't lose your soul all at once. you lose it a little bit of time incrementally. when i lost my ethical way, it was like tiny imperfeceptible steps. day one it was oh, yeah let's shave a guy's head. $10,000. needed the money. it all made sense. it will be fun the crew cut, right? then a year later flash forward and it's completely off the rails. >> dwaufrs being thrown onto velcro dart boards. >> right. >> did that happen? >> i wasn't there at the time so
i didn't throw. >> you heard it happened. >> after i left, yes. yes. >> what do you think about that? >> i don't think it's appropriate for sure. i mean, obviously i think it would be humorous to watch it as an outsider in a very bizarre sort of way. i don't think it's the sort of humor that you want to -- let's just say i don't endorse the practice by any stretch of the imagination. >> said there was so much sex in your office you had to have a sign above it saying sex free zone. >> right. well, the problem with that is that we had all these young guys. everyone was 18 to 23. and all the young girls. and everyone's making a lot of money and there's a lot of drugs going around. so i think don't think it takes much of a leap of imagination to figure out what happened next. it started really with the elevator. someone christened the elevator early on. i look back at it now and i can only scratch my head. i would say i was instig ating it in a way not responsible for it but by being the leader it becomes the reflection of what i
was at the time. so i take responsibility for it even though i wasn't even there for a lot of it. >> your number two portrayed in the movie by jonah hill ate a live goldfish that belonged to a firm employee. did that happen? >> it happened. >> you saw him do that? >> yeah. and the thing with that, his character was heavily fictionalized. >> the real life guy is who really? >> oh, it's a guy named danny. and in the movie he represents a bunch of different characters. so in fairness to danny -- >> he did the goldfish, yes. he's publicly admitted that. >> when you watch that happening, it was kind of broking excess, isn't it? >> yeah. these things do happen on wall street. they just do. insanity happens. >> are they far the of the folklore, the legend, the kind of chest beating again gordon gecko a little bit? is that what it's about really? it's about who can go the furthest? >> i think that sort of behavior isn't just endemic to wall street. i think it's endemic to large
groups of men who are drinking or doing any sort of substances or in a frat house or wherever it might be where people sort of the herd mentality, the crowd mentality. people individually would never do these things. you put 50 or 100 in one spot and all of a sudden the rules of of behavior start to change. >> did you have a chimpanzee in the office handing out mail? >> not mail. people had pets in the office. there was an iguana, a rattle snake, boa constrictor. >> you're saying this like this is perfectly normal. if i came into my cnn office one day with an iguana, a rattle snake and a chimpanzee, i would be front marched out of there high-speed. you're kind of thinking this is perfectly normal. >> i heard rumors they have stuff? silicon valley. people bring their pesto work and free -- all about free spirit so it can be creative. i think we took it in a different direction here. i don't think the outcome was as healthy as in silicon valley. what was the singest most appalling thing you ever saw?
>> i can't say it on television. but it happened at my bachelor party. i wrote the scene when i got -- the scene of the bachelor party. >> so bad you can't even tell me? >> not on air. >> can you give me a clue? >> it had to do with an act of sexual depravity that was so depraved that even i myself was speechless. there was about 100 people watching when it happened. it was the most disgusting thing i've ever seen in my life. and i think there was probably 50 prostitutes there, they said it was the most disgusting thing they've ever said. it was pretty raunchy. >> let's take a break so you can tell me what happened. then i'll decide whether we can put it on air. >> you can't. so what's better, bigger or smaller? [ all ] bigger! now let's say a friend invites you over and they have a really big, really fun pool. and then another friend invites you over who has a much smaller, less fun pool. which pool would you rather go to? does the big pool have piranhas? i believe so. does it have a dinosaur that can turn into a robot
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inspired leo dicaprio's character who spent time behind bars for fraud and money laundering. tweets coming in good, bad and ugly. someone here jake krause tweeted me at piers morgan at your views. saying "by the look of his face, he looks like he really misses his old life." do you? >> no. listen, again, obviously some aspects of the camaraderie in the early years when strat ton first started year one, it was pure, it was beautiful. i invented a system for training salesmen. it was legit. we were trying to make our clients money. that was great. i loved that. then it spiralled out of control. everything happened after that. i do not miss. especially the drugs. i'm sober for 17 years now. and i almost died because of the addiction. so i guess sometimes, i think i have a tendency to smile sometimes when i'm embarrassed. i think people might mistake for me being happy about it. but i don't miss that life. >> there's a few saying he looks like he's glorying in what
happened. >> it's not that i'm glorying for sure. >> how would you characterize it? >> a bit of embarrassment and putting on a brave face maybe. >> do you have shame about it? do you feel shame? >> it's not shame is the wrong word. i think you go through these different transitions of guilt and shame. i'm in a stage now of remorse which is really the active form of that where i'm actually doing things right now to make up for any past transgressions that i've made. guilt is sort of a self-serving emotion. you're like i feel so guilty and you just wallow up and die. versus going out and actually learning from your mistakes and trying to make them right and so forth. >> let's go back to 1991. this is a home video made at a house party in the hamptons. the kind of height of your behavior then. >> can i make one more guarantee. six months from now, what you're doing right now is going to be nothing again. okay? that's the bottom line. doing 200, 400, the guy doing
400 is going to be doing 600. there's still going to be one guy that's going to break that million dollar mark for the month. >> i want to go back to the very early days. >> sure. >> when was it you realized you had this ability to sell? >> the first time it really started in the meat business. when i got out of -- i went to dental school. was there for a day and i dropped out. i realized that the dean said the golden ache of dentistry is over. i left. >> day one of dental school you baled. you couldn't get rich. >> i always wanted to be rich. i had a desire. i was a hard-working kid. from the paper route at the age of 8, did magic shows when i was 12, shovelled driveways after snow storms. i hit it big for the first time since i was 16 selling icees on the beach. i made a lot of money. put myself through college that way. my parents were always really supportive of me. i went to dental school, dropped out and answered an ad for selling meat and seafood
door-to-door. that was a door to c-to-door sa job. the first day i broke the company record. the words flowed. i knew what to say. i opened up my own business a month after that and started knowing how to train salesmen. trained 26 sales men and 26 trucks. i made every mistake a young entrepreneur can make. i overexpanded, was undercapitalized. wasn't keeping track of my inventory and i was out of business within a year and a half. from there that's how i got down to wall street. >> you were bankrupt. >> yes. >> did it teach you anything? >> i learned everything i think i know about business stems from the first disastrous mistakes i made. because you learn a lot more from your mistakes in life than you do from your successes. >> up to that point, were you legitimate or did you cut corners? were you unethical? were you illegal? >> no, it was totally legitimate. i was a very hard-working guy. i was the sort of guy who could be on the beach and going blanket to blanket, i would outgross everybody by double because i would get there earlier and run faster and work
harder and smile more broadly when i had people in front of me. i was a hard worker. so i think that a lot of success in life obvious lit strategy involved as well. but it's also about hard work. >> people have said about you, people who know their stuff in wall street and so on, have said, if you had stayed legitimate the entire time you'd have been a billionaire now. because you were such a brilliant salesman and such a brilliant motivator. and able to run a great team. that had you just not been so unethical and break the law all the time you would have been everything you'd ever wanted to be. >> very smart people. they're 100% right. that's the shame of it all. and i do a lot of speeches at colleges, charity work. and i always say to kids that are going into the workplace is that the biggest mistake that i made is not delaying my own gratification. it was a character flaw i had as a kid. i wanted everything tomorrow. and a lot of kids are like that. and because of that i went for the short-term bucks. very often in business you can
make a little bit of extra money by being unethical. but it doesn't last. you're building a foundation on sand. and it collapsed because of that. if i would have done it just as you said, i'd probably be worth 10, $20 billion right now. that's for sure. >> you went down to wall street. on your very first day in 1987, literally the first day you're there, the company that you're working for goes bust in the great crash which happened that day. >> well, i went down there. it was even worse than that. i went down there and i trained for six months while the market was soaring to the very top. >> you're thinking this is easy. >> i'm like this is it. my first day as a broker october 19, 1987. just like that black monday and it's over. so it was almost -- it was utterly shocking. >> when you say over, didn't the firm -- >> yes. but the thing even worse than that if you remember back then, the attitude was like people thought it was the next great depression. no one knew that the economy would bounce back. people thought it was going to be 1933 all over again. so on the subway ride home, the
gloom and doom. and i was absolutely devastated. because when i was working -- i was broke. i had no money then. working for 100 bucks a weekend. costing probably more than that to commute into the city back then. but i still had hope. i knew that i could do the job. i'd be a great salesman i had already done it in the meat business. i saw these guys making money. i thought my future's bright. i felt good even though i was broke. >> you felt you had the skills in some other way to make money doing what these guys had been making money. >> correct. then when the market crashed every hope and dream i had was dashed. i thought it was over. i went home that night to my first wife. for about one day i was paralyzed. i just couldn't even move. i was so upset about it. we picked up the help wanted section and i stumbled upon an ad for a brokerage firm in long island. >> hold it there. we'll take a short break. you end up going there. this is the pump and dump operation it was to become. and a lot of victims. so we may get tough with you after the break, jordan belfort. >> i deserve it, probably. hey linda!
$26,000 for one dinner! >> dad, we're not poor anymore. >> tell him about the sides. >> cure cancer? >> that's the problem. that's why they were expensive. >> a pivotal moment for martin scorsese's "wolf of wall street." back with me the man who lived the real story, jordan belfort. he talked a good game but it came crashing down when he went to prison for so-called pump and
dump schemes. you go to this place on long island. selling little penny stocks. as we see in the movie, a pretty dodgy-looking operation compared to what you had come from in wall street. day one it all goes brilliantly. what do you realize in that moment? >> one of the important distinctions i think is for people to know here, especially young people, that is in the movie when i walk into the firm and i get my first look at it and i sit down, i think spike jones plays the manager. and i asked him a question. i say, is this all legitimate? he says to me, well, you know. in truth he said, of course it's legitimate. look at the license on the wall. we're part of the nesd. and that's a danger that every kid that goes into the workforce faces. and one of the things i always say at colleges is that just because someone is out there and they're in a company and they have a license on the wall, you have to use your own gut check to say, is this happening? >> in the movie you see very quickly what you do. you're spinning a brilliant line
in terms of its ability to be successful brilliant but not brilliant for the guy on the other end of the phone who's being seduce need this deal. very quickly into the movie dicaprio playing you crosses that ethical boundary. that is what happened in real life? >> not quite, no. i had no idea. i thought it was 100% legitimate. 100%. >> so the kind of pump and dump scheme, you basically inflate these penny stocks to be something that they're not in reality. people pump in loads of cash and it all gets dumped and they lose their money. >> right. but the brokers aren't really in on that. like when i walked in my first day, i came from a willibig fir. it was all legitimate. now it's lower-priced stocks. to me i'm on the phone pitching i'm just selling another stock. i had no idea there was anything wrong with it at all. >> when did you realize it wasn't what it seemed? >> about a month or two in i totally got what was going on. >> that is the ethical moment for you when you crossed the line? >> there was a series of
moments. that was the first moment where i allowed greed to get best of me. because i immediately said to myself, and in the movie my wife says aren't you tired of losing people money? my first wife. but in reality i said that to her. i'm sick and tired. i can't take this anymore. part of the reason is why i opened up my own firm i thought i could do a better job at it, get legitimate companies and do a whole different thing. that was really one of the reasonsy opened up my own firm. >> when it became this big firm, stratten, and you were making millions and millions, how much of it do you think looking back on it -- be completely honest here because you have been about many things -- how much of it was legal and how much of it was illegal? >> i would say 90% was legal in terms of the day-to-day operations. 95 probably. but the 5% was incredibly destructive and disgusting and poisoned everything else. >> and you knew that was all happening. >> absolutely, yes. not in the beginning. but again, it didn't happen all
at once. >> what happened? here's the fascinating thing about you. you had good parents who were very supportive. >> yes. >> all in your earlier life, you're an entrepreneur. you're buzzing around. selling paper, selling ice creams. you're on the beach. you're doing stuff. you're selling meat and stuff. it's all going great. and you're doing it all legitimately. and you come from good family and good background. there's nothing there that suggests criminality. >> right. >> what happened to jordan belfort? why did you become this arch criminal? >> well, i think that what happened was when you get into this section of wall street, there's a lot of rationalizing what you're doing. and i rationalized each of my actions one step at a time. and then one rationalization allows you to cross a line. and then you pull back doing things right again but your line of morality is moved. the next time you cross it it's a bit further and a bit further. how did gfc happen, all these people that went to ivy league schools in the biggest firms and rating agencies, how could people who have degrees in
economics and stepping documents. >> what's the easy answer? >> they didn't lose their soul at once, they did a little bit here, a little push there. >> did you lose your soul completely? >> you know, i think that's hard to say. because i think i got to a point in my life where i was probably about as awful as a person as i was capable of being and still walking around. and i felt at the time. and to say i was able to thankfully get back to the person my parents sent out into the world, that was another journey to itself. but i think that question how did it happen with the gfc. are all those people on wall street criminal? their hearts bad? one little step at a time. >> are you surprised more people in wall street haven't gone to prison since the financial crash that we all went through? >> yeah. i'm a little bit surprised. but i understand why they haven't. i think it's very difficult for the u.s. attorney's office to make these cases. a lot of the props were are
cane. part of it the relationship between wall street and the government. people in wall street went to the government and changed laws that allowed loopholes to exist for people on wall street to jump through and make money. so it was sort of the legality. so it's on that line. >> you were ordered to paper $110.4 million for a victim compensation fund. as of now you've paid back how much? >> about 12. >> about 12 million. do you have any expectation or hope you'll ever get to pay them all back? >> listen, i think this movie, for that is an amazing thing. i'm giving 100% of all the profits from the movie and both books. and the books is really -- >> you are compelled to give, unless i'm wrong, 50% of all your gross earnings straight to paying back. >> no that's not right. >> was that of the case? >> yes, when ways on probation. >> now you're off probation you're no longer compelled to legally. >> not legally. >> are you continuing to do that? >> i'm giving 100% of both books, everything, and the movie. and you can't say how much it's
going to be. who knows how many copies a book will sell in 15, 20 years. but i think it will be many, many millions of dollars. i'm really happy about that. >> when i asked you earlier about shame, you sort of dodged that. you said you didn't really feel shame. but there are real people, many many people, thousands, tens of thousands, who lost a lot of of money if not everything to your company and to you. >> that's not true, though. >> why is that not true? >> because we were calling rich people. we were not calling poor. >> peter springsteel, an architect in misty, connecticut, lost half his life savings. dr. alfred vitt dentist lost -- one ed sheering told the telegraph newspaper this "his depiction in the movie is annoying and disturbing because it makes him more into a mythical figure and skips the reality of what he was about. what he was about was harming people financially". >> i think the movie clearly
paints that picture. >> that's accurate, isn't it? >> what? i'm the first person to admit that. you said 1993 what did i say? i said yeah, that year -- you picked probably the highlight of what i consider myself to be the most depraved year of my life. >> that's why i'm surprised you would then say you don't think thousands of people lost their money. >> you said life savings. >> some of them did, right? >> i don't know anyone who lost their life savings. i'm not saying that makes it right. but let's just be accurate here. >> how do you feel about these people? >> i think it's awful. >> losing a lot of money in some cases having their lives completely turned upside down? >> i think it's terrible. >> on a human level, have you ever met any of them? have you ever met one of your victims? >> i have not. >> why not? >> no one has sought me out. >> why haven't you sought them out? >> i don't want to intrude in anybody's life. >> come on, jordan. that's a copout. >> no, it's not. i don't think it's appropriate to seek my victims out. >> would it be part of your self-redemption to actually track some of these people down? we know some of their names, what they're saying about you. if you actually called them up
and said i actually would like to talk to you. i would like to apologize personally to you what happened. >> i never really considered it before. but i think a better way for me is over the next 15 years as i go around the world and continue to speak and do my stuff, all the money that flows in, i think actions speaks louder than words. i think by doing what i'm doing here by turning over 100% of the profits is probably the most genuine thing i could do. >> see, in a way, what you're doing now -- i don't mean this to be too cynical. you're doing the right thing as best you probably can. what i would say to you if i was being critical is, you're kind of talking about it still as a financial thing to be resolved financially, that you can deal with this with money, in the same way that over time you could make money out of these people. it was all money. it wasn't really about human beings. i suppose my question to you would be when i read out these names these are real people really who have suffered personally badly. >> right. >> have you ever seen them as human beings? or is part of the issue with the kind of culture that we see in the movie that actually in the end you become sort of
dehumanized? >> i think that's a very good point you're bringing up. i think that one of the ways i allowed myself to do that was to sort of take a step back and they become account numbers and names versus people. and yeah, i think that's a problem with again what happens on wall street sometimes. not with everybody, but it's a possibility. but if you think that's how i feel now, then you're completely don't know what is in my heart. because honestly, i feel terrible about what happened. you asked if i had shame. back then, yes. now, no, i'm not going to live my life in shame. i think that's a toxic emotion. i live with remorse. that means guy out and i do things actively to make up for the wrong that i committed in the past. and i think that is for me and i think for most people who made mistakes -- we've all made mistakes. obviously i made really big ones and done really great things as well. so i try daily to right the wrong i committed. that's the best i can do. >> if i found a few of your victims, would you come and see them? >> if you found them? well yeah, sure i would. yeah. you want me back on your show
again? is that what you're saying? >> possibly. i think it would be a very interesting meeting. >> go check the ratings first. >> i find it fascinating that you have never met any of them. >> i haven't. >> and it's never crossed your mind to. >> no. and it's not that i would be against it at all, in fact. and it's funny. one thing i said to my fiancee who's an amazing lady. and most ethical lady from a great family. and i said to her, when some of this stuff saying that people lost their life savings which i know is just not true. i said i would love if someone really lost their life savings because of me, i would like to meet that person. >> what about somebody losing half their life savings like the guy i read out, peter springsteel? he exists. he's an architect in connecticut. >> that's why all this money is going into the fund. that's what i'm paying -- >> does it make a difference if he lost all or half his life safings? >> i think it makes a big deal. if you take an old person who has no money, take all their money, i'm not saying what i did is right. what i did is wrong and disgusting as well. >> what do your parents think of it all? >> my parents? >> yeah.
>> you know, i think i'm fortunate that i have amazing parents who love me unconditionally. i know my mom is one of the most ethical people in the world. she went back to law school at 65. she does pro bono work, lawyer of the year in her 70s. >> what does she say to you? when it all unravelled and the reality of what had been going on? >> she said we love you and we support you. we're here to help you pick up the pieces of your live an get back on track and they were. >> what else did she say to you? >> no judgment. >> no criticism? >> i think she knew i was hard enough on myself at that point i didn't need her to criticize me. >> your father? what did he say? >> similar. >> let's take a short break. when we come back i want to talk about the crash of you, the firm, the feds coming in. we saw it all in dramatic play out on the movie. but also you in turn rat and end up being wire tapped and squealing on your friend and they all go to prison.
some of them, steve madden, do more time than you do. i want to get your reaction to all that after the break. here we honor the proud thaccomplishmentsss. of our students and alumni. people like, maria salazar, an executive director at american red cross. or garlin smith, video account director at yahoo. and for every garlin, thousands more are hired by hundreds of top companies. each expanding the influence of our proud university of phoenix network. that's right, university of phoenix. enroll now. we've got a frame waiting for you.
christ and i love making people rich. hello. >> leo dicaprio at the beginning of his career in "the wolf of wall street requesting the real life wolf is jordan belfort. more and more tweets pouring in aaron geiger smith who was a reuters journalist "interesting to watch belfort. he seems very on the edge of everything, honesty, intelligence, remorse. leo played it well" that would be my take on you, you've always done everything to tremendous excess if you like. now you're in a very different place in your life. and yet you probably still are wrestling slightly with some of these issues? would that be fair to say? >> in what sense? >> how best to deal with the feelings you may have of the old jordan belfort? >> you know, i think for me, i'm at a place in my life right now where the business i'm in right now where i go around the world doing seminars and sales training and motivation and stuff like that, entrepreneurship, i know in my heart that what i'm doing is pure and it's great and it's
empowering. and i know so clearly the mistakes i made. i have it so defined the mistakes that really caused me to spiral out of control. so for me, i'm pretty at peace with me on an overall level. that being said, there's a deeper level of me that i don't think i'll ever truly be 100% at peace. i don't think i'm built that way. i'm always going to be a bit self-tortured, a bit insecure about myself. and i think most human beings are like that. and i think that there's a fallacy about me that i must have been always one way and always like on the ball. i wasn't. as a kid i wasn't that secure always. like any other person, in some ways i feel confident, otherwise not. i put on a brave face when i'm not. the thing i don't let happen, i don't let my fears stop me. i'm willing to move into uncomfortable situations. >> we're talking about uncomfortable situation. an incredible story. when you're on this super yacht that you bought and it starts to sink. but you've taken so many drugs, your own reaction is to basically save the drugs and you
get bailed out by the italian navy with friends and so on and get onto their boat and carrying on taking more drugs and partying. you almost die. then you hear your plane has crashed. everything spirals into madness. there's a memorable scene of leo dicaprio taking too many quaaludes and disintegrating before our eyes. >> that was incredible acting. >> do you remember that happen? >> oh, yeah. when i remember -- let's just say what i don't remember is the seven cars i hit. i thought i made it home without a scratch on my car. and then when the police came and arrested me, i went out to my car and it was smashed. we fainted. >> we laugh in the movie when we see these things. >> i know. it's a weird thing. >> the reality is you're very lucky to be afive. >> and i'm lucky i didn't kill someone else. >> when you got caught, what was the worst moment? was it the balloon going up, being arrested? was it the court case? was it going to prison? was it the first night in
prison? what was the absolute lowest moment for you? >> i think the lowest moment for me was not getting arrested. i was honestly somewhat relieved at that point. because i knew it was an investigation for years. my life had changed. i was owl ut of wall street but knew i had to pay the piper. somewhat of a relief. but then my marriage unwould very quickly after that. and the thought of losing my children and not being able to be with my children that, to me was the bottom. when the reality of having to move out of my house. >> you're portrayed in the movie as a pretty bad father. there have been reports of reports you were a pretty lousy husband as well. allegations of wife beating and so on. true? were you a bad husband? bad father? >> i know i was an amazing father. and i'm proud of that. so that's not true. >> always an amazing father? >> listen, i got sober when my daughter was three and my son was one. and even then before when i was
drugged out no one cowl be a great father. but i wasn't always drugged out. i think the one thing in the books far more than the movie is my love for my children came through very strongly. >> relationship with them right now? >> really really close. >> what do they think of the >> that's a good question. i took my son to the movie. he was 18. with my ex-wife together. we wanted to show him what was true. because i never punched my wife in the stomach. that was fictional. >> did you hit her at all? >> we had a struggle on the stairs. what happened was the context was very different. the time i hit her was the day i got sober, which is 17 years ago. we had a struggle on the stairs and i kicked out when she was trying to stop me. that's true with my daughter and the whole thing. but it didn't happen at the end. it happened in the middle of our relationship the day i got sober. >> i would say to you again playing devil's advocate when you say to me i was always a great father. kicking your kid's mother in front of them is not being a great father. >> like i said when i'm on drugs, though, you can't be very great. that's what i said to you. i qualified it. that moment was the highest i'd ever been in my life. i hadn't slept in probably two
months because of all the cocaine. so in that blip of course i said i was on drugs. but i got sober, that was the last day i ever did drugs. >> when you took your ex-wife and your son to the movie. you were about to finish that story. how did they feel? >> my children have seen me come back from jail and all that to build this new life. so my children are obviously proud of me and know me for the man i am today versus that person that they don't even remember because i got sober when they were still babies. >> and your ex-wife? what does she feel about it other than being portrayed by a fabulous actress? >> right. i think she's very happy for me that my life i was able to come back from that as well. and i think she looks back at it in perspective herself. that was a crazy time. and we didn't even know how crazy it was when it was happening. i can't speak for her, but again, it's this sort of little bit at a time and it seems like it's normal while it's happening. but we look back now
>> let's take a final break and come back and talk about this. this is a pen and i'm going to get you to sell it to me. as the movie says, you can sell a pen as well as anything else. so we'll find out whether you can sell me this little pen after the break. it says here that a woman's sex drive increases at the age of 80.
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which may cause kidney problems. if your pill isn't giving you the control you need ask your doctor about non-insulin victoza®. it's covered by most health plans. back now with the real life wolf of wall street. a tweet here, critical unanswered question, he reneged on a deal. what did he do that, if true? >> it's not true. it was fictionalized in the movie. when i gave that farewell speech, i said farewell and i left. and then i went out and my
partner then took over the firm. but in the movie, and i understand why the writer did it, having the movie in the backdrop is much more pleasing to everyone. >> on steve madden, he obviously ended up doing more time than you did, and you were responsible for that. did you feel guilt about all the people who went to prison because you basically wired yourself up and ratted on them? >> not steve madden at all. steve mad season a great guy and everything, because he didn't go to jail because of me. he was six other people he was doing the same. >> have you spoken to him since? >> i haven't. the reason he did more time than i did is he had issues in jail. >> you got less time because you ratted out others. how do you feel about that now? >> it's a good question. there's two sides to that coin, because the part of it that says, well, i'm supposed to do
the right thing and be an upstanding citizen and this crime is committed and i should help bring those people to justice. >> the other half is -- >> you're ratting out your friend. >> would you do the same again? >> the way i did that in the movie, i didn't rat out my friend. >> you ratted out the ones you didn't like very much. >> you're right, it was an incredibly tough, ethical dilemma i faced. in tend, the real agent, agent coleman, was an amazing guy. i have nothing but the highest respect and regard for him. he was really instrumental in helping me deal with that. >> no regrets? >> of course i have regrets about it. but i think -- i know i made the right decision morally and et cli. >> in tend, you're a salesman. here's a pen. in the movie, which see jordan sell a pen. sell me the pen. >> i'm going to meet you halfway
with this. when you sell someone to sell a pen, there's no context, because i don't know anything about you, i don't know what type of pens you use. so when you do this to a sales person, i would say, piers, how long have you been in the market for a pen? >> i've wanted a pen for three months. >> and what type of pens do you typically use? >> i like a nice, ease-to-use ballpoint pen. >> so the idea is that when you sell someone something, you need to be asking questions first to qualify, to find out what someone's needs are. the big think, this is the best pen in the world, it writes upside down, it's cheaper. if you do that, you sound like a moron. >> are you going to give me truthful answers? >> if you said, i don't use a pen. i said, will you be in the
market for the pen? i don't want to sell someone a pen that doesn't need a pen. so you ask questions. how often do you use a pen. so that's the way to do this correctly. otherwise, you're basically just jamming a pen down someone's throat. >> if there's one thing i learned tonight it's how to sell a pen. good to talk to you. >> my pleasure. [ doctor ] and in a clinical trial versus lipitor, crestor got more high-risk patients' bad cholesterol to a goal of under 100. way to go, crestor! yeah!
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♪ he was an unknown singer, whose youtube videos went viral. >> he pretty much became the first youtube sensation. the first megastar to launch from youtube. >> a teenage heartthrob whose songs made believers of his fans. until he topped the headlines with his bad behavior. >> you're a larger than life pop