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tv   Nightline  ABC  June 26, 2018 12:37am-1:07am PDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, the real roseanne? >> and i never would have wittingly called any black person a -- say they are a monkey. i just wouldn't do that. >> a tearful apology from roseanne barr for the racist tweet that upended her career. in her first interview since the cancellation of her mega hit sitcom. can the comedian ever rehab her image? plus the road to equality. >> it's a historic moment for all ladies in the kingdom. >> meet the women driving change in saudi arabia. now jumping behind the wheel for the first time in history. the fight for freedoms in the kingdom that are still being denied. and freak on a leash? the not so pretty pooches mugging it up in the world's
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ugliest dog competition. so which of these messy mutts took home the title? but first here are the "nightline" 5. and number 1 is coming
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good evening. and we begin here tonight with the newly released and extremely raw and emotional interview with roseanne barr. it was record just days after
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she was fired from her hit abc sitcom after she sent out a racist tweet. tonight we sit down with the man who conducted the interview. does he think roseanne's apology is sincere? >> i should have known better. i should have not done it. and i caused a lot of pain, and i know that. and that's the worst feeling in the world. >> reporter: all it took to upend roseanne barr's career was this single racist tweet about the former obama white house adviser valerie jarrett. it read in part, "muslim brotherhood and planet of the apes had a baby equals vj." within hours her hit abc show "roseanne" was canceled and she found herself at the center of a major uproar. >> i horribly regret it. are you kidding? i've lost everything. and i said to god, i am willing to accept whatever consequences this brings because i know i've done wrong. >> reporter: in her first interview since sending that
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controversial tweet roseanne barr speaks openly with her friend the rabbi shmuley boteach. >> you understand why this caused a lot of pain? >> yes. i do. you know, it just makes me sick. that i did it and that it was taken that way. >> does any part of you think this is the beginning of some sort of pr campaign to come back? >> i can assure you that from my perspective, my interactions with her, it has not been that at all. >> reporter: this latest twist in the long public career of roseanne barr is a parable about the dee divides facing america, and it raises questions about whether a celebrity like barr can ever make a comeback after a scandal such as this. >> it's going to take a lot for roseanne to come back. but it does seem like at some point she does have the ability perhaps to make amends and come back but just not moodily. >> reporter: back in march roseanne had returned to abc after 21 years. the relaunch was one of the
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highest-rated shows on tv. a show seemingly made for this moment. >> no screens. >> reporter: roseanne's tv family, the conners, just like any family, complicated, funny, and politically diverse. >> what's up, deplorable? >> thank you for making america great again. >> reporter: but all the success and celebration disappeared with that one tweet. >> i apologize to anyone who thought that -- or felt offended and would thought that i meant something that i in fact did not mean. i didn't mean it's way they're saying i meant it. >> reporter: her remarks in the podcast follow various previous explanations by roseanne for her behavior. at first she blamed ambien. now she admits her comment was wrong but she denies that she is racist. >> i am not a racist. i'm an idiot. >> reporter: instead she claims
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that she was not aware that v valerie jarrett is african-american. >> i did not know she was a black woman. when abc called me and said what is the reason for your egregious racism, i said oh, my god, it is a form of racism. i guess that i didn't know she was black, and i'll cop to it. >> this is a woman who clearly watches a lost televisif lot of plugged into the news. does it make sense to you this would be the case? >> i can't see she would be lying to me. it's not as if she's saying i thought she as white and that itself is okay. she says that it efl is racism. i should have known that, i should not have made assumptions about skin color, about ethnicity, that itself is a form of prejudice. >> and i never would have wittingly called any black person a -- say they are a monkey. i just wouldn't do that. and i didn't do that. and if people think that i did that it just kills me. i didn't do that. >> reporter: she says her comment was misinterpreted and
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that her intention was to criticize jarrett and the obama administration for their policies on israel. >> i made clear in this podcast, and roseanne agreed, that amidst our policy disagreements with valerie jarrett she's a woman of phenomenal substance, phenomenal intelligence and i'm hoping, i don't know her, that she will accept this apology. >> reporter: rabbi shmuley says he recorded his interview with roseanne on may 31st, just two days after abc decided to cancel her show. this past weekend it was finally released publicly. >> we had decided to hold it. when she achieved a certain degree of comfort, and i think she was given the time for reflection and introspection and decided yes, this is what i want to say, that's when it was released. >> reporter: this is not the first time roseanne barr has been accused of writing a racist tweet. this is now deleted tweet. >> in 2013 another person who worked for barack obama she says, "susan rice is a man with
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big swinging ape balls." and this is an african-american woman. >> okay. then she needs to atone for that as well. she needs to repent for that as well. i can only speak to my experience with roseanne. i've known her for 20 years. >> roseanne's career has been built on raising eyebrows beginning with her stand-up act in 1980s which took a frank look at family life. >> this is her first appearance on national television. would you welcome roseanne barr? roseanne? >> reporter: she then got her big break on "the tonight show." >> i hate that word, housewife. i prefer to be called domestic goddess. >> reporter: that national exposure eventually led her to her own sitcom, where her character often freely spoke her mind. >> i put in eight hours a day at the factory and then i come home and put in another eight hours. >> reporter: but in recent years it's been her comments offscreen that have been getting the most attention. just recently in response to i apicture of former parkland student and activist davidh hog at the march for our lives rally roseanne tweeted to him nazi salute. the tweet was later deleted she
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apologized saying she had seen a doctored image. it was also this photo shoot in 2009 in the now defunct jewish satirical magazine "heeb" she was kritized as posing for be adolf hitler but she claimed she did it to raise awareness about continued genocide around the world. and though she came back from those controversies it's this most recent one that left many to wonder whether she can pull off yet another comeback. roseanne is embroid in the same kind of controversy in which other celebrities have found themselves after racist incidents like michael richards of "seinfeld" fame, seen here screaming at a fan in this tmz clip. >> michael richards dropped the n word at a comedy club when he got in a fight with somebody and it was recorded and his career was pretty much over the next day. >> shut up! 50 years ago we'd have you upside down with a [ bleep ] up your [ bleep ]. >> reporter: richards apologi
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apologized. celebrity chef paula deen was fired from the food network after she mitted to using the n word and making racist statements during a legal deposition. sxli want to apologize to everybody. >> reporter: deen tearfully apologized but her career has never really recovered. actor and director mel gibson went on an anti-semitic tirade to a jewish police officer during a traffic stop, cursing about jewish people and saying jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. >> mel gibson does have a career, but most of his career is stuff he creates himself. mel gibson's very lucky that he has hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank. so he can fund his own projects. >> reporter: unlike gibson, roseanne had a boss. abc. now the show bearing her name is moving on without her, rebooted next season as "the conners." >> i think roseanne should get some credit for allowing the spinoff show to go on and not keeping a financial stake in it when she created the original show. >> if this becomes another legacy hit, then who knows down
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the road if perhaps there is a forgiveness tour and suddenly roseanne barr comes back in a year or two? >> it's going to take a lot more than one interview with rabbi shmuley to turn her image around. it's one thing to come back. it's another thing to be whole. and it's hard to see her becoming whole again. next, the gearshift in saudi arabia. women now finally allowed to drive. and the other reforms that have been made in the kingdom. if you feel like you spend too much time in the bathroom with recurring constipation and belly pain talk to your doctor and say yesss! to linzess. ♪ yesss! linzess treats adults with ibs with constipation or chronic constipation. linzess can help relieve your belly pain, and lets you have more frequent and complete bowel movements. linzess is not a laxative. it works differently to help you get ahead of your recurring constipation and belly pain. do not give linzess to children less than 6,
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some simple yet moving images coming in tonight from saudi arabia. women getting behind the wheel after the country's long-standing ban against female drivers was lifted. the reform part of a campaign to modernize the kingdom. here's abc's terry moran. >> reporter: historic change in saudi arabia. women getting behind the wheel. >> for the first time driving on the northern ring road with everybody else. >> reporter: driving on the open road. it's a simple act that had been forbidden for decades. >> i'm excited. i'm so optimistic. and it's a historic moment for all ladies in the kingdom. >> reporter: and for karina boukari this moment is a kind of redemption. >> driving is like riding a bicycle and like swimming.
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>> reporter: she first learned to drive when she was a young adult living in canada but when she returned to saudi arabia that right was stripped away. >> significant change in their lifestyles by not being dependent on someone to take them places. so it's not only going to help women in the workforce but also will help them being more independent in their own lives. >> reporter: it's been a long road to reach this point. for years there have been protests and campaigning. but now in part to bolster saudi arabia's economy the government is allowing women to drive, hoping that more women will join the workforce. it's a move that could add as much as $90 billion to the saudi economy by 2030. and it's all part of this man's grand plan. the future king of saudi arabia, crown prince mohammed been salman, mbs as everyone calls him. earlier this year he struck out on a tour of the western world. >> it's a great honor to have the crown prince. >> reporter: meeting with president trump at the white house. >> thank you, mr. president. >> reporter: it's all a tremendous pr push to install
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what he called "pmoderate islam that is open to the world. saudi arabia, an ancient land rooted in tradition and bound by a strict all-encompassing interpretation of islam. but today this country is changing. >> reporter: last fall we traveled to saudi arabia to see the transition firsthand. at the time women were still banned from driving, but they were learning any way they could. >> this is a racetrack, and it's one of the only places where you'll see women driving. go-kar go-karts. >> you love driving. >> yes. >> reporter: out on the track, wadd shows me the ropes. a natural. she's been coming here ever since it opened. >> who won? >> you. >> i won. is there anybody among your family or friends who say waad, you should not drive? >> yes. my family and my friends. because --
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>> reporter: it's an incredibly young country. nearly 70% of saudis are under 30 years old. and on our trip everywhere we went the change was palpable. like this women's boxing class. >> go, go, go, go. >> reporter: the last thing i expected was to see saudi women boxing. >> hitting a bag or hitting pads or punching something makes you feel happy and empowered and strong. >> throw your left, bring it back to your face. >> reporter: hala al hamrani is the only female boxing and kickboxing trainer in the kingdom. >> what would you say to americans who have this stereotype about saudi arabia and the society, they think terror, they think oil? >> there's so much more to us and to saudis in saudi arabia than that.
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>> reporter: after her workout hala puts on her long abaya and her head scarf, still required dress for saudi women in public. >> mine is actually pretty colorful. >> it is. >> reporter: she tells us those bright colors were unheard of just a decade ago. so many rules, so much forbidden for so long. when we head to lunch, hala talks about the country's strict past. >> before it was scared of the religious police. like if you were sitting with someone who was your cousin -- >> a man. >> a man. and they're not your brother or father or whatever. they would actually -- they could jail you. >> reporter: at the restaurant we meet halea's sister dania. she's a filmmaker. >> i always say i was born with a camera in my hands. >> reporter: dania's just finished a documentary about saudi arabia. >> change is inevitable. >> there is nothing we have gone through that other nations have not gone through. >> we struggle with this idea of what and who is a saudi woman because it's not -- one thing
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doesn't tell that story. >> reporter: dania couldn't show her film in the country. twl no movie theaters allowed. in april saudi arabia opened its first cinema. the inaugural screening, "black panther." but not all are happy with the change. >> going into the grand mosque in the old city of riyadh. it's huge and hugely important. and hugely conservative. >> reporter: signs of the old saudi arabia still strong here. it's all men. no women are allowed. after prayers we tried to talk to people. >> would you like to change the greater freedoms for women? >> translator: there are changes that i like, but i'm opposed to the driving. >> reporter: it's clear saudi arabia is still nowhere near a free country. we should tell you, we are not free to go where we want in this country. our itineraries are preapproved by the government, and
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everywhere we go we have a minder with us, a guide. somebody who's probably spying on us and to be fair trying to keep us safe in a country where a lot of people don't like westerners. but remember, people we talk to are not free to speak. we're not free to go where we want. this is still a very repressive country. and then there is the war in yemen, their neighbors to the south. saudi arabia leading a bombing campaign blamed for much of the misery. privately, some people here hate the war. "our vietnam," one said. do you support this war in yemen? >> i'm not talking about political things. >> to be honest, i'm a little frustrated right now. it's really hard to get people to talk honestly about certain subjects. politics. as soon as you raise, it you hear our leadership is great, we trust them, there's no problem. it's a wall. there is so much tradition in this country. and that tradition is so
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powerful. ♪ and while women across saudi arabia are taking to the road, half a dozen high-profile female activists who fought for the right to drive still sit in jail, arrested last month on suspicion of undermining security. and although women are now permitted to drive, they're still not able to move around freely. women require the permission of a male guardian to go anywhere. >> it's one of the most challenging places. basically, as a woman your fate and your access to resources and opportunities very much dependent on the will of the man responsible for the family. >> reporter: but for now just being able to drive around the block is a small step in the right direction. for "nightline" i'm terry moran in saudi arabia. next here, the results of perhaps the most hilarious pageant on earth.
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finally here tonight, the winner of the 2018 ugliest dog competition. that's zsa zsa, a 9-year-old english bulldog with a tongue bigger than her bite. stealing hearts and the title of the 2018 world's ugliest dog. winning a $1,500 prize for her owner, megan, enough perhaps to buy zsa zsa some braces. the whole thing is slightly ridiculous, yes. but this is a pageant with a purpose. to raise awareness about pet adoption of all kinds. amen to that, i say.
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