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All Ears with Abigail Disney
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All Ears with Abigail Disney

Author: Abigail Disney

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With the 2020 election as the backdrop for Season 2 of All Ears, Abby is excited to talk with people she considers "good troublemakers"...people whose work pushes back with imagination and courage against the status quo. We'll be intertwining big ideas and personal stories about gender, class, and race, and how we can take action to make changes in our cultural and political landscape.
16 Episodes
All Ears is kicking off Season 2 with comedian Samantha Bee. As the host of Full Frontal on TBS since 2016, and as a correspondent on The Daily Show for 12 years prior, Sam has been skewering politicians, culture, and society’s sacred cows for the better part of two decades. And she’s really good at it! Abby talks to Sam about growing up in Canada with a Wiccan mom, an atheist dad, and a serious schoolgirl crush on Jesus. Sam describes her journey from pre-law student to comedian, and how the platform of late night news satire became the new face of journalism in modern American politics. Along the way Sam developed a spine of steel, her own show, and a sense of responsibility to tell underreported stories and collaborate with show staffers who represent diverse racial, economic, and gender viewpoints. Did we mention she’s funny? Yeah, that too!Full Frontal with Samantha Bee airs on TBS on Wednesdays at 10:30 PM ESTFind Samantha Bee on Twitter @iamsambee and @FullFrontalSamBeeEPISODE LINKS The Cut - Smirking in the Boys’ Room With Samantha BeeNY Times Opinion - Ivanka Trump's Dangerous Fake FeminismL.A. Times - Samantha Bee has the solution for Hollywood's diversity problem: 'Just hire people'The Atlantic - How Shelby County v. Holder Broke AmericaTBS - Russian Thinkfluencers, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee TBS - Help Floridians Vote! Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
“ALL EARS with Abigail Disney” is back for Season 2! With the 2020 election season and lame duck session - whatever it may bring - as our backdrop, Abby is excited to talk to people she considers "troublemakers". These are the folks whose work as writers, artists, politicians and activists push back with imagination and courage against the status quo. We'll be intertwining big ideas and personal stories about gender, class, and race, and how we can take action to make changes in our cultural and political landscape. However this chaotic political story shakes out, Abby will have some great thinkers to help us navigate.
This week All Ears brings you a special bonus episode: Abby couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk to author Mary Trump about her new book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man”. As like-minded mavericks, Abby and Mary discuss what it’s like to stand up to a wealthy American family empire from the inside, and the friction and drama that results. Mary brings a gimlet eye to the Trump family mythology, and deconstructs the brutal dynamics that destroyed her father, Fred Trump Jr. (Donald Trump’s elder brother). As Mary relates in vivid detail, the Trump family patriarch, Fred Sr., pitted the five Trump siblings against each other, and Donald emerged as the ruthless victor by emulating Fred Sr.’s narcissism and sociopathy, while Fred Jr. died at 42 from complications of alcoholism, broken by years of emotional abuse at the hands of his father. This is an interview you won’t want to miss! EPISODE LINKSToo Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (Mary Trump)The Inside Story of Why Mary Trump Wrote a Tell-All Memoir (New York Times)Mary Trump's interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos (ABC News)The Men Who Gave Trump His Brutal Worldview (Politico)Mary Trump on Twitter: @MaryLTrump
This week on All Ears Abby welcomes Professor Rebecca Henderson, who teaches about innovation, corporate culture change, and ethics at Harvard Business School. Her class,  “Reimagining Capitalism”, is one of HBS’s most popular classes, and she says that the majority of her students tend to believe that capitalism is broken.  But Professor Henderson tells Abby that capitalism is a fundamentally moral enterprise, albeit one that needs to be held in delicate balance with a strong society and a democratically accountable government. They discuss the dramatic pivot point created by the charismatic economist Milton Friedman in the early 1970s. According to Professor Henderson, Friedman’s fervent free market beliefs created the moral, political, and legal arguments for abolishing ethical boundaries in business practices in the name of maximizing profits. Then, using their political clout, unchecked business leaders spend the next decades undermining protections for workers, healthcare, infrastructure and the environment. Professor Henderson urges listeners to lean into their power as consumers and voters as the engine of business cultural change.Find Professor Rebecca Henderson on Twitter: @RebeccaReCapEPISODE LINKSReimagining Capitalism In A World On Fire (Rebecca Henderson)“The Business Case For Saving Democracy: Why Free Markets Need Free Politics” (Rebecca Henderson)“A Friedman doctrine‐- The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits” (New York Times, 9/13/70)“The Powell Memo: A Call-to-Arms for Corporations” (Moyers On Democracy)
This week on All Ears Abby talks to author and commentator Heather McGhee. Heather is a distinguished senior fellow at the progressive think tank Demos, where she also served as president for four years. Heather argues that the economic, intellectual, and societal costs of racism affect not only its victims but also its perpetrators. She tells Abby that America’s White middle class grew after WW2, with help from Federal housing subsidies, education grants and other benefits that were largely denied to Black Americans. Once Black Americans began demanding equal treatment, many of those programs were simply dismantled. This kind of racism, McGee tells Abby, cost everyone. Abby and Heather also delve into the political theft of Reconstruction, whether American racism is unique, the misogyny of libertarianism, and if the Karen memes are a harbinger of a backlash on feminism. Heather’s heavily anticipated book, The Sum of Us, is due out in early 2021.EPISODE LINKS:“A White Man Asked C-Span How to Stop Being Racist. Here’s the Fascinating Answer” (Fortune)“Racism Has A Cost For Everyone” (TED Talk)“Facebook Fails to Appease Organizers of Ad Boycott” (NY Times)Color of ChangeDemosHeather on Twitter: @hmcgheeHeather on Instagram: @HeatherCMcGhee
In this week’s episode, Abby talks to one of Joe Biden’s shortlisted VP candidates, Stacey Abrams. Recounting her upbringing in Mississippi, the former Georgia House of Representatives minority leader describes  the powerful example her parents set for their children as activists and citizens, even as they had struggled their whole lives for fair access to education, employment opportunities, and the voting booth. “Every election they would take us with them [to vote],” Abrams tells Abby. “And there's six of us. So we looked like Make Way For Ducklings as we followed them into the voting booth and we trailed out.”  Additionally, Abrams talks to Abby about her missions to create awareness about voting, the value of the census, and the authoritarian playbook that closely resembles President Trump’s reelection strategy. Oh, and when Abrams isn’t saving the world, she has a romance novel-writing side gig.EPISODE LINKSStacey’s book: Our Time Is NowFair Fight 2020  FairCount.orgThe Cut On Tuesdays: Family Money (The Cut/Gimlet)Make Way For Ducklings: The Art of Robert McCloskey (MFA Boston)Stacey Abrams: I Know Voting Feels Inadequate Right Now (NY Times)1,285 Proven Cases of Voter Fraud in America (Heritage Foundation)Stacey Abrams on Twitter and Instagram: @staceyabrams
This week is a deep dive into how we can shed ingrained ideologies, question our identities, and form our intellectual selves. Abby is joined by UCLA and Columbia Law School professor Kimberlé Crenshaw for a lively conversation about critical race theory, the pitfalls of meritocracy, and how Kimberlé’s created the theoretical framework we call intersectionality. Having grown up in the same era, Abby and Kimberlé talk about how they internalized the same political touchstones, processed similar clues from their mothers about the importance of propping up the male ego, and how they both failed at absorbing patriarchal messaging. Take a listen!EPISODE LINKS: Song Of The South: The Difficult Legacy Of Disney's Most Shocking Movie (The Guardian)The African American Policy ForumINTERSECTIONALITY MATTERS! (Podcast)Under The Black Light (Web Series)50 Years After Watts: The Causes of a Riot (Time Magazine)Harvard Law School Torn by Race Issue (NY Times)Higher Education and the Illusion of Meritocracy (Chronicle of Higher Education)When Black Women Reclaimed Their Bodies (Slate)Kimberlé Crenshaw on Twitter:@SandyLocks@AAPolicyForum
This week on All Ears Abby welcomes CNN host and New York Times’ best-selling author Van Jones. Van talks about being a young civil rights lawyer in Oakland at the time of the Rodney King trial, and how it directly influenced his progressive activism of the last 30 years. Van says that having children made him come around to the belief that fixing the system is more productive than tearing it down, and that finding common ground is the key to systemic change. Van and Abby also discuss white fragility, Democrats’ past willingness to support “tough on crime” laws and mass incarceration, and the fact that Van is a 9th generation American, but the first person in his family to have all his rights fully recognized by the government. Learn more about Van’s extensive body of work in criminal justice reform though his organization REFORM Alliance.Ella Baker Center for Human Rights“Van Jones on a Trump win: This was a white lash” (CNN)How the 1994 Crime Bill Fed the Mass Incarceration Crisis (ACLU)The Redemption Project With Van Jones (CNN Original Series)IG: @vanjones68Twitter: @VanJones68
Continuing our focus on activism around the murder of George Floyd by police on May 25th, Abby welcomes Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, Co-Chair of The Poor People’s Campaign, and President of Repairers of the Breach. Both organizations focus on organizing and uplifting communities across the country using a moral framework of public concerns such as how society treats the poor, women, LGBTQ people, children, workers, immigrants, communities of color, and the sick. Abby, who calls herself a “militant agnostic” who has “faith in people of faith” discusses with Rev. Barber how politics and morality not only overlap, but also that a moral movement can be rooted in the deepest principles of our constitution. Rev. Barber talks about the brutal and arrogant indifference of George Floyd’s killer, and how racism is a form of violence that infiltrates healthcare, public policy, and employment opportunities, and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s work in the current environment of protest and civil disobedience. 6/20 & 6/21: Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March On Washington: A Digital Justice Gathering (Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival) Repairers of the BreachWe Are Called To Be A Movement, by Reverend Dr. William J. Barber IIAmos 5 (King James Bible)“The interlocking evils of systemic racism” (The Poor People’s Campaign)Rev. Barber on Twitter:@RevDrBarber@BRepairers@UniteThePoor
All Ears is stepping back this week from our COVID-19 focus to turn our attention to the national anguish resulting from the murder of George Floyd by police on May 25th. At the forefront of Abby’s mind is sharing her platform with movement leaders, both as an opportunity to listen and learn. This week Abby talks to Rajasvini Bhansali, the Executive Director of Solidaire Network (a community of donors mobilizing resources to social justice movements), about why it’s hard to fund social movements, how white people need to sit with their own discomfort when confronting their own racism, and why profound personal transformation is impossible to do alone. 
This week on All Ears Abby is joined by Supermajority co-founder and former President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards. Cecile and Abby discuss their shared experiences of having a famous parent, and how being middle school activists landed them in the principal’s office. Cecile also talks to Abby about why she’s never run for political office, how Planned Parent animated the Christian Right, the need right now for a women’s stimulus package, and how to organize a diverse coalition of  women to push for childcare- and healthcare-focused policies in response to COVID-19.  EPISODE LINKS:Join Supermajority.comSupermajority: A New Home For Women's Activism (NPR)Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards dies at 73 (Houston Chronicle)Ann Richards’ 1988 Democratic National Convention Speech (YouTube)What a $15 Minimum Wage Means for Women and Workers of Color (National Employment Law Project)Cecile's book, "Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead" (
This week on All Ears, Abby talks to U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren about the loss of her eldest brother to COVID-19, one of over 93,000 loved ones lost to the pandemic in this country (as of this episode’s release). As they dig deeper into the origins of the political divide raging between blue and red states, Senator Warren talks about her conservative upbringing and how to maintain relationships even as political viewpoints within families diverge. Both speaking from their own life experiences, Abby and Senator Warren share how family dynamics, work/life balance, and the act of listening can shift perspective across a lifetime.   EPISODE LINKSElizabeth Warren's Brother, Donald Reed Herring, Has Died From Coronavirus (CBS News)Margaret Thatcher: There’s No Such Thing As Society (Margaret Thatcher Foundation)Ronald Reagan, 8/12/86: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help. " (Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation)1984 Political Ad for Ronald Reagan “Morning in America” (aka “Prouder, Stronger, Better”) (YouTube)Why Fewer Americans Outearn Their Parents (The Atlantic)The Personal Is Political: The Journey Of A Feminist Slogan (openDemocracy)Elizabeth Warren Wants a Wealth Tax. How Would That Even Work? (New York Times)
Join Abby and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker (@darrenwalker), as they discuss modern philanthropy: how it has evolved, how its success is measured, and who it benefits, on both sides of the ledger.Links from this episode's conversation:Darren Walker’s book, From Generosity to Justice: A New Gospel Of WealthThe Gospel of Wealth by Andrew CarnegieThe Highlander Folk SchoolMonticello Is Done Avoiding Jefferson’s Relationship With Sally Hemings (New York Times)NAACP Legal Defense Fund
On our new episode of All Ears, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price joins Abby from Seattle to talk about his experience as a small business owner in Seattle. Five years ago, Dan made a radical decision to make the base salary $70,000 for every employee at his company, and took a pay cut to do it. It’s been a roller coaster ever since. Also, Dan and Abby discuss their conservative upbringings, how that influenced their work around inequality, and why caring for the well-being of low-wage workers is considered by some to be “un-American”.EPISODE LINKS:Dan on Twitter: @danpriceseattleAbby on Twitter: @abigaildisneyFork Films on Twitter: @ForkFilmsLink to “High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being” by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, Center for Health and Well-being, Princeton University Link to Jose Garcia’s Fatman to Batman blog
In the inaugural episode of All Ears, Abby is joined by Columbia University professor and human rights lawyer Terry McGovern to discuss how gender discrimination undermines job security, equal pay, and healthcare for women during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the startling parallels to the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. EPISODE LINKS:Terry on Twitter: @TerryMMcGovernFork Films on Twitter: @ForkFilmsLink to Women and Girls Rising, co-edited by Terry Link to Pray the Devil Back to Hell, produced by Abby, directed by Gini Reticker
Each week on "ALL EARS" filmmaker Abigail Disney will call a bold thinker from the front lines of America’s inequality crisis to debate and explore the problems, perils and maybe even opportunities made possible by the global Covid 19 pandemic. She’ll look to some of the most dynamic and analytical minds to ask: What have we learned? What haven’t we seen yet? What’s around the corner, and how do we seize this moment to come together as a nation and reset economic opportunity for the 99%?
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