this is "nightline." >> tonight, the blaze of tomi. >> i've been sigh linesed and sidelined. >> conserve tive firebrand tomi lahren in her first television interview since she said she was banned for expressing pro-choice opinions. >> stay out of my guns and stay out of my body as well. >> how she says she was locked out of social media accounts but is fighting back. >> i will not lay down and play dead. >> now suing for wrongful termination. does she have a case? plus clearing the air. >> the word shame comes to mind. >> an exclusive interview with the ceo of united airlines on the knockdown, drag-out flight fiasco that left a 69-year-old doctor bloodied and said to be traumatized. >> you said this will never happen again. what will you be doing to ensure
that promise? >> and new video of the moments leading up to the shocking altercation. >> oh my god. and jimmy has guillermo. johnny had ed. dave had paul. and another unlikely sidekick. tonight a look back at "the late show with david letterman" star who became so much more than just dave's mom. but first the "nightline 5." boost. it's about moving forward, not back. it's looking up, not down. it's being in motion. boost high protein. it's intelligent nutrition with 15 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. boost, the number one high-protein complete nutritional drink. i'm joy bauer. as a nutritionist i know probiotics can help. it's tough on your stomach's harsh environment and protects better than the leading
good evening. thank you for joining us. tonight we're hearing from conservative commentator tomi lahren, the first time on television since she was pulled from her popular online talk show. the host rose to notoriety with inflammatory no holds barred straight talk. now she says that same opinionated assertiveness has turned her employer against her. >> my job is my life. without that? i feel lost. >> reporter: emotional, introspective. this is a version of tomi lahren rarely seen. >> when your outlet is taken away from you and you don't understand why and you're so disappointed and so blind-sided by it, it hurts. >> reporter: a far cry from the brash confidence that made her a star. >> i'm getting pretty sick and tired of the failing mainstream media. your husband was a drug dealer.
it protects your right to be a whiny, indulgent, attention-seeking crybaby. >> reporter: a right-wing fire brand on glenn beck's "the blaze," lahren attracted millions with controversial and unapologetic critiques. >> take a moment to remember who president obama chose in 2008 but what difference does it make, right? >> reporter: all that unraveled after these comments on "the view" last month. >> i can't say i'm a hypocrite and say i'm for lower government but the government can say what to do with my body. stay out of my guns and stay out of my body as well. >> reporter: gas when she got back to dallas that the other shoe drop i was getting ready to do my show and got a phone call saying the show was not on. it had been suspended a week, perhaps longer. i was flabbergasted. >> reporter: lahren says the blaze suspended her and terminated her show because of her pro-choice statements, a claim the the blaze denies.
lahren is suing for wrongful termination. >> this is not about politics. this is about someone who had an opposing viewpoint that has been silenced and sidelined and thrown away. >> reporter: the 24-year-old inviting us into her home for her first televised appearance since appearing on "the view." clear things up, were you fired? suspended? >> i get up in the morning, i don't have a job to go to. i don't sit down in my chair and deliver my final thoughts. i don't have a dressing room. so i'm terminated. i'm fired. >> are they still paying you? >> yeah, they're still paying me. >> in my neighborhood, when you're fired, they stop paying you. >> the way i look at things i'm not doing what i was contracted to do, produce a television show, political talk show. i no longer get to do that. >> reporter: already she's paid through september when her contract is up, she wants out. saying in her suit, expressing her first amendment rights and her personal opinions about a woman's right to choose is not grounds for termination and beck and others embarked on a public smear campaign against lahren in a clear attempt to embarrass, humiliate, and undermine her.
you accuse not just the the blaze but glenn beck specifically of a public smear campaign. explain. >> after my appearance on "the view," it's a lot of commentary on twitter and other platforms but i wasn't allowed to respond to those, i was silenced. i have no problem with free speech, but free speech and silencing your opposition, boy, i have a problem with that. >> reporter: the lawsuit alleges the blaze incorporated stretched yellow caution tape spelling an x on plaintiff's office dressing room door. >> i'm someone with a thick skin. i can stand up to just about anybody. when someone does that? that's really hard for me to take in. >> you seem moved by that. >> i am. >> i see a crack in what is otherwise a very serious, tough demeanor. >> loyalty is everything to me. you can disagree with me, but to go out and try to humiliate me? very, very disappointed. >> reporter: perhaps worse for media personality with more than 4.2 million facebook followers, lahren also claims the blaze retains control of her page. >> you don't control your facebook page?
>> not anymore. >> i control my facebook page, why don't you control your facebook page? >> good question, that's what i want. that's my name, that's my picture. >> reporter: she's suing for the immediate return and complete access to her facebook and other social media accounts. >> the fundamental question is going to be is this her personal facebook page? in which case, they have no right to control it, make it go dark, change it. or is this a facebook page that is associated with the blaze? that's effectively owned and run by the blaze. >> reporter: on his channel glen beck insists that lahren's stance on abortion had nothing to do with her current status at the blaze. >> if you're pro-choice, you can have a job at the the blaze. i don't want strawmen. i want people to make a real argument on the other side. >> reporter: but takes issue with the justification for her beliefs. >> i would disagree that you're a hypocrite if you want limited
government and yet you want the government to protect life of the unborn. >> reporter: in a statement the the blaze saying it's puzzling an employee who remains under contract and is still being paid has sued us for being fired, especially when we continue to comply fully with the terms of our agreement with her." >> ivanka sent me that. >> reporter: "nightline" visited lahren in dallas last december. she was heading off for work at the the blaze. >> i got a cadillac because i'm american like that. i've had a lot of great opportunities that i have seized. i don't for one second think i didn't work my butt off to get where i am. >> reporter: at the time she seemed to be queen of the castle. in full control of her voice and her vision. >> three, two -- >> before you get your panties in a wad -- >> reporter: it had been a splashy year of polarizing standoffs for lahren. colin kaepernick. >> it's this country, the country that you have so much disdain for, that allows you the right to speak your mind. ♪
>> reporter: beyonce after a super bowl performance a seeming tribute to the black panthers. >> guess what, beyonce? white people like your music too. white people buy your songs on itunes, memorize your lyrics, admire your talent and beauty. >> reporter: that she made personal by going after the singer's husband. >> your husband was a drug dealer. for 14 years he sold crack cocaine. >> much of what you say i think could be described as provocative. do you mean it all? >> i mean it all. it's important to start a conversation. sometimes you need a kick in the pants to start that conversation and i'm happy to be that kick in the pants. >> you tweeted about black lives matter, meet the new kkk, which you later deleted. do you regret writing that? >> i deleted it. i know there's people that are going to disagree with some of the things that i say and that's okay. i'm not here to please everyone. >> but do you regret it? deleting it doesn't necessarily mean that you regretted it. >> i think sometimes you need a little more explanation than the characters that you're allowed on twitter. when i feel like something goes out there and it's more
inflammatory than i anticipated it to be or than i expected it to be i said, you know what, hey, i stand by my thought process behind and it i'd like to explain it further. >> please. >> but i deleted the tweet. >> what's the thought process behind it? for many people there's a long road to drive between black lives matter and the ku klux klan. >> byron, i'd love to have a show that i can discuss all these things with you, but i'm not going to get into those right now. >> reporter: with no show, with no control for social media presence, lahren has been pushed to the sidelines for the moment at least. >> sounds like you shed a tear or two over this. >> don't tell anyone, i'm supposed to be tough. i'm a human being at the end of the day. something has been stripped from me and that's my ability to work. that's my ability to have a voice. that's been taken from me. wrongfully. i'm upset by it and i'm hurt by it and i feel betrayed by it. >> reporter: don't count her out. >> i'm not the kind of girl that sit in the corner cries over
things. i don't consider myself a feminist but boy, i won't lay down and play dead ever. >> it's worth noting her lawyer sat in for that entire interview. the explosive interview the ceo of united airlines, who's to blame for that forceful passenger removal? soon as i lel after a dvt blood clot, i sure had a lot to think about. what about the people i care about? ...including this little girl. and what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital, but wondered, was this the best treatment for me? so i asked my doctor. and he recommended eliquis. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. yes, eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. both made me turn around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away
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the video of united airlines passenger bloody, screaming, and being dragged off a flight by security, has been seen by millions of people and one of them is the airline's ceo. tonight in an abc news exclusive, he tells us what he thought when he saw that shocking scene. and what he's doing to restore
united's reputation. here's abc's chief business technology and economics correspondent rebecca jarvis. >> reporter: it's the video that had the world buzzing for days. a united airlines passenger caught in a travel nightmare. >> come on, come on. >> reporter: dr. david dao visibly shaken as he's forcibly yanked out of his seat and then dragged down the aisle and off a united jet by law enforcement. after refusing to give up his seat. >> my god, look at what you did to him! >> reporter: the episode unleashing a pr crisis of epic proportions for united airlines. >> united airlines is in hot water tonight -- >> kicked off several passengers -- >> united better fasten its seat belt -- >> reporter: everyone asking, how could this have happened? >> it was a system failure. we have not provided our frontline supervisors and managers and individuals with the proper tools, policies,
procedures, that allow them to use their common sense. >> reporter: united ceo oscar munoz sat down with me for an exclusive interview. what did you think when you saw that video of a man being dragged off of one of your planes? >> probably the word shame comes to mind. when i think about our business and our people, the first thing i think is important to say is to apologize to dr. dao, his family, the passengers on that flight, our customers, our employees. that is not who our family at united is. >> this is what you would call a perfect storm of bad pr. you saw people saying that they were going to boycott united. you saw people protesting by lowering the stock price, by selling off their stock. you saw people tearing up frequent flyer cards. >> reporter: the incident started sunday evening when united flight 3411 was scheduled to leave chicago.
the destination, louisville, kentucky. after the passengers had boarded, the crew began to offer vouchers for a handful of seats. according to united, at the last minute, four crew members needed to be on that flight. which is why they decided to bump passengers who had already been seated. >> they told us that we would not leave until four people volunteered. >> no, i'm not going. i am not going. >> reporter: with no takers, a united computer picked four passengers, offering them $1,000, the airline says. all complied except for dao, a doctor who said he needed to get home to treat patients. drawing even more criticism, united's first response. munoz issuing an apology for reaccommodating passengers. and writing in an internal memo about the incident that dr. dao was disruptive and bridge gent. >> pretty clear right from the beginning they lacked the number one thing you need in crisis communications, and that is
empathy. >> why did it take until tuesday to offer a more full-hearted apology? >> i think my first reaction to most issues is to get the facts and circumstances. and the initial -- my initial words fell short of truly expressing what we were feeling. >> what do you say to those out there who believe that this is too little, too late? >> it is never too late, first of all, to do the right thing. again, as i said, my initial reaction to the process was to get facts and circumstances and my words failed. >> this is one of those cases where it was truly, truly, truly viral. and the public couldn't get enough of it. >> reporter: especially on social media. where the incident has quickly mushroomed into memes like these. some twitter users even trolling the airline with hash carry on, we carry off.
and, board as a doctor, leave as a patient. >> this is really fueled by the fact that most of us, particularly those who fly a lot, really don't like the flying experience and really don't like the airlines, for the most part. it's just not pleasant. >> reporter: making matters worse for united, this is just one among a stream of recent incidents where passengers say they were mistreated. last month two teens were asked to change clothes before boarding a flight from denver to minneapolis. >> we heard the gate agent say, these aren't my rules, i just enforce them. >> reporter: united says the girls were flying under its pass rider program where employee relatives and friends can fly for free or at heavily discounted prices. but that they have to obey a dress code. and in a "los angeles times" article today, united customer jeff burns said united threatened to place him in handcuffs last week if he didn't give up his first-class seat to a higher-priority passenger on an oversold flight.
he was given a seat in economy class. >> he said he was removed from a flight and told involuntarily that if he refused to deplane he would be put in handcuffs. this is still going on. >> i heard about that. so i don't know any of the details. but it's probably another good example why our policies need to be re-examined. >> i do think united will recover from this. i think if united doesn't look at this from top to bottom and say, what happened? how did this bite us in the butt? and how are we going to make sure this doesn't happen again? then they're not doing it right and they're setting themselves up to do it again. >> reporter: tonight the three officers who dragged dr. dao off the plane have been placed on administrative leave and munoz said united's policy would change. in the future, if no one voluntarily decides to leave a plane, based on the amount of money that united is offering -- >> we're not going to put a law enforcement official to take them off the airplane. >> a law enforcement official will never come on one of your
planes again? >> to remove a booked, paid, seating passenger. we can't do that. >> reporter: the airline has also said it will compensate all the passengers on the flight. as for dr. dao -- >> what do you think he deserves in all of this? >> certainly an apology. and from that point on, i think we'll have to see. >> do you think he's at fault in any way? >> no. he can't be. he was a paying passenger, sitting on our seat, in our aircraft. and no one should be treated that way. period. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm rebecca jarvis in chicago. next, celebrating some of our favorite late show with david letterman moments with dave's mom. ♪
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jimmy kimmel has dellermo. >> what? >> johnny carson had ed mcmahon. conan o'brien has andy richter. >> i just broke the couch. >> while david letterman had the trusted paul shaffer, he had one more secret weapon. >> never give a bookie your home phone number. >> no, never do that. >> his mom dorothy, who often appeared on letterman's "late show" and "late night," passed away at 85. she made her debut in 1986. audiences quickly fell in love with the talk show host's soft-spoken mother. >> did that just embarrass you to tears? >> no, dave. >> okay, good. >> letterman sending her to the winter olympics as a correspondent not once but three times. >> is there anything you or your husband can do about the speed limit in connecticut? >> an unlikely star unfazed by the limelight, dorothy's endearing ways were the ying to
letterman's goofy yang. >> the number one thing i have learned in my 84 years -- >> it's hard having a son who looks older than you. >> what? >> it was abraham lincoln who said, all that i am or hope to be i owe to my angel mother. for all of us who feel the same, amen. thank you for watching abc news, and as always, we're online at abcnews.com and our "nightline" facebook page. thanks for the company, america. good night. um yeah, i love coming up here. because it is beautiful. and uh, it helps put things into perspective, you know? from my point of view, a big thing is the gasoline that i use.