tv 60 Minutes CBS March 24, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> pegasus is a powerful tool licensed by an israeli developer to governments all around the world. they can use it to track terrorists but also critics, possibly including jamal khashoggi. >> i can tell you very clear, we had nothing to do with this horrible murder. >> it's been reported that you yourself sold pegasus to the saudis for $55 million. >> don't believe newspapers. >> is that a denial? no? >> it's estimated that march
madness generated $10 billion in gambling last year -- yes, $10 billion, virtually all of it through illegal bookies or off-shore betting sites. here's one safe bet for this year's tournament, it will feature even more wagering as legalized gambling spreads from state to state across the country, easy for fans, complicated for university sports programs. >> got me a hn gun. >> as you might suspect, samuel l. jackson is a real character and not just in his movies. >> i got my eye on you. >> what's it like being married to sam jackson? >> oh, god, oh, god. >> do you watch your movies? >> yes, i do. >> you like seeing yourself on screen? >> i do. when i was doing theater in new york, i always wanted to see the play i was in with me in it. >> hard to do. >> yes, it is, very difficult. i always think, i can't stand the watch myself. really? that's [bleeped].
it's a watch-me business. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm andson cooper. >> i'm johner >> pelley: i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight, but first these headlines from special counsel robert mueller's investigation of russian interference in the 2016 election. late today, president trump was exonerated in a letter to congress from attorney general william barr. barr told congress that the nearly two year independent special counsel investigation determined that no one in the president's campaign colluded with the russian effort and, in attorney general barr's opinion, the evidence shows mr. trump did not interfere with the investigation. this past friday the special counsel delivered his report to attorney general barr. barr spent the weekend writing a summary for congress and the public. the summary contains these quotations from mueller's report: "the investigation did not establish that members of the
trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities." and, "the evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to russian election interference." in his 22 month investigation the special counsel charged 34 individuals including five former trump advisors plus his campaign chairman paul manafort. attorney general barr says he will release as much of the mueller report as possible after removing secret grand jury testimony as required by law. when it comes to so,type 2 diabetes,.. are you thinking about your heart? well, i'm managing my a1c, so i should be all set. right. actually, you're still at risk for a fatal heart attack or stroke. even if i'm taking heart medicine, like statins or blood thinners? yep! that's why i asked my doctor what else i could do...
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>> stahl: tonight, we'll take you inside the growing, shadowy global market of cyber espionage. we looked specifically at a controversial israeli company called the n.s.o. group, valued at nearly a billion dollars, that says it developed a hacking tool that can break into just about any smartphone on earth. n.s.o. licenses this software, called pegasus, to intelligence and law enforcement agencies worldwide, so they can infiltrate the encrypted phones and apps of criminals and terrorists. problem is, this same tool can also be deployed by a government to crush dissent. and so it is that pegasus has been linked to human rights abuses, unethical surveillance, and even to the notoriously brutal murder of the saudi
arabian critic jamal khashoggi. headquartered in the israeli city of herzliya, n.s.o. group operates in strict secrecy. but co-founder and c.e.o. shalev hulio has been forced out of the shadows, and not into a go light, accused of selling pegasus to saudi arabia despite its abysmal record on human rights. and the word is that you sold pegasus to them, and then they turned it around to get khashoggi. >> shalev hulio: khashoggi murder is horrible. really horrible. and therefore, when i first heard there are accusations that our technology been used on jamal khashoggi, or on his relatives, i started an immediate check about it. and i can tell you very clear, we had nothing to do with this horrible murder. >> stahl: it's been reported
that you yourself went to riyadh in saudi arabia, you yourself sold pegasus to the saudis for $55 million. >> hulio: don't believe newspapers. >> stahl: is that a denial? no? pegasus is so expensive because it lets authorities do what they long couldn't: break into smart- phones remotely, making everything in them completely visible-- all emails, contacts, and texts, new, old, encrypted or not. pegasus allows detectives and agents to track locations, listen in to and record conversations; basically turning the phone against its user. in the company's eight-year history, they have never let cameras in. but they wanted to show us they're like any high-tech company, with playstations and pilates. but there was a lot we couldn't show.
notice: no faces. the work is top secret, and some employees are ex-military intelligence and mossad. pegasus is such a sensitive spy-tool, n.s.o. has to get approval before it can be licensed to any client, let alone saudi arabia, from the israeli defense ministry, as though it's an arms deal. why would the government of israel want, you know, what seems to be an enemy, to have this technology? >> hulio: i'm not going to talk about specific customer. >> stahl: but can you say that you won't, and haven't, sold pegasus to a country that is known to violate human rights and imprison journalists and go after activists? >> hulio: i only say that we are selling pegasus in order to prevent crime and terror. >> stahl: penetrating an iphone was an issue in the terrorist
attack in san bernardino, california, in 2015. the f.b.i. said it couldn't get into the shooter's phone, and apple refused to help over privacy concerns, an issue that had come up before. >> hulio: intelligence agencies came to us and say, "we do have a problem. with the new smartphones-- we cannot longer get valuable intelligence." >> stahl: they were encrypted? >> hulio: yeah, exactly. >> stahl: how many lives do you think pegasus has saved? >> hulio: ten of thousands of people. >> stahl: really? >> hulio: yes. >> stahl: hulio referred us to the head of a western european intelligence agency, who, off- camera, confirmed that pegasus is a game-changer in foiling attacks by european jihadists, as well as shutting down drug and human trafficking rings. but here's the question: how often has pegasus also been used to go after a government's critics?
if you were in saudi arabia, you'd be in jail? >> ghanem almasarir: well, i don't think i would be in jail. i don't think anyone would find my body, like what jamal khashoggi has faced. >> stahl: ghanem almasarir is a saudi comic living in london, who has a popular youtube satire show that takes aim at crown prince mohammed bin salman. last year, as the regime was kidnapping, locking up, and torturing saudi dissidents, ghanem says he and other critics abroad got text messages like this fake d.h.l. notice that, if clicked, would download pegasus onto their phones, so they could be spied on. and you clicked on it? of course, yeah. 'sending me a packe?" now, pegasus is designed to catch terrorists. >> almasarir: so, who defines the terrorist? do you think i am a terrorist? do i look like a terrorist? i don't know what it-- >> stahl: i don't know what a terrorist looks like. >> almasarir: but, i mean, the
problem is, the saudis consider people asking for freedom for speech as terrorist. they consider anybody who is a threat to their regime is a terrorist. >> stahl: what do you do when your customer has a definition of "terrorist" that isn't our definition? in some countries, the opposition are-- are terrorists? >> hulio: no such thing. every customer that we sold has a very clear definition of what terrorism is. and it's basically bad guys doing bad things in order to kill innocent people, in order to change the political agenda. i never met with a customer that told me that oppositions are terrorists. >> stahl: well, they're not going to tell you. >> hulio: but if they will act like that-- they will not going to be a customer. there are more than 100 countries-- 100 countries that we will never sell our technologies to. >> ron deibert: the problem is,
there's there are not proper controls around how this technology is being used. >> stahl: ron deibert heads citizen lab, a human rights watchdog at the university of toronto where researchers, like computer scientist bill marczak, say they figured out a way to detect if a phone has been targeted by pegasus, which they did in the case of ghanem almasarir and other saudi dissidents. >> deibert: this technology is being used by autocratic dictators who can mount global cyber espionage operations simply by purchasing the technology. >> stahl: so you are saying that once they sell this technology, once the israelis sell it, they know how it's being used? >> bill marczak: well, the question is, "do they care to look?" i think if they cared to look, they would have the opportunity to see how it was being used. >> stahl: but shalev hulio says n.s.o. is unable to see who their clients are targeting. only after there's an allegation
of misuse can n.s.o. demand target-data in order to investigate. >> hulio: and i can tell you that in the last eight years that the company exist, we only had real three cases of misuse, three cases. out of thousands of cases of saving lives, three was a misuse. and those people or those organization that misuse the system, they are no longer a customer and they will never be a customer again. >> stahl: but citizen lab says it was able to find many more cases-- 25 in mexico alone, where pegasus was used to target political rivals, reporters, and civil rights lawyers. they also say they found the pegasus link on the phone of this human rights activist, ahmed mansoor, from the united arab emirates. >> tami shachar: i think that people that are not part of criminal or terrorist activities have nothing to worry about.
>> stahl: tami shachar, n.s.o.'s co-president, says pegasus is used with surgical precision. >> shachar: it's not mass surveillance technology. this is really for the bin ladens of the world. >> stahl: but the reason that your company has been criticized, and the reason that we're here doing this interview, is because countries have used your technology on human rights activists, on journalists. >> shachar: there are allegations that have been brought. there are reports that were said. and we take every such allegation very seriously. and we look into it. nothing has been proven. >> stahl: to protect against misuse, she says, n.s.o. has three layers of vetting potential customers: one by the israeli defense ministry; a second by its own business ethics committee; and thirdly... >> shachar: our contractual agreements have our customers
sign, that the only intended use of the system will be against terror and crime. >> stahl: oh, they sign? come on. you have an autocratic government, and they say, "oh, we're not going to use it except against criminals," and you just believe them? no, come on. >> shachar: as i said, the contractual agreement comes after two layers and-- you know, i would love for you to sit in one of our business ethics committee. we have a tough discussion because, imagine a country is facing major terrorist threats. at the same time, they have some corruption issues. and you have to sit in that room and weigh what is more important: to help them fight terror? or maybe there is a chance that it's going to be misused. it's not a black and white answer. it's a tough ethical question. >> stahl: there are other ethical questions in deploying pegasus. to hone in on a target, for instance, authorities often infect the phones of innocent people around them, like family members. it's been reported that mexican authorities used pegasus to
capture drug lord joaquin guzman, better known as el chapo, by tapping the phones of a few people he talked to while he was on the lam. >> hulio: i read it in the newspaper, the same as you. >> stahl: okay. >> hulio: in order to catch el chapo, for example, they had to intercept a journalist, an actress, and a lawyer. now by themselves, they-- you know, they are not criminals, right? >> stahl: right. >> hulio: but if they are in touch with a drug lord, and in order to catch them, you need to intercept them, that's a decision that intelligence agencies should get. what if you can prevent the 9/11 terror attack? and for that, you had to intercept the son, the 16-years- old son of bin laden? would that be legit or not? >> stahl: targeting someone's inner circle has become an issue in the khashoggi case. omar abdulaziz, an influential
saudi online critic based in canada, was texting with khashoggi up to his death. now, abdulaziz is suing n.s.o., alleging that the saudis used pegasus to hack his phone, and thereby spy on khashoggi. we asked shalev hulio if his investigation explored the wider circumference around the slain journalist. >> hulio: i can tell you that we've checked, and we have a lot of ways to check. and i can guarantee to you our technology was not used on jamal khashoggi or his relatives. >> stahl: or the dissidents? like omar abdulaziz and-- >> hulio: or the relatives. i'm not going to get into specific. i tell you that if we will figure out that somebody is misused the system, we will shut down the system immediately. we have the right to do it, and we have the technology to do it. >> stahl: it begs the question, did you shut down the saudis? >> hulio: i'm not going to talk
about customers, and i'm not going to go into specific. we do what we need to do. we help create a safer world. will it feel like the wheend of a journey?p working, or the beginning of something even better? when you prepare for retirement with pacific life, you can create a lifelong income... so you have the freedom to keep doing whatever is most meaningful to you. a reliable income that lets you retire, without retiring from life. that's the power of pacific. ask your financial professional about pacific life today. leave no man behind. or child. or other child. or their new friend. or your giant nephews and their giant dad.
madness brackets are already a mess, too. but here's one safe prediction for the 2019 n.c.a.a. basketball tournament that tipped off this week: it will feature more wagering than ever before. that's because last year, the supreme court overturned a federal law and ruled that it is up to the states to decide whether they want to legalize sports gambling. new jersey led the way, many more followed, and more are planning to soon. this shift will bring a windfall to bookmakers, sports leagues, and states' tax revenues. but at what cost? this is the first year of widely legalized sports gambling, but 2019 also marks another anniversary of the chicago black clutches of gambling mobsters threw the world series. it's a reminder that, you might say, there's no such thing as a free hunch. >> announcer: and away we go! >> announcer: parcell gives it up! >> wertheim: thursday's opening
day of march madness provided a feast for college basketball fans- 16 games in one day and another 16 on tap the next. >> announcer: the euro, major highlight! >> wertheim: super-teams, cinderellas, and nailbiting finishes. >> announcer: queen, corner three at the buzzer. airball! and auburn hangs on! >> wertheim: but for all the familiar trappings, this year brought a new wrinkle. >> bettor: hit it, baby. yeah! >> wertheim: on thursday, gamblers thronged fanduel's new jersey sportsbook-- think of a sports bar where you can bet on anything. people also put money down on total points scored, which highly-seeded team will lose soonest, even whether a team with a tiger mascot will make the final four. >> bettor: next is l.s.u. >> wertheim: some wagers were made with a clerk at a betting window. more were made on mobile phone apps, with just a tap and a swipe. and some of those bets were made on games as they were being
played. it's estimated that march madness generated $10 billion in gambling last year-- yes, $10 billion-- virtually all of it through illegal bookies or offshore websites. you have an event like the n.c.a.a. tournament, one of the most wagered-upon sports events of the year. you've got to think more money is going to be wagered this year than ever before. >> ryan rodenberg: the amount that we can measure will certainly be, be much larger. >> wertheim: ryan rodenberg is a law professor at florida state with a specialty in sports gambling. make like a bookmaker. set a line. by the end of the year, how many states have some form of legalized sports gambling? >> rodenberg: by the end of the year, there'll be 15 states that have some form of sports betting and probably a dozen more that have passed a law but just haven't put it into effect yet. >> wertheim: so by 2020, more than half the states will have some form of legalized sports gambling. >> rodenberg: yes. >> fanduel employee: $50. >> wertheim: and as legalized gambling spreads across the country, rodenberg says unpaid college athletes are ripe targets for unscrupulous bettors.
>> rodenberg: the typical situation, in terms of bribing someone to-- to shave some points, you just don't see that at that-- the-- the high level, professional level. but the one area where you do see it, and there's countless examples, is in college sports, particularly college basketball. >> mike hamrick: there's people that will do what they need to do to make a buck at the expense of an 18- or 19-year-old kid. >> wertheim: mike hamrick is athletic director at marshall university in west virginia, one of the first states to legalize sports gambling after the supreme court ruling. you can give your athletes tuition, scholarship, room and board, but you can't pay them. and someone comes along and says, "here's $1,000-- $2,000-- $5,000 to corrupt a game." they're susceptible, you're saying? >> hamrick: it's very tempting. it's very tempting. >> wertheim: it's not like gambling on sports hasn't existed before. why are you so nervous this year as opposed to last year? >> hamrick: it's right in front
of my face, jon. it's legal. hey, what's up, man? how're you doing? >> wertheim: hamrick made it clear that his worry is far from isolated. >> hamrick: and most athletic directors that i've spoken with feel the same way. it's like, "oh, no, it's here. what do i do?" >> wertheim: before coming to marshall, hamrick was athletic director at u.n.l.v., the university of nevada las vegas-- at the time, the one place in america where sports gambling was legal. right after he took the job there, hamrick went to a home basketball game. u.n.l.v. was winning by what he thought was a comfortable margin. >> hamrick: and the game was almost over. one of our players had a wide- open lay-up and didn't take it. and the game's over and the fans booed. and-- >> wertheim: the fans booed? >> hamrick: the fans booed. and my wife looked at me and said, "this is really going to be a difficult job. we beat this team as bad as we did, and the fans want us to beat them worse." and i said, "i don't know." and the guy beside me, who was with me at the game, said,
"that's not why the fans are unhappy. they're unhappy that if this young man would have made that lay-up, u.n.l.v. would have covered the point spread." so right then, i said to myself, "this is something we've got to keep an eye on." >> one, two, three, fitness. >> wertheim: by now, he's had to build an entire infrastructure, adding staff to monitor and protect his athletes. >> hamrick: they can be compromised. our job is to make sure they're not compromised. >> wertheim: how do you do that? >> hamrick: you educate them. you see a key player on your team driving a brand new car, you've got to find out where that car came from. >> hamrick: okay, guys, listen up. >> wertheim: it isn't just gamblers trying to pay off players that hamrick worries about; it's also gamblers seeking insider tip-offs from players and staff, particularly about injuries. that seems like a big challenge to keep those people from your players. >> hamrick: absolutely. and that little bit of information could make a big difference. i met with all our medical staff and absolutely no information is
out there on injury, period. you don't tell your-- your wives, you don't tell your brother-in-laws, you don't tell anybody. >> wertheim: but talk of injuries, and their impact on betting lines, is still everywhere. >> reporter: does the injury to vander esch change how you would bet on this? >> wertheim: you can't follow sports these days without hearing about picks... >> commentator: i'm all in on dallas. >> wertheim: ...and odds. and who's fit to play and who is not. >> scott van pelt: we hope everyone had a lovely thanksgiving, of wagering. >> wertheim: it hasn't happened overnight, but gambling, long seen as a vice best kept at arm's length, is now embraced in popular culture. >> i love gambling. >> it's the best! >> wertheim: ryan rodenberg, the law professor, stresses that this ige thinto do with sports gambling. for decades, it was, "this could corrupt our product, this is going to pollute competition, and we can't have this." >> rodenberg: exactly. and that was the consistent message that-- that they said,
both in court and on capitol hill, that they needed to keep sports betting illegal. >> employee: you want the spread or the money line? >> wertheim: but as soon as the supreme court freed states to legalize sports betting last may, the pro leagues immediately reversed course. in sports terms, they transitioned from defense to offense. >> mgm resorts will be the n.b.a.'s first official gaming partner. >> wertheim: within months of the ruling, the n.b.a., major league baseball, and the national hockey league all made deals with mgm, and the n.f.l. partnered up with ceasars palace. >> joe asher: it's amazing how quickly the landscape has shifted. i'm joe. >> wertheim: joe asher is the u.s. c.e.o. of william hill, a british-based company that runs the biggest sports gambling operation in nevada, and aspires to do the same in every state that legalizes. >> asher: it was about 15 years ago when the city of las vegas wanted to buy advertising on the super bowl. and that commercial was turned down. so, to go from that to having
the oakland raiders moving to las vegas in a stadium that's right behind mandalay bay is just a stunning shift. >> fan: high fives everywhere! ( laughs ) >> wertheim: no surprise. it's a shift driven by dollars. recent research by the american gaming association found that, perhaps contrary to stereotype, today's sports gamblers tend to be younger, and wealthier and better educated than the population at large. n.b.a. commissioner adam silver was one of the first leaders in mainstream sports to see the economic opportunity. >> adam silver: the data is clear-- that if somebody has a bet on a game, even a small bet, they're much more likely to engage in that match. they're much more likely to watch it. they're more likely to watch it for more minutes. they're more likely to be interested in the participants and to follow the sport. so there's no doubt there's a business component to this. >> wertheim: a huge part of that business will be what's called in-play wagering-- hundreds of options to bet during games.
>> silver: when you and i were kids, people bet an hour before the game or whenever, and then waited for many hours for the game to be over. now, people are betting constantly throughout a sports match. they're betting on quarter scores. they're betting on the-- the amount of points a particular player will have in a quarter. in some cases, they're betting on free throws. >> wertheim: want to know where legalized sports gambling in america is headed? look to professional soccer in great britain and europe, where in-play betting has been stitched into the fabric of that culture for years. >> rodenberg: over there, the in-game, real-time betting, which is all technology enhanced, that's what the big deal is. >> asher: in europe, it's about 50%. and-- and here, clearly it's growing rapidly, and i think it'll continue to grow. >> bettor: i want... kansas. >> wertheim: and in this brave new betting world, adam silver claims that legal gambling is much more likely to be on the up-and-up than the old way with the neighborhood bookie.
make your case. why does legalized sports gambling-- why-- why do you think that decreases risk of corruption, not increases it? >> silver: i think it decreases risk dramatically because we have access to the betting information. i think when you have an underground business operating in the shadows, you have no idea what people are betting on your own events. >> rodenberg: because of technology, you can essentially get a fingerprint for every bet that's placed. you can detect unusual and unnatural line movements, bets. >> wertheim: that technology can facilitate betting, but it can also facilitate detection. >> rodenberg: absolutely. >> wertheim: the proponents of legalized gambling say, "listen, moving this into the sunlight is going to decrease risk, not increase it." you don't buy that? >> hamrick: i don't buy that. no. >> wertheim: why are they wrong? >> hamrick: it's gambling. it can be handled to a certain extent. but nobody can sit here and tell you that they can deal with this and be 100% clean.
can't-- they can't. >> wertheim: that's at least partly because technology makes gambling much more accessible to many more people. in states where mobile betting is allowed, up to three-quarters of all wagers are now made on phones. just download an app-- which, by the way, can detect whether you're within state lines-- and start betting. so you're even sitting in the crowd at a marshall basketball game. take out your phone and you can bet on the game you are watching? >> hamrick: absolutely. >> wertheim: and the fact that people will bet on every detail of every game presents mike hamrick with one more reason to worry about how gamblers could corrupt college athletics: >> hamrick: if you were an 18-, 19-year-old person from a difficult background, and you didn't have a lot, and someone put their arm around you and said "hey, you know, don't want marshall to lose tonight, but, you know, if it gets late in the game and it's two touchdowns, you miss a tackle.
drop a pass, fumble." that can happen. >> wertheim: that must scare the hell out of you. >> hamrick: it does. it does. >> wertheim: it scares hamrick enough that he's giving the names of every one of his players and employees to every west virginia casino and gambling operator, to ensure that his people abide by the n.c.a.a. rules prohibiting any sports betting. >> f.b.i. agent: now that it's legal, what it did for you is put pressure on you as an athlete. >> wertheim: hamrick also regularly invites f.b.i. agents to come to campus and speak to his athletes. >> f.b.i. agent: don't get involved. walk away. >> hamrick: they have to understand that if they get tied up with the wrong people, there are bad things that can happen. >> wertheim: scare straight? >> hamrick: well, i... i don't want to sit here and tell you we're going to try to scare our student athletes into not gambling-- but we are.
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>> kroft: if you feel like you are seeing a lot of samuel l. jackson lately, it's not your imagination. he seems to be everywhere. there are the credit card commercials, the movie trailers, not to mention a hundred or so of his films circulating on cable tv. he's been around for a long time, and as you might suspect is quite a character. someone we thought would be fun to hang out with. if you know him only from his films, there are things in this story that will probably surprise you. he spent 15 years on the stage in new york and didn't become a movie star until his mid-40s.
he's been with the same woman, also a distinguished actor, for nearly 50 years. and the movies he's been in have grossed more money than any other actors' films in the history of hollywood. and nobody likes to watch them more than he does. do you watch your movies? >> samuel l. jackson: yes, i do. >> kroft: you like seeing yourself on screen. >> jackson: i do. i used to, you know, when i was doing theater in new york, i always wanted to see the play i was in, with me in it. >> kroft: hard to do. >> jackson: yeah, it is, very difficult. so this was perfect for me. i, i get to watch my performances. i always think that, "oh, i can't stand to watch myself," is like some ( bleep ). and so it's like, "really? it's a "watch me" business. and if you can't watch it, why should people pay $13.50 to watch you do it? >> kroft: at age 70, when most a-list actors find it hard to get work, samuel l. jackson is very much in demand.
he has two movies out right now, "glass" and "captain marvel," that have already grossed more than a billion dollars. his career has allowed him to be all sorts of different people-- a bounty hunter, a computer engineer at jurassic park, a >> i ain't going nowhere. >> a jedi master. and a bible-quoting hitman in "pulp fiction," all the while stealing scenes and sometimes entire movies, while garnering critical acclaim. >> jackson: well, i got nominated for an academy award. but like i tell people, you know, winning or losing an academy award doesn't do a lot toward moving the comma on your check. >> kroft: what moves the comma on your check? >> jackson: butts in seats. selling tickets.
>> kroft: right. >> jackson: if you're in a movie and nobody goes to see it, it's like, "yeah, academy award winner." no, i don't want to see that. you know, you go-- you go to movies because people do exciting movies, or you like the characters that they do. >> kroft: first and foremost, sam jackson is a performer-- an entertainer in real life and on the screen. he creates memorable characters: strong, opinionated, sometimes scary people, often with a wicked sense of humor. it's more than a persona or a brand-- it's almost a whole genre: raw, honest, and credible. >> jackson: i like to play characters that express themselves verbally, so i'm always looking to tell people who i am, and not specifically just show them. >> kroft: and that's just a natural quality? is that sam jackson? >> jackson: i think it is. i don't necessarily care about whether i'm liked or not. and i think i've found interesting ways of making bad
guys, guys that people like. >> kroft: how do you do that? >> jackson: you try and keep people as human as you possibly can keep them, until they have to do the thing that they have to do. >> kroft: and that's your genre? >> jackson: i hope so. >> kroft: he grew up in chattanooga, tennessee, not far from the walnut street bridge. his grandmother told him stories about black people being lynched there. >> jackson: we used to ride our bicycles down this hill. third street. >> kroft: it was the totally segregated jim crow south. everywhere he went and everyone he knew was black-- his neighborhood, his schools, his teachers. and the experience still colors his life. >> jackson: so, i grew up in this world, which is the street world-- all these kids whose parents were domestics or worked in a-- what was known as the "chicken house," where they killed chickens and packaged chickens and stuff like that. there were a mixture of kids who were in and out of reform school. we came from a place that was
kind of well-versed in learning to live life as it came at you. >> kroft: he was raised by his grandparents-- a janitor and a housemaid who had a strong work ethic. his mother, who held down a secure, well-paying government job in washington, d.c., was a constant presence in his life, spending summers, holidays and some weekends with him, helping him navigate the world as a young black man. >> jackson: you knew what the rules were. when people got ready to do stuff that was going to get them sent to jail, i just went home. i understood. my mom said, "we're not getting you out of jail. if you get arrested, don't call me." i had a greater fear of the people that i lived with, who provided for me, than i did of being your friend, and hanging out with you, and doing something stupid that's going get me in trouble. >> kroft: sam jackson was an excellent student, and in 1966, went off to study biology at morehouse college, the alma
mater of martin luther king jr. a historically black college in atlanta, which was one of the headquarters of the civil rights movement. like many young people in the 1960s, he discovered his rebellious side on campus. he became heavily involved in the civil rights movement and protested against the vietnam war. >> kroft: did you consider yourself to be a radical when you were here? >> jackson: no. >> kroft: i mean, you got thrown out for occupying the president's office, didn't you? >> jackson: yeah, but-- >> kroft: that's pretty involved. >> jackson: that was just one day in a life, you know? >> kroft: after being chastened by his mother for getting in trouble and hanging out with the wrong people, jackson returned to morehouse two years later, having decided that biology required too much math, and dramatic arts was much more fun. >> kroft: this is where you did your first work? >> jackson: yes. this is where it all started. it was one of the first times during my college experience i was anxious to get up and be somewhere. >> kroft: still the same? >> jackson: oh, totally. yes.
i mean, going to a rehearsal, or going to work, or being on a movie set is my favorite thing to do. >> kroft: but probably the most significant thing to happen to sam jackson in atlanta was meeting latanya richardson, a talented fellow student actor at spelman college. she found him flamboyant, self- involved and emotionally detached. but she may have been the first to appreciate his potential. they have been together for 48 years, and latanya richardson jackson is currently starring on broadway in "to kill a mockingbird." what's it like being married to sam jackson? >> latanya richardson jackson: oh god, oh god. it's a ride. it's been a ride. it's fun. it's sad. it's happy. it's creative. it's a conversation. >> kroft: i hope so. 48 years is a long time. >> richardson jackson: yeah, it is.
mixed with a lot of amnesia. >> kroft: they would spend 15 years in new york as struggling stage actors, raising a daughter, zoe, and keeping company with a small community of other struggling black actors that included denzel washington, morgan freeman, laurence fishburne, and wesley snipes. >> jackson: we would go and watch each other work. we partied together. when you weren't working, everybody at the same unemployment office pretty much, so you see each other on mondays at unemployment. >> kroft: by 1990, jackson was an established new york actor, having played memorable characters in three spike lee movies, including "do the right thing." >> i have today's forecast for you-- hot! >> kroft: but personally his life was a mess. you had a-- some drug and alcohol issues. >> jackson: they weren't issues till the end. >> kroft: what do you mean, "the end?"
>> jackson: you know, i wasn't managing it as well as i used to. that's when they were issues. before that, it was just life, you know, i drank, i smoked. i got high. you know, it wasn't in the way of my life, in that way, or i didn't think it was. >> kroft: he was going to work, taking his daughter to school, and making enough money to develop a taste for cocaine. and he went all in. >> kroft: did it reach addiction stage? >> jackson: yes. well, you know, it's hard to smoke cocaine and not get addicted. smoking cocaine will bring you to your knees pretty quick. >> kroft: it ended one night on the kitchen floor. >> jackson: i bought the cocaine. i went home. i cooked it. and when i woke up, latanya was standing over me. and i was passed out on the floor. i never got to smoke it. and the next day i was in rehab. >> kroft: did you go to rehab because you wanted to, or needed to, or because latanya told you you had to? >> jackson: you know, i didn't go kicking and screaming. i was tired, you know? >> kroft: could you have done it without her? >> jackson: i credit her because she could have just taken zoe
and walked out and been done with me. but she didn't. that's a greater love than i will ever know. because i don't know that i would've done that. >> kroft: do you think latanya saved your life? >> jackson: yes, yes. no doubt. >> kroft: you don't seem emotionally detached now. >> jackson: am i crying? >> kroft: no. >> jackson: oh, okay. good. >> kroft: he said you saved his life. >> richardson jackson: no, i didn't. he saved his life. he and god saved his life. i have no... saving, healing power. i was just there. >> kroft: in any event, it changed jackson's life, and his career. while he was in rehab, he got a call from spike lee, offering him the role of drug addict gator purify in "jungle fever." >> jackson: so i'm at rehab.
and-- you know, the call comes. told me, "jungle fever-- you're playing a crackhead." i was like, okay, good, doing the research. i'm right here. so i'm ready to do it. and that was it. and that's what opened the door. that's what got me into hollywood. yo! >> kroft: the role won jackson a special award at the cannes film festival for best supporting actor. >> jackson: and gator became this cathartic kind of thing for me. it was basically killing off who i was, who i had been, that allowed me to free myself to go and do these other things. those other things take up ten pages on the movie site i.m.d.b., a half a dozen films with quentin tarantino, the "avengers," three "star wars" films, and scores of lesser features in which he was better than the material. and besides scary eyes, he has a facility for language,
especially profanity. obscenities roll off his tongue like shakespeare from olivier. even if you bleep the words. >> kroft: what's your favorite line? >> jackson: i like the, "say what again?" line or, "do they speak english in 'what'?" >> what country you from? >> what? >> what about it no country i ever heard of. >> what? english, [bleeped], do you speak >> kroft: do you think it's the line, or the way you say it? >> jackson: i think-- there's a wrong way to say everything, and i think i found ways to say things right that make people remember them or resonate in the correct way. >> kroft: directors praise his preparation, professionalism and work ethic, and almost always give him wide berth with his performance. but he's not always entirely flexible. >> kroft: so if a director wants you to do something you don't think would be good for you or good for the film, you won't do it. >> jackson: no, pretty much.
>> kroft: they understand that when they hire you? >> jackson: some people think that they could overcome it. that, you know, we come to a compromise, you know, and they go, "look, i get what you're doing, and i understand it, but can we try this other thing one, one time?" "no, we can't, because if i do it one time and it's on film, when you go to the editing room, that's the thing you like, that's the first thing you're going to look at, not the giing at i did. so let's just not do what you want to do." so you don't have that option. >> kroft: his mantra has always been, what does the audience want to see? and then he tries to give it to them. >> jackson: that's what i was taught when i was doing theater. that, when you come on stage, you want to light it up to the point that, when you leave, people want to go with you. and i hope that's who i am when i show up. >> behind the interview. >> you okay? >> i have eight pages of stuff. i am not that interesting.
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captioning funded by cbs and ford. w go further, so you can. captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org - previously on "god friended me"... - we couldn't be prouder of your nomination for bishop. - during the walkabouts, you'll be meeting and answering questions with parishioners, but there are sensitive topics you want to pivot away from if they come up. - you mean my son who is an atheist and my daughter who is gay. - i did it. five years ago, simon hayes goes to a new york presbyterian hospital for a bone marrow transplant, right? turns out the surgeon who did the procedure-- john dove. - are you okay? - i think you just saved my life. - how did your meeting with freeverse go? - they want exclusivity. - well, i write about the people we help, not the god account. that's the deal. nothing's changed. i got invited to lunch with the editor-in-chief at "catapult." - i figured out where you were getting your stories, but what i can't figure out is why you're not writing who's behind the god account.