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tv   Nightline  ABC  May 3, 2022 12:37am-1:06am PDT

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>> announcer: this is "nightline." tonight, scotus leak? an apparent supreme court draft opinion reportedly outlining justices' upcoming ruling against abortion rights. then, the tulsa race massacre. the last living survivors of one of the worst racial killings in american history. a significant step forward. the upcoming trial could set precedents for dozens of other cities considering reparations. >> you and the other survivors. >> mm-hmm. >> are pushing for payments. >> yes. whatever it takes to replace our loss. >> why some city leaders say this isn't the way. plus, glitz and glamour at the met gala. the big names turning heads on one of fashion's biggest nights. we meet the man behind the
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scenes creating the magic. anna wintour's secret weapon. >> i come from nothing. people like me don't get recognized for what i do. and remembering country music legend naomi judd. ♪ love can build a bridge ♪ >> known for her iconic hits with her daughter wynonna like "love can build a bridge." ♪ don't you think it's time ♪ >> announcer: "nightline" will be right back. it's time ♪ >> announcer: "nightline" will be right back.
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good evening. thank you for joining us. tonight, there is breaking news. a report that seems to show how the supreme court could eventually decide the fate of abortion rights in this country. already barricades have gone up outside the court and a large crowd has gathered. politico obtained an apparent draft of a supreme court opinion that is marked as a, quote, first draft and dated back in february that seems to show the conservative majority of justices preparing to overturn roe versus wade. this draft has not been independently confirmed by abc news, and the supreme court is not commenting yet. terry moran covers the supreme court for us. and terry joins us now. terry, what does all this mean? >> reporter: well, first, byron, what we don't know, as you
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mentioned, we don't know if this draft is authentic. abc news has not confirmed it. it looks to be, but we have not confirmed that. we also don't know -- and this is important. where this comes in the process. supreme court justices circulate a lot of drafts. sometimes votes can change. but the bottom line here is this apparent draft of an opinion in the case that could overturn roe versus wade does just that. justice samuel alito in this apparent draft writing for what looks to be a five-vote majority of the supreme court says bluntly, "we hold that roe must be overruled." then he goes on to say roe was egregiously wrong from the start. it is a full-on repudiation and overturning of roe versus wade. once again, we don't know if this is the way the opinion's going to turn out. but this is a stunning breach of supreme court confidentiality, of secrecy, of the traditions of the court, and one clearly designed to get a public reaction. it's a crisis for the court
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because the court's authority comes from the notion that those justices deliberate and come to a conclusion and they don't play politics, they don't play public opinion. but if this apparent draft opinion holds, all of roe versus wade will go and that means there will be no federal constitutional right to -- for a woman to choose an abortion. that issue will go back to the states. one by one. we will have a divided country where in some places women can get an abortion and in other places they'll be criminals. byron? >> terry, thank you so much for putting this moment in context for us tonight. terry will have much more on this tomorrow morning on "good morning america." now to the fight for justice more than 100 years in the making. earlier today a judge ruled that a lawsuit seeking reparations for survivors and descendants of the 1921 tulsa race massacre may proceed. the few precious survivors still alive are hoping to win this case before they die. we should warn you that some of the images in this report are
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disturbing. here's abc's senior national correspondent steve osunsami. >> my name is viola ford fletcher. 107 years old. and i lived in oklahoma, was born and raised here. >> reporter: she's the oldest living survivor of the tulsa race massacre and was just a child when she says the racists came tearing through her home and burned it to the ground. >> the parents, what was going on. all the shooting and killing and the fires and airplanes, people screaming, people lying on the streets bleeding. and someone came through the neighborhood saying that all the black people should get out of town, that the white people was killing everyone. >> reporter: in many households across this country people put a bit of respect on her name and call her mother fletcher. she turns 108 years old next
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week and still speaks clearly and plainly. in an interview with her attorney by her side she told us that she still wakes up in the middle of the night worried that someone is coming to take her home and her life. >> and we still have fear. >> reporter: to this day? >> yes. yes, sir. >> reporter: you're still afraid? >> yes. oh, sure. >> reporter: the long road to justice for the three living survivors of the tulsa race massacre led to this oklahoma courthouse, where today they took a small but important step forward. they're the most senior of senior citizens. lessie benington randall is 106. hughes van ellis is the young one, who's 101. and his older sister, mother fletcher. they are suing for compensation for the property, family and friends they lost when a mob of their white neighbors executed black americans here more than 100 years ago. is it safe to say you and the other survivors are pushing for
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payments? >> yes. whatever it takes to replace our loss. yes. >> reporter: in your lifetime. >> yes. while i'm living. >> reporter: they were praying the judge would say yes to their lawsuit, allowing them to go to trial. that was all that was being decided here. they're suing the city, the county board, the sheriff and other authorities. [ cheers and applause ] and in a victory today the judge did agree to move the case forward. >> i've seen so many survivors die in my 20-plus years working on this issue. i just don't want to see the last three die without justice. that's why the time is of the essence. ♪ >> reporter: the greenwood neighborhood in tulsa, oklahoma was the pride and joy of america's former slaves in 1921. the shops and businesses did so well they called it black wall
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street. >> black wall street is really a misnomer. i think a better moniker would be black main street because what really was here was a conglomeration of all manner of businesses. barbershops and beauty salons, movie theaters. doctors, lawyers, dentists. >> reporter: but there was resentment living on the other side of the railroad tracks that divided the city. in the white neighborhoods they liked to call greenwood little africa. the evening of may 30th was the beginning of the whitelash. that's when dick roland, a 19-year-old black shoeshiner, needed to use the so-called colored restroom downtown. it was on the top floor of the drexel building. and a young white woman named sarah paige was in charge of the elevator. >> we think as dick walked on the elevator he tripped, he automatically threw his hands out to break his fall, that he might have hooked his hand on sarah paige's dress, that it tore. she screamed and he ran out of the elevator. >> reporter: the word across town was that they were going to
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lynch this man. at the courthouse the white men with guns were soon met by a much smaller group of black men with guns. and then someone's gun went off. the law, they never held anyone responsible for killing as many as 300 black americans. today dr. tiffany crutcher, a lifelong tulsa resident, says her family is like so many others here who support the lawsuit. >> there's so much more, so much bigger than cash payments. we owned land. we owned property. we had airplanes. we had businesses. >> reporter: she says someone needs to pay them back for the generation of wealth that her family lost when their white neighbors burned down their homes and a popular barbecue business. >> i can't help but think about j.b. strafford and the amazing hotel that he built.
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a three-story hotel with chandeliers. and that was destroyed. it was decimated. and i think about who he could have become. i think about his family's generational wealth that was wiped away. he could have been the black marriott hotel. he could have been the black hyatt or the hilton. >> reporter: she says the most important demand in the lawsuit is a victims compensation fund for black families. the attorneys are arguing that the destruction of black homes and public executions of black people were allowed by authorities and that those authorities can now be sued under a state public nuisance law. it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars. and the attorneys say they're now preparing for discovery where they get to gather evidence to argue this case in civil court. but one of the people still fighting the lawsuit is tulsa's mayor. >> i am not opposed to cash payments to descendants and the victims. it's where the money comes from that for me is important.
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what i am opposed to is enriching and making millionaires out of trial lawyers at the expense of those victims and their families. and i'm also opposed to levying a tax on this generation of tulsans who are at no fault. >> reporter: he's the same mayor who was a hero in many black households here when he pushed for the forensic investigation into the old rumors that there were missing black bodies from the massacre buried in tulsa. today they are still pulling remains from tulsa's red dirt. the mayor says he's been hearing from concerned white families. >> accosted at a restaurant with my kids one time by a lady who said you're trying to make all the white people who lived in tulsa in 1921 look bad. and i said my family were white people who lived in tulsa in 1921. i'm not trying to make them look bad. but if your family were murdered, wouldn't you want to
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know what happened to them? >> reporter: but on the issue of reparations he's losing many of his new friends. >> i don't want to settle a lawsuit and have a property tax levied on this generation of tulsans to punish them for something they did not do. i don't think that that is an appropriate step. >> reporter: mother fletcher says that from where she sits you can't argue that you're trying to help, trying to point to a crime, and then refuse to deliver justice or any sort of compensation to the victims and their families. >> i have children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. and i really want this for the younger generation. something i wasn't able to do for them. >> reporter: she says she knows her time left is short. but even when she's gone, she wants this fight to continue. >> our thanks to steve. for an in-depth look at the tulsa race massacre be sure to check out the abc news podcast "tulsa's buried truth," available now wherever you get
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it's one of the hottest tickets in all of new york city. the star-studded met gala. an a-list exclusive. but behind the scenes an event planner to the stars that you've never heard of. with a personal story worthy of the spotlight. here's abc's janai norman. >> all the way down, vanessa! up top! up top! >> reporter: if it's the first
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monday in may, it must be time for the met gala. a star-studded event. a sea of famous faces and elaborate entrances. blake lively's quick change. lizzo playing the flute. and kim kardashian in a gown marilyn monroe wore 60 years ago. some celebrities followed the night's theme, in america an anthology of fashion. others going totally rogue. but just past the famous steps is the work of a lesser-known name making it all happen. director raul avila. his towering centerpieces like this gold statue of liberty flame just the tip of the iceberg. >> we have to design the tablecloth, furniture, the cushions, the carpets, vases and florals. walls, greenery. everything that we need to get this done. >> reporter: avila is one of fashion's most sought-after names, event designer to the stars. his work spans from runways to
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red carpets to awards shows around the world. >> i work for tory birch, michael kors, marc jacobs, tom ford, diane von furstenberg. we used to do the tonys. most of the galas in new york i'm responsible for. >> reporter: for the past 15 years he's worked alongside fashion icon and "vogue" editor-in-chief anna wintour to transform new york's metropolitan museum of art into floral masterpieces that match the night's theme. avila is the creative mind behind it all. >> this is one idea. and this is the other. >> that might be a bit much. >> reporter: the 2016 film "the first monday in may" showing how avila and wintour work together. >> i adore this lady because her power is endless and she helps people like me who had a dream and want to create something with your life.
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>> reporter: this is a woman who is pretty stoic. >> my advice is i would keep the bridge. i would definitely do the lilies. >> yeah, the pressure is huge. >> reporter: while wintour is the grand dame of the event, the met gala was created in 1948 by fashion publicist eleanor lambert to raise money for the museum's costume institute. today a single ticket costs $35,000. and an entire table up to 300,000. >> this is not just a gala. it's an experience. i want them to experience what goes behind this. and to me a spectacular table or designing the room. >> reporter: you've been known for, i mean, past masterpieces like a rose waterfall. and utilizing bamboo. how do you come up with these incredible ideas like that and then make sure you execute? >> i see a room and i immediately know what i'm going to do to that room. so i go with my gut. my first feeling. i don't change my mind back and forth. >> reporter: that kind of precision and decisiveness is
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crucial for the kinds of deadlines avila's under, whose team have just 16 hours to put up that gold flame to complement the gilded glamour-themed night. but avila's own roots are far from gilded. >> i grew up in colombia. it was not easy. you know, coming from a third world country. i never went to college. i had my high school diploma. i moved here very young. i honestly -- i mean, i get very emotional because i'm one of nine kids. my parents had nine kids. my mother died when i was very young. but my mother always told me not to be ashamed of who i was and not be ashamed of where i was coming from. >> reporter: avila also creates robert isabel, the late studio 54 director who also designed ten met galas, for mentoring him, but even more than that for believing in his potential. >> he was someone that taught me everything i know today.
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he really saw in me something that no one else saw it. and i start in his office just cleaning the floor, cleaning vases. >> and to sit here as a man who came to new york city and struggled and pursued your dreams, does that still feel surreal? >> of course. yeah. i mean, like i pinch myself every day. >> reporter: but tonight is certainly not a dream as the red carpet filled up with celebrities avila returned back to the steps a mere hours after completing his work inside. >> how do you feel? >> amazing. amazing. i was so nervous this morning because of the rain. >> reporter: and you took some time to relax? >> no. >> reporter: not yet. not yet. >> i was here until like 4:30, ran to my hotel and got ready. >> reporter: oh, my gosh. well, you look amazing. >> thank you. >> reporter: he's celebrating in a classic american designer tux. ralph lauren. the night's patriotic theme a particularly poignant one for
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avila. >> coming to america was the only place that i thought i could have my dreams come true. >> reporter: why was that? >> this. today. you know, people like us don't get recognized for your work because i come from nothing. i not only believe in dreams, and i live in it. >> reporter: every day. >> every day. >> our thanks to janai. when we come back, a tribute to country legend naomi judd. legen. gillette introduces the all new gillettelabs with exfoliating bar. a razor designed to give you a quick and easy shave. it combines shaving and gentle exfoliation into one efficient stroke. the bar in the handle removes unseen dirt and debris that gets in the way of the blades, giving you a shave as quick and easy as washing your face. so, you could look like you put in an effort, effortlessly. gillette.
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and finally tonight,
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honoring country music legend naomi judd. the half of the legendary mother-daughter duo known for their hits like "love can build and finally tonight, honoring country music legend naomi judd. the half of the legendary mother-daughter duo known for their hits like "love can build a bridge" died over the weekend after struggling for decades with depression. sunday night her daughters appeared on stage at the country music hall of fame to honor their mother. naomi judd was 76. and that's "nightline" for this evening. catch our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back here same time tomorrow. thanks for the company, america. good night.


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