In This Episode
- Contrary to what he told his supporters, former President Donald Trump was not arrested on Tuesday — though most observers seem to agree that he’ll be indicted soon over a 2016 hush money scheme involving adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
- A Fox News producer filed a pair of lawsuits against the network. She alleges that she was coerced into giving misleading testimony in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against the company, and that she faced discrimination and sexism as a staffer.
- And in headlines: at least nine people were killed after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan and Pakistan, the 12th atmospheric river storm system of the year slammed California, and TikTok is banning some deepfakes.
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
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Erin Ryan: It’s Wednesday, March 22nd. I’m Erin Ryan.
Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver. And this is What A Day, where we’re just hearing the explosive Vanderpump Rules midseason trailer will not be eligible for next year’s Oscars. And I’m distraught.
Erin Ryan: Vanderpump Rules is like Boyhood involving a whole constellation of human beings, and we’re not rewarding it accordingly. Come on.
Juanita Tolliver: The production alone, when I tell you, crews wrapped on the season and then turned the cameras back on to capture these moments we’re about to see. So please give them their due. [laughter] [music break] On today’s show, the two candidates for Wisconsin’s Supreme Court sparred in their first and only debate. Plus, if you spent your childhood dreaming of living in a Barbie dream house like me, there’s a competition show in the works just for us.
Erin Ryan: I’m here for it. But first, steel barricades had gone up around the Manhattan Criminal courthouse and the U.S. Capitol. Protesters and counterprotesters had posted up from Trump Tower to Mar-a-Lago and every national publication had its Donald Trump indicted banner headline ready for the next morning’s front page. Except Tuesday came and went and there was no indictment, no perp walk, no booking photo, no tiny fingerprints. A lot of people with news cameras did a lot of standing around. This after the former president posted to social media this weekend that he would be arrested on Tuesday. Like many Donald Trump enterprises, the big blockbuster arrest the former president claimed would happen did not deliver.
Juanita Tolliver: Erin, when I tell you I don’t trust a single thing Donald Trump types with his tiny fingers lol and post on the on Al Gore’s internet no less. [laughter] Like I don’t believe it but if you, if you can’t trust a rumor started on Truth Social, what can you trust?
Erin Ryan: That’s a great question. The whole thing basically was a nothing burger. Even the pro-Trump protesters were outnumbered by media and counterprotesters in the most high profile locations. There was a bomb threat called into the Manhattan courthouse, which delayed proceedings for a short time on Tuesday. But that also turned out to be fake. And speaking of Truth Social, the president’s proprietary social media platform was rejecting all new users for a while on Tuesday after a TikTok video. I’m being totally serious here. A TikTok video encouraging people to join the site and mess with trending topics went viral. New users swarmed the site and got a Ron DeSantis 2024 related hashtag to the top of Truth Social’s Trending Topics List. On what was supposed to be Trump’s special day. The site responded by blocking people from joining it.
Juanita Tolliver: One, the kids the TikTok crew. They’re all right and I’m here for it. Come on with the, the digital activism. I’m ready for more. But this also seems like it’s bad for business for a website that’s primary business model is on attracting more users. So they’re blocking people straight up?
Erin Ryan: Yeah. Yeah. One would think that would be bad business. But as his long career of failure has shown, Donald Trump is bad at business. Tuesday’s lull gave the usual suspects a full additional day to gear up for the indictment. Most observers seem to think is coming sooner rather than later. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has claimed that Congress will investigate. Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg will make the call over any criminal charges. The Republican heads of three different committees are on the case.
Juanita Tolliver: Okay, this is a message for Kev and all these Republican heads of committee. You can’t do anything to DA Braggs, plain and simple. This isn’t federal dollars that he’s working with in his Manhattan District Attorney’s office. So relax. And number two, Kevin McCarthy just couldn’t wait to do more of Trump’s bidding, could he?
Erin Ryan: Yeah. Well, here’s the thing. Republican elected officials believe that their constituents are stupid. They do.
Juanita Tolliver: Point blank.
Erin Ryan: They truly do. I mean, this this is a great example of them believing that their constituents don’t know how things work. But, you know, even Mike Pence decided to hang in there with Trump saying that Americans don’t want to see him indicted. Probable 2024 Republican presidential contender Ron DeSantis has been walking the tightrope where he calls the investigation bad without expressly defending Trump, implying in a statement that Bragg’s pursuit of charges was a form of, quote, “weaponizing the office of DA”.
Juanita Tolliver: Look, DeSantis dipped his toe into the world of messy mess, right like because his other statement was he didn’t know exactly what went into paying off a porn star. Right. Like. Like he tried it, but I need him to commit. You can’t just half ass these types of attacks with someone like Trump. But what happens now?
Erin Ryan: Yeah, well Juanita, I’m just going to say real quick that you can always tell when someone who’s never seen Paris is Burning attempts shade.
Juanita Tolliver: Oop! Name it. [laughter]
Erin Ryan: Because it’s never good. Good try, Ron. But you know, it needs a little work. We’ll have to wait and–
Juanita Tolliver: Do better.
Erin Ryan: Yeah seriously. Do better in many, many ways. Um. We’ll have to wait and see what happens this week, maybe even later today when the grand jury reconvenes to find out whether Trump will actually be charged or if this is our generation’s Waiting for Godot.
Juanita Tolliver: Look, honestly, I keep telling people this is a big deal for a potential first indictment, but it’s not the only source for indictments. Let’s not get tunnel vision here because we know Georgia’s coming out with some potential Rico charges. We know the DOJ has two active investigations and a grand jury going. So a lot more is coming. And my only request is that they coordinate their calendars. Erin, it will be magical if we just had one day of indictments for Trump.
Erin Ryan: I think it would actually be magical if they tried to fake that he was they were going to indict him in New York and then they indicted him in Georgia, inconveniencing him the most possible. But you know.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m into it.
Erin Ryan: Yeah, we’ll see. We’ll see.
Juanita Tolliver: We shall. And moving from Trump to his fave TV network, FOX not actually news was hit with multiple lawsuits on Monday from Abby Grossberg, a booking producer for Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo and primetime host Tucker Carlson. She alleges that she faced discrimination and sexism as a staffer and that lawyers for the network coached and coerced her into making misleading statements when she was deposed in December for the Dominion voting systems, $1.6 billion dollar defamation lawsuit against the company. So is this the part where I feign surprise? Do I fake being shocked because this is what, is 100% unsurprising.
Erin Ryan: Yeah, no, this is super unsurprising. It’s like all of the rats running off of the ship and–
Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] Not the rodents.
Erin Ryan: –and suing each other on their way off for infesting the ship in the first place. So what’s included in these lawsuits?
Juanita Tolliver: All right. So Grossberg filed two lawsuits, one in Delaware’s Superior Court and one in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Her court filings allege that she faced discrimination as a woman at Fox and that she was, quote, “overworked, undervalued, denied opportunities for promotion and subjected to vile, sexist stereotypes.” She also claims, get this, that when she first started working for Tucker Carlson last fall, she found the office plastered with large images of none other than Nancy Pelosi, quote, “in a plunging bathing suit revealing her cleavage.” This is fucking weird. It’s horrifying. Oh, my God.
Erin Ryan: Okay. Just real quick not to get too Freudian here, but I think that left leaning women who conservative guys want to sleep with enrage them more than any other left leaning person. I’m just going to leave–
Juanita Tolliver: C’mon.
Erin Ryan: I’m just gonna leave that there. I think there’s some stuff going on that maybe people should have worked–
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Erin Ryan: –through before it became part of their career. Second um, quote, “overworked, undervalued, denied opportunities for promotion.” Isn’t that kind of the agenda of Fox, a country where that is–
Juanita Tolliver: Girl.
Erin Ryan: –like totally fine? Like, it’s, oh, we want to live in a country where it’s okay to subject women to, quote, “vile, sexist stereotypes.” That’s literally what they’re trying to promote. Yep.
Juanita Tolliver: Grossberg suit also alleges that Carlson’s production staff, quote, “Their distaste and disdain for women infiltrated almost every workday decision.”.
Erin Ryan: What?
Juanita Tolliver: I mean, that tracks and I’m talking about more than just Tucker’s disgusting segments, but also the sexual harassment lawsuits in 2016 that forced out Roger Ailes and others.
Erin Ryan: All I can say is gasp, gasp.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Erin Ryan: I can’t believe it. Right?
Juanita Tolliver: But the big explosive part regarding the deposition preparations, Grossberg claims that Fox lawyers, quote, “were displeased with her for being too candid” and they took extra time to make sure she got her stories straight and in line with Fox’s position. She also claims that the lawyers instructed her to be vague and say, I do not recall by giving these types of answers Grossberg says she put herself at risk of committing perjury while, quote, “subtly shifting all responsibility for the alleged defamation against Dominion onto her shoulders and by implication, those of her trusted female colleague, Ms. Bartiromo, rather than the mostly male higher ups at Fox News.”
Erin Ryan: You know what? I’ve heard a story like this before when they blamed a woman for something a man did. It took place–
Juanita Tolliver: Blame, blame the women.
Erin Ryan: Yeah. The Garden of Eden. This is very Garden of Eden to me.
Juanita Tolliver: Girl. She said we going to the Book of Genesis. [laughter]
Erin Ryan: Okay, so how is Fox reacting to all of this?
Juanita Tolliver: You know, they’re being petty. So a Fox spokesperson stated that the lawsuits were, quote, “baseless” and, quote, “filed following a critical performance review”, clearly trying to dismiss Grossberg as a disgruntled employee. And they promptly placed Grossberg on administrative leave after she filed her lawsuits. The network also filed a lawsuit against Grossberg on Monday seeking a restraining order to prevent her from divulging privileged information that is said would cause the network to, quote, “suffer immediate, irreparable harm.” But by yesterday, Fox dropped that lawsuit.
Erin Ryan: Okay. In all of my career of being disgruntled with employers, I have never been like, let’s prolong this relationship [laughter] by engaging them in a legal proceeding that will stretch for months or perhaps years, it seems like that’s not–
Juanita Tolliver: I mean, but but, Erin, the one thing that I I glean from this is this a ultimate cover your ass move because she said she might have committed perjury.
Erin Ryan: Right.
Juanita Tolliver: Like that’s the only thing I can think of.
Erin Ryan: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: That’s the only thing.
Erin Ryan: Yeah, that’s the only thing I can think of. But also, like, you know, that gif where it’s like, let them fight. That’s kind of how I feel about this whole thing.
Juanita Tolliver: True.
Erin Ryan: Let them fight. How does all this tie back to the Dominion defamation case against Fox News and Fox Corporation?
Juanita Tolliver: Well, according to reports by The Washington Post, a summary judgment hearing in Delaware’s Superior Court yesterday, Judge Eric Davis, the same judge overseeing the Dominion defamation case seemed to allude to Grossberg’s suits when he referenced a new lawsuit that was, quote, “related enough to this case that they assigned it to me”. And I want to emphasize the phrase summary judgment, because both Fox entities and Dominion are arguing that this case doesn’t even need to go to a jury trial. According to Dominion, the stacks and stacks of evidence are absolutely clear that they were defamed. And according to Fox, the First Amendment covers everything they do, so they should be off the hook. Nonetheless, it’s not that clear cut since the hearing ran for 7 hours yesterday and will pick up again this morning at 9:30 Eastern. One other thing to keep an eye out for is how parent company, Fox Corporation, will be involved in this lawsuit because they’re arguing that they have next to no editorial control over Fox News and that they should be absolved. Judge Davis could take his time in ruling on the summary judgment motions, but the clock is ticking. Jury selection is scheduled to begin April 13th and the trial is scheduled to begin April 17. That’s the latest for now. And we’ll bring you more updates on all of this messy mess very soon.
Erin Ryan: Can’t get enough of it. Love it. Love the mess. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines.
Erin Ryan: At least nine people were killed after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan and Pakistan Tuesday evening local time. The quake was centered in a remote mountainous region in northeast Afghanistan, but the shaking was reportedly felt as far away as India’s capital territory, Delhi. Afghanistan, like other countries in Central Asia, is prone to strong earthquakes. More than 1000 people were killed in a 5.9 magnitude quake that struck there last June.
Juanita Tolliver: California was slammed with more rain and snow yesterday. This is now the 12th atmospheric river system to reach the Golden State this year, as many communities are still reeling from flooding and other damage from earlier storms. And meteorologists said the San Francisco Bay area got an unusual dose of weather misery Tuesday morning after a pair of low pressure systems that were orbiting themselves made landfall there, whipping up hurricane force wind gusts. My goodness can California get a break?
Erin Ryan: I mean, what’s the point of being here if the weather is going to be bad? I mean, come on. Anyway, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by a quarter point today in what experts say will be one of the central bank’s most consequential decisions under Chair Jerome Powell’s leadership. Officials kicked off their two day meeting yesterday to discuss the ongoing fight against inflation, how to steer the banking sector out of crisis and restore confidence following the recent failures of Silicon Valley Bank and others. Doesn’t sound like a fun meeting. But–
Juanita Tolliver: Not at all.
Erin Ryan: Oh my God. Worst meeting ever. And I hate meetings. But in some hopeful-ish news, a number of economists, including former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, say the drama unfolding in the financial sector shouldn’t sidetrack the Fed from tackling inflation. I’m just going to say, as a person who was working in the financial sector in 2008. Economists get stuff wrong a lot. So I don’t know–
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Erin Ryan: –that that gives me a ton of confidence, but I hope that he’s right.
Juanita Tolliver: The two candidates vying for the open seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court faced each other in their first and only debate yesterday. Republican Daniel Kelly went head to head with Democrat Janet Protasiewicz over the state’s near-total abortion ban. The law, which originally dates back to the 19th century, is currently facing a fierce legal challenge and is expected to wind up before the state’s Supreme Court. So whoever wins the April 4th election will have the final say in whether that law stays on the books. While neither candidate directly indicated how they would vote on the matter, Protasiewicz did point out her opponent’s open support for anti-abortion advocacy groups. I mean, if you needed more information, there you go. The race has already become the most expensive judicial election in American history, as both sides have shelled out a combined $30 million dollars in advertising so far.
Erin Ryan: I gotta say as a Wisconsin native I, Badgers, I need you to come through. Come through on April 4th. It is a–
Juanita Tolliver: Turnout and vote y’all.
Erin Ryan: –really, really important election. There is a new TikTok trend and it’s called getting your act together before getting grilled [laughter] by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. That’s a long trend. Can that fit behind a single hashtag?
Juanita Tolliver: Hashtag.
Erin Ryan: TikTok announced new changes to its community guidelines yesterday in an effort to clean house just days before its CEO is set to testify before Congress. Most of the changes are general updates to the app’s existing content moderation strategy. But one of the major changes includes restrictions on A.I. generated deepfakes. Basically, you can still make a deepfake of, say, Donald Trump running at top speed, even though, you know, that’s pretty unbelievable. But you know–
Juanita Tolliver: That man don’t run.
Erin Ryan: I could, golf carts are his top speed. But deepfakes of private individuals won’t be allowed after the new guidelines take effect on April 21st. TikTok and its Chinese owned parent company is currently under fire from many Western nations amid concerns about cybersecurity and misinformation on the video sharing app.
Juanita Tolliver: Warner Brothers is rolling out the pink carpet for some good old fashioned cross network promotion for their upcoming summer release, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie Movie. HGTV has ordered a four episode series called Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge, in which eight teams of HGTV superstars will completely renovate a Southern California home to resemble the iconic Barbie Dream House, complete with the Pink Corvette. If you can’t tell, I’m very excited about this. [laughter] The network previously did a similar branded renovation series in 2019, buying and remodeling The Brady Bunch home to resemble its television counterpart. As to whether Barbie and Ken played in the movie by Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling will show up themselves, the details are still being ironed out, but one lucky Barbie fan will get the chance to stay overnight at Barbie’s dream house at the conclusion of the renovation and I volunteer as tribute as a former Barbie Dream House owner with the Corvette. I need to be in this house.
Erin Ryan: Oh, my gosh. Um. How much would that Barbie dream house fetch if you tried to sell it now during this like, upswing in real estate value.
Juanita Tolliver: Girl. I said former. One, but two. At least. At least 2.5.
Erin Ryan: Oh, okay. [laughter] Okay, I’d buy that. Um. Okay. Apart from the Barbie Dream house Juanita, if you could live in any fictional characters home, which one would it be and why?
Juanita Tolliver: Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. I just watched Nancy Meyers’ Something Got to Give. Diane Keaton’s beach house. One beach access, two, did you see that kitchen? Three, fresh paint job. She just had it done. Like she’s amazing. She’s fabulous and thriving. What about you, Erin?
Erin Ryan: Mmm. That is a really good pick. The Nancy Meyers kitchen is unparalleled, but I would personally pick the Full House house. First of all.
Juanita Tolliver: Okay.
Erin Ryan: Yeah. Location because it’s in San Francisco.
Juanita Tolliver: San Fran, right.
Erin Ryan: And it’s right on a park. Beautiful old Victorian, great bones. I would flip it.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh. [laughter] She said this is not a fixer upper. This is going back to market for that two five. No, she’s like ten five–
Erin Ryan: Exactly.
Juanita Tolliver: For the Full House house. [laughter]
Erin Ryan: Exactly. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads to ask what did Gwyneth Paltrow do now?
Juanita Tolliver: Girl? What didn’t she do?
Erin Ryan: She didn’t eat. [laughter] [music break].
Erin Ryan: It’s Wednesday, WAD squad. And today we’re doing a segment where we visit the last place where justice can be served in America, a place where the law is administered by people with no legal experience apart from knowing parts of Legally Blond by heart. A place called the Podcasters Court. [gavel sound] Juanita. I’m going to tell you about a recent weird thing that’s happening in our nation’s courts, and you evaluate it on its merits based on your amateur legal expertise. Are you ready?
Juanita Tolliver: It’s bend and snap time. Let’s do it. I’m so ready.
Erin Ryan: Exactly. We’re in the era of Jennifer Coolidge, so it is always bend and snap time.
Juanita Tolliver: Period.
Erin Ryan: Yesterday was the first day in court for the retired optometrist who is suing Gwyneth Goop Paltrow for a 2016 collision at an upscale ski resort in Park City, Utah. 76 year old Terry Sanderson, who is seeking $300,000 for damages, claims Paltrow crashed into him from behind before fleeing the scene with her ski instructor, leaving him with a brain injury, four broken ribs–
Juanita Tolliver: Oh my God.
Erin Ryan: And emotional distress. On the other side, Paltrow’s team is arguing that Sanderson was the one to collide with her from behind and has since concocted a story to take advantage of the actress’s fame and wealth. For context, and I just learned this today because I’ve never been downhill skiing in my life. On ski slopes, whoever is downhill has the right of way. Ergo all the business of who was behind whom. Paltrow seeks $1 in damages, plus her attorney’s fees, and the two appeared in court in Park City yesterday to argue their cases. So with all this in mind, Juanita, if you could sue Gwyneth Paltrow for damages, for one thing, a goop shot, if you will.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh, goodness.
Erin Ryan: What would it, yeah. What would it be?
Juanita Tolliver: I mean, easy peasy. I would sue Gwyneth Paltrow for promoting eating disorders because what the fuck? Like, it’s it’s so low, but it’s typical. It’s the Goop brand, but it’s harmful, especially when Gwyneth Paltrow is someone wrapped in privilege, wrapped in coins to have a full medical team ready and available any time when she keels over from only having coffee for breakfast. This is not for the regular people. But that’s my thoughts. Erin, what would you sue her for?
Erin Ryan: I think I would sue her not for money, but for time. I wish she could just compensate me for the time that I was watching the movie Up in the Air. [laughter]
Juanita Tolliver: Let me, I’ll confess. I ain’t never seen it. But–
Erin Ryan: It wasn’t good.
Juanita Tolliver: I trust you.
Erin Ryan: It wasn’t good. There’s a lot of celebrities who I would sue for wasting my time. Some of them have made documentary series that should be eight parts long, but they’re like 12 parts long. Some of them have made series that should have been movies.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh, my Gosh.
Erin Ryan: Yeah I think–
Juanita Tolliver: It’s giving Maxine Waters reclaiming my time.
Erin Ryan: I am reclaiming my time. And I, I request compensation for the time that I watched that bad movie. That was the podcasters court. [gavel sound] This court is adjourned. [music break] That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, file that GOOP suit and tell your friends to listen.
Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just the mortgage for your average Barbie dream house like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Juanita Tolliver.
Erin Ryan: I’m Erin Ryan.
[spoken together] And please let us live in Barbie’s dream house.
Erin Ryan: Oh, my gosh. I want to live–
Juanita Tolliver: Oh, my God.
Erin Ryan: –there too.
Juanita Tolliver: Please.
Erin Ryan: I want to live there too.
Juanita Tolliver: Somebody call me to judge this show.
Erin Ryan: Juanita.
Juanita Tolliver: I I want to be there.
Erin Ryan: Juanita, I’m on a part of Instagram that is all like Barbie nostalgia. And it’s just like–
Juanita Tolliver: Oh my God.
Erin Ryan: Remember this doll? Remember this one? And I like will spend minutes and minutes being like, Yes, I remember this.
Juanita Tolliver: Okay.
Erin Ryan: I remember that. I’ll send you some stuff after we–
Juanita Tolliver: Send me the at.
Erin Ryan: I will.
Juanita Tolliver: Immediately.
Erin Ryan: 100%. [laughter] [music break] What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jocey Coffman and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.