Center for American Progress Action

Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine on ‘The Sixth’ and Remembering the Insurrection

Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine on ‘The Sixth’ and Remembering the Insurrection

Filmmakers Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine join the show to discuss their new documentary, “The Sixth,” and why stories from the January 6, 2021, attack on the nation’s capital must be told.

Part of a Series

Filmmakers Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine join the show to discuss their new documentary, The Sixth,” and why stories from the January 6, 2021, attack on the nation’s capital must be told. Daniella and Colin also talk about new health equity measures and housing policies from the Biden administration.


Daniella Gibbs Léger: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to “The Tent,” your place for politics, policy, and progress. I’m Daniella Gibbs Léger.

Colin Seeberger: And I’m Colin Seeberger. Daniella, happy National Moscato Day. Happy Have a Coke Day.

Gibbs Léger: How do you feel about Moscato, Colin?

Seeberger: Moscato, besides orange wine, is basically the only wine that I refuse to entertain. I think it’s kind of nasty, but I can get down with a Diet Coke.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, I went through a Moscato phase. I can’t remember when it was, but I was young and I didn’t really know better, but now my palate is more refined, if you will.

Seeberger: Well, we all experiment with some things that we probably should not have from time to time, so I cannot blame you.

Gibbs Léger: OK, thank you.

Seeberger: Yes, well, that’s enough about wine, about Coca-Cola. I hear you also had a fantastic interview this week.

Gibbs Léger: I did. I chatted with filmmakers Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine about their new documentary, “The Sixth,” and why remembering the events of the January 6 insurrection is essential to protect American democracy.

Seeberger: It really is, and I’m excited to hear the conversation. But first, we have to get to some news.

Gibbs Léger: We do, Colin. Our listeners may remember that we recently spoke with Cait Smith, director of LGBTQI+ Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Cait told us about some big changes in the works to make the Affordable Care Act more equitable. Well, those changes are finally here, Colin.

Seeberger: Yes, we love it.

Gibbs Léger: We love some good news.

Seeberger: What did I miss?

Gibbs Léger: The Biden administration just updated Section 1557 of the ACA, which prohibits federally funded health programs and services from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

This new rule codifies the same nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQI+ people. It also strengthens protections for other marginalized communities, including women, pregnant people, disabled people, people born outside of the United States, and people whose primary language is not English. This isn’t just a win for LGBTQI+ communities—it’s a win for anyone seeking health care. And this all goes into effect less than 60 days from now.

Seeberger: We love to hear it. And like you said, it is going to really make sure that more people are getting the care that they need. So whether you are seeing a provider who happens to operate in the Medicare system, seeking care at a federally funded health care center, or using federally funded health insurance like through the ACA marketplaces, it’s all going to be protected under this discrimination statute. On top of nondiscrimination protections, the new rule actually requires that covered entities inform patients that language-assistance services are available. It also bans discrimination caused by generative AI and other technologies.

And these are all critical steps to making sure that our health care system is actually delivering better health outcomes, as well as more equity. And it also comes at a critical time, as you’ve got a bunch of far-right policymakers who are pushing measures like repealing the Affordable Care Act or banning certain types of care for LGBTQI+ people, including gender-affirming care.

It’s just the latest sign from the Biden administration that they are taking really seriously their commitment to advancing access to health care and health equity and pushing back on these harmful efforts, like I was mentioning. And the results really are transforming health care in America in the 21st century. So it’s really exciting.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, it really is a big win. And while health care is definitely top of mind for many Americans, I do want to turn to another issue that’s front and center right now, and that is housing.

Seeberger: Oh, yes.

Gibbs Léger: This week, Vice President [Kamala] Harris announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will invest $5.5 billion—with a “b”—into building affordable housing, lowering housing costs, and tackling homelessness. These grants will benefit 1,200 communities across the country, funding projects like the transformation of a historic building into affordable homes in Cleveland, for example.

But this isn’t the first time that the Biden administration has tackled a housing crisis. In 2022, the administration launched its Housing Supply Action Plan, which aims to lower housing costs and make more housing available to middle- and low-income Americans over the course of five years. And this past October, President [Joe] Biden launched an initiative to help convert vacant commercial and office buildings into more affordable housing units—something that is definitely happening more in the “post-COVID” world that we live in.

And all of these efforts have been focused on creating housing that’s affordable, energy efficient, accessible to transit and good jobs, and lighter on greenhouse gas emissions. These steps follow a previous announcement from the Biden administration last year to lower the cost of buying a home by $800 a year by cutting insurance premiums for FHA-backed mortgages.

So it’s obvious that housing plays a really important part in President Biden’s plan to lower costs for all American families. In his State of the Union address, he called on Congress to support the construction and rehab of 2 million additional homes, to lower cost for renters and to help first-time homebuyers and families trade up or downsize.

Seeberger: Yeah, that’s right. And these policies are being introduced and being pushed by the administration in direct response to what the American people are saying, and that is they’re concerned about housing prices and accessibility right now. If you did not lock in a super-low mortgage rate during the pandemic, it’s really hard to find something that’s affordable, and supply is limited.

So, it’s just further proof of how they’re actually responding to the concerns of the American people and listening to what they’re saying. And that all stands in stark contrast to the housing policies that we’re seeing pushed from the extremists on the far right. Just look at their policy manifestos, like Project 2025.

If you dig into the details of that radical plan, you’ll actually see they’re recommending that the Federal Housing [Administration] increase mortgage insurance premiums above 20-year terms. So, you have a mortgage that is a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage, which is like the most standard mortgage product on the market. They want you to pay more for it.

Gibbs Léger: No, thank you.

Seeberger: Yeah, that’s right. They want it to be more expensive for folks to buy a home. It’s just outlandish and totally tone deaf to what the American people are saying. It would also restrict first-time homebuyers’ eligibility for certain benefits, which—excuse the pun— hits pretty close to home for a lot of people trying to buy their first home.

And Project 2025 would also repeal programs designed to expand and preserve the supply of affordable housing. The folks behind Project 2025—the radical lawmakers and the Republican Study Committee—they’re all seeking to put more barriers to affordable housing, not fewer. Their budget proposal earlier this year would have done away with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as a number of rental housing assistance programs that Americans rely on.

And that contrast here, again, couldn’t be more night and day with what the Biden administration has been pushing. You talked about the $800 cut to mortgage insurance premiums for FHA-backed mortgages. That’s the exact opposite of what Project 2025 is proposing. So, Americans deserve to have a place that they can feel safe and live in happily while also, at the same time, that not breaking the bank.

So, I think it’s something that we’re going to continue to see further action from the Biden administration on, but it’s also a real stark warning to the American people about some of the really radical and fringe ideas that we’re seeing from extremists on the far right, if you just look at their policies.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly. I can’t tell if it’s carelessness, like they don’t understand how badly Americans are struggling to afford housing, or if it’s callousness, like, “I’m good, and I really don’t care about anybody else,” right?

Seeberger: Honestly, Daniella, I feel like it’s a little bit of both. But in any case, that’s all the time we have for this week. If there’s anything you’d like us to cover on the pod, hit us up on Twitter @TheTentPod. That’s @TheTentPod.

Gibbs Léger: And stick around for my interview with Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine in just a beat.

[Musical transition]

Gibbs Léger: Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine are Oscar, Emmy, and Peabody award-winning filmmakers. Their latest film, “The Sixth,” tells the stories of lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and other innocent Americans who were on the ground during the January 6 insurrection.

Andrea is also the writer and Sean is also the cinematographer on all of their films, which include “Inocente,” “Life According to Sam,” and “War Dance.” They also launched a social-impact studio called Change Content. Their collaboration started when they met while making films for National Geographic.

Andrea and Sean, thank you so much for joining us on “The Tent.”

Sean Fine: Thanks for having us.

Andrea Nix Fine: Thanks for having us.

Gibbs Léger: And I should say welcome back to CAP [Action], as we screened your movie “War Dance” many, many years ago. So it’s great to see you both again.

Nix Fine: We just passed the poster on the way into the studio, so it’s fun to see you.

Gibbs Léger: Great. So Andrea, to start off, we heard so many harrowing personal stories from the insurrection during the House committee hearings two years ago. Why did you and Sean decide to make a film about this, and what did you hope to add to the narratives that the public hasn’t already heard?

Nix Fine: Well, we were actually already working with A24 on a film about the peaceful transition of presidential power, ironic as that is.

Gibbs Léger: Really?

Nix Fine: Yeah, that’s why we had our crew there that day. We were thinking, “Oh, it’s probably Trump’s last speech, so we might as well send a crew down there.” And Caz Rubacky—who’s a cameraman we work with very often and I love him dearly—he was down there with a sound person and a couple people, and as the day unfolded we lost touch with him for almost two hours, and we’re watching what’s happening on television.

It was terrifying. And they all surfaced fine. But I think at the end of that, we were like, “We don’t know what this film’s going to be, but we know it’s not what it was just about.” In a sense, it is still about the transition of power, but we were just so struck and gutted about that day—both because we live here, we’re trying to find our kids and get them home from school—you just didn’t know how big and crazy it was going to get. I think for everybody in Washington, it hits really different that day, in the same way that 9/11 hits for people who live in New York City. It’s just very different.

But we felt like, all right, how do we tell the story the way we do it, in terms of what we do quite well, which is the personal gets through: “Make me care, and I’ll listen to you.” And so we took that motto—which is our compass about telling all our films, all our documentaries—and we decided we’re very drawn to the people who showed up who work at the Capitol every day, who serve the public—not just the city but the whole country.

And six people showed up for work that day, so we set out to find a chemistry that felt like it worked to represent a lot of reasons why people were there to serve, whether they’re a lawmaker or a journalist or law enforcement. It wanted to be told through six people. We felt that chemistry was right. And we wanted to figure out, how do we find people who are both inside the building, outside the building, have sort of different agendas but one sort of, like, higher good about doing their job that day? So that’s what we set out to do.

Gibbs Léger: So, Sean, I want to talk to you about the six individuals that you follow—who are they, and why did you decide to focus on their stories?

Fine: As Andrea said, we wanted to tell a personal story. We wanted to tell stories of people who were on the ground, who experienced things.

But really, the other part of it is that we wanted to tell a story from 5:00 a.m. [January 6] to morning of the next day, because that’s really what happened. People went to work at 5:00 a.m., expected to just serve and do their job, and then they were handed this kind of insanity and had to deal with it. And then most of them went back to work the next morning—even that night.

And I think that’s remarkable and incredible. So I think we tried to start looking at individuals who were unique, who could tell the story. But like everybody else, all this stuff was coming in: There’s social media, there’s the news, you’re trying to sort through it all. It’s exhausting. And to try and find real people amongst all the chatter is really, really difficult. The news and people tend to gravitate towards the most obvious right away. I think we don’t look for the most obvious; we look for the most emotional.

So one of the first people we reached out to actually was Congressman [Jamie] Raskin (D-MD), who would be, I think, an obvious choice, but I think his story is so human, I can’t imagine not talking to him. I can’t imagine losing your child and going to work the next day to serve your country, and then thinking your daughter and son-in-law might end up in a really bad situation, and are in a bad situation. You’re fearing for their safety at the same time that you’re fearing for democracy and trying to do your job. So that, to me, was a very human story.

We have Mel D. Cole, who’s a photographer—who’s an incredible photographer—and he’s incredible in the film. And his perspective on Trump rallies, on Black Lives Matter marches, and why he started to become a photographer is really interesting. And his perspective on that day, and why he was there.

But he took a very famous picture of Mike Fanone, the police officer, and I actually saw it on Instagram, like, “Who took this photo? It’s amazing.” So I started looking, and I’m like, “Oh my God, this guy’s a hip-hop photographer? Why was he here? What’s he doing?” And it just started to unravel.

He actually didn’t want to talk to us at first. He didn’t want to participate. He didn’t want to look at his photos anymore. He was like, “Everyone’s reached out to me. Spike Lee’s reached out to me. I don’t want to talk to anyone.” And I think the combination of having A24 support the film and also just constantly talking to him and trying to talk to him helped him decide to be in it. And when he was in it, he’s all in. And he’s fantastic in the film.

And then we had Officer Christina Laury, who’s an MPD [Metropolitan Police Department] police officer who was there and who just also has an interesting perspective, along with Daniel Hodges, another MPD police officer who was attacked at the Capitol and very famously feared for his life.

And then we also have the D.C. chief of police, who was four days on the job that day. And he has the perspective of looking at the whole big picture and seeing what’s happened and explaining how they’re not even supposed to be at the Capitol, and what his force did to save the day that day.

So we also have Erica Loewe in our film, who’s a staffer in [Rep. James] Clyburn’s (D-SC) office and trapped behind this desk in this office, who went to work that day thinking she was going to be celebrating President Biden’s election and then had to deal with this. And there was a picture we found from The New York Times and The Washington Post where it was a bunch of people in the office pushing this desk against a door. And we were like, “We’ve got to find one of those people.” And Erica was one of the only people in that office—they all collectively agreed, but she was the one that agreed, like, “I’ll talk about that situation.” And so it’s a mix. It’s a mix of inside, outside, stories you haven’t heard.

I think the MPD—nobody knows that story. Nobody knows that local law enforcement saved the Capitol that day. Nobody knows that they fought for four-and-a-half hours hand-to-hand combat out front of the Capitol, keeping probably the most violent offenders from coming in. So I think we tried to focus on those things that most people don’t focus on as well.

Gibbs Léger: You know, my cousin is an MPD police officer, and I really appreciate you taking the time to tell that story. Because the stories that he tells me is not something that I’ve really heard told. So, Andrea, sometimes it feels like January 6 just happened yesterday, but it actually has been years. So I’m curious, why do you think it’s important to tell this story years later, and what are the implications for our democracy?

Nix Fine: I never thought this many years after the 6th that we would still be in discussion about the events that happened this day. I really, really ask that people look at this film now, because there’s so much revisionist history going on about the incredible violence and the risks and the danger that there was to so many people’s lives, especially law enforcement, to the lives of the people who worked at the Capitol that day, and how close we came to losing the certification of the election.

And it’s a very sad fact but a very critical fact that people need to be reminded what happened. I think I would argue that our film probably stitches together the most coherent moments from those who were there. It’s not about political party; it’s a bearing witness through the eyes of six people. It takes the day from soup to nuts, the whole day. And we’re just asking people to watch this and share the word about watching this.

It was really amazing to finally have people start seeing the film. It’s been done for a little bit, and when The Washington Post did the review, it was very meaningful and moving to us. Because finally, we’ve been living with this film for a long time, and they’re saying this should be seen by all. And that’s the feedback we’re getting.

It’s a required viewing, and I think that’s what we want people to do is show up, look at the film, and decide for themselves. Because even in the law enforcement communities, it’s very divisive. It’s very divisive, and that just blows my mind. And I want people to look at this and then think, “What did I think about what happened that day?” Because it’s really different when you see it in little pieces in news clips, and then when you see it totally laid out.

And then even some of the questions—like, the Times just brought up a whole thing about the National Guard yesterday. And our film tackled that over two years ago when we were cutting this. It’s like, what was going on? Why was the National Guard not present for so long? And here’s what you see happening when they’re not showing up for hours.

So there’s a lot of things that we want people to pay attention to, but mostly it’s about an educated citizenry. That’s what we need to do. That’s what high schoolers, college students, Kiwanis clubs, all states, all that—we really just want to blast this. Truth has no party. This is not a partisan film. We really want people to decide for themselves what the meaning of that day is, especially because as people are talking about whether they will or will not abide by an outcome of election, it’s game on for everybody to show up with their vote and with their minds.

Fine: And we’re really proud of the way we made the film, because I think there’s no film trickery in this. There’s no taking sound bites from other moments and amplifying moments. Our editors, Jeff Consiglio and Chrystie Martinez, worked tirelessly to make sure everything is on a perfect timeline.

I mean, we had a crime scene thing in our office. We had a timeline. We had a big model of the Capitol. We had characters. We were like, “Everything is perfect, and everything is to-the-second accurate.” So there’s no shot of someone screaming that happened from before that’s later. It’s all happening in real time. And because that day was filmed by so many people, you have the ability to jump around. As a filmmaker, it’s incredible. You have 25 cameras covering one scene, and all these people put their stuff on social media so it’s out there. You have this ability to jump around. And I think that’s the other thing we’re really proud of—it shows step by step what happened.

It also shows moments—I mean, there’s a moment of a picture with a guy with a sledgehammer in our film, in front of the Capitol, in the fight. In the middle of the most violent place, this person has a sledgehammer. I’m like, “Why would you have a sledgehammer there?” That’s terrifying. And we chose to show the more violent side because I think had the MPD not stopped that group from coming into the tunnel that day, we’d be talking about a very different story and not focusing on the guy with the horns and all this stuff that we all gravitate towards.

It’s really the mob out front that was stopped from coming in that is very scary. And it’s important for us as Americans—it’s an American film. It’s important for Americans to see this film.

Gibbs Léger: I think you both answered my next question, but I want to just call it out. There are some people—some within your industry, even—who are saying, “Well, this film is a little political coming out right before the election.” So if you want to tackle that again, Sean, and refute that theory?

Fine: Yeah, I don’t think it’s political. We would have had it out years ago. I mean, it’s not political. It’s an American story. It’s an American film. Americans need to see this. I want people—I mean, both of us, we want people that are conservative, we want people that are liberal, we want people to watch this. And we want them to ask questions, not to be—I mean, we’re angered when we see it. This is my home, too. I’m a fourth-generation Washingtonian. These people came to my home. They did this, and I do not like that they were here and that they did this. It was violent, it was horrible.

And the people in our film live in D.C. MPD officers, Jamie Raskin—they’re DMV residents. They make this their home. So these people came to our home and did this, and it’s upsetting. And I think that as Americans, we need to understand that. We need to watch that. We need to understand what democracy represents, what those people inside were trying to do, why they were at work that day. I don’t think anyone can watch this and wish that upon any of their loved ones, anyone that they know who goes to work.

I think it’s irrefutable, that it’s just so emotionally painful to go through that day and be the focus of that mob and think that mob is coming for you.

Nix Fine: And I think when we were—that question about being a political film. Well, yes, I guess in the one sense, the Capitol is the emblem of a political process. But I would say it’s a film about democracy. Democracy was attacked that day. The very being and in fact, that shame I think all Americans feel when they realize the whole world is watching this, what first kind of feels like, “Oh that’s getting a little crazy,” and then you’re seeing this and it’s just—Mel D. Cole says it in the film, he said, “I was in the middle of it.’ Here he is, a photographer in this sea of over 10,000 people who are surrounding the Capitol. And he’s listening to people say, “I’m willing to die for this,” and going in with horrible weapons, and watching people bloodied and coming out and officers being dragged out. And he said, “I was ashamed.”

This is America, right? This is the greatest country in the world, and this is what we’re doing to ourselves. It’s like a huge family fight that people aren’t willing to talk about. And like anything, we know in families, if you don’t deal with that trauma, it unearths in really scary ways later on down.

And so that’s what we’re asking people to do. It’s like, “Hi, America. This is our family, we have to sort out on our own. Let’s keep our own yard clean, take care of our own house, and figure out how to handle going forward. But first, we have to be honest with what happened.”

Gibbs Léger: Yeah. You mentioned the National Guard earlier, Andrea, and there’s a group of people on the right who keep insisting that this is all [former Speaker of the House] Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) fault because she didn’t call in the National Guard.

So can you talk to that point? And also talk about the disinformation campaign, if you will, around what happened around January 6 and how dangerous that is?

Nix Fine: Yeah. So I think the National Guard effectively is a force that is controlled by the Department of Defense that at times when there’s big congregations—like First Amendment protests and things like that—that is commonly used and coordinated by other law enforcement on the ground, being the MPD, the Metropolitan Police Department.

But there’s very clear jurisdictions in all these things, whether you’re Secret Service or Capitol Police or MPD. And we do tackle that in the film so people understand how this works a little bit. And that day as Chief [Robert] Contee, the MPD chief of police, was explaining—that he right before then was given a number of National Guard to help with traffic enforcement. That’s what they usually do. But once they’re assigned to him, he can move them as he sees fit. And what came down the pike that started to get his antenna up was like, “Wait, they can’t be moved beyond Ninth Street without going up the chain of command.”

And so he’s saying, “Well, wait a minute, that doesn’t feel right. That never happens.” And so it started you thinking as you’re watching this. So what started happening is that—

Fine: To be clear, Ninth Street is blocks away from the Capitol.

Nix Fine: Yeah. If you’re staying there and you can’t get closer, it’s really putting you at a disadvantage.

Fine: It’s not far.

Nix Fine: Yeah. You can’t do anything to help the situation. It’s far. So really what this [is] unfolding is that by moving it up the chain of command through the Department of Defense. So typically, there’s a chain of command where the Capitol Police have to invite others to come on to that federal jurisdiction to help if there’s an emergency. But what was happening is it was going up as requested that day throughout the Department of Defense, and they were not giving the positive order to move forward, which then puts them just repeatedly asking.

The first call, I think, went out at, like, 12:38 for the National Guard. They didn’t come on the scene until almost 5:30 in the night. Think about how we all watched that for hours and how much could have been stopped by that.

Fine: And it took them 15 minutes to get there.

Nix Fine: Yeah, once they were asked to finally move—

Gibbs Léger: Unbelievable.

Nix Fine: —it was 15 minutes.

Gibbs Léger: Wow.

Nix Fine: And everybody’s seeing this. And [Maj.] Gen. [William] Walker talks about it, who was heading up the National Guard. He said he can’t deploy without approval, and he was waiting and waiting. And so I think The New York Times did a really fabulous piece on getting into the real details of that day, but there’s a lot of questions. Whether it was bumbling or whether it was designed—I don’t know, but I do know the effect. And everybody should ask a lot of questions and be very, very angry about the trauma and the violence and the injury that is still being felt to this day because of the National Guard not being there, and thankful for the MPD for actually saving the day, which is what they did.

Fine: And you had Chief Contee and [Capitol Police] Chief [Steven] Sund, the police that’s in charge—they’re the police that are in charge of the Capitol. They’re pleading for the National Guard to come. They’re the expert. They’re like, “We cannot do this. This is going down. You need to get here.” They’re pleading. And no one is coming.

Nix Fine: Except MPD has called in other states. Other states like—

Fine: Virginia.

Nix Fine: Yeah, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. They were sending law enforcement in. And that’s who cleared the crowd, not our National Guard.

Gibbs Léger: That is incredible. So for the last question, I’d like to ask both of you—and I’ll start with you, Andrea—what has been the most memorable takeaway as you’ve rolled out this film? What’s been your favorite moment, or what’s been the most poignant moment to you in the past couple of days?

Nix Fine: I think what has meant so much is people’s reactions after we did a huge screening in D.C. with 250 people together, and being in a room and having people live that day and gasp and cry and shake their heads and then come up and say, “What can we do? What can we do?” It was like this call to action to just do something with a feeling that they’ve had, which is, “I can’t stop thinking about this film. What can I do?”

And that’s really what we want people to go forward with. This film is now available to be seen. It came out to purchase on May 3 on video on demand. On May 10, it’s going to be available for rental. And that’s something that we really want people to—and they can see it on different platforms, like Apple. We have it on Amazon Prime. You can go to there and watch it.

But I think the other part is share it. Ask other people to watch it. That’s really what I was moved by, that I feel like there is going to be a momentum, that people will respond to this film, and that you’ll do it not because of what party you’re aligned with—it’s because you care about the people in there, and you feel like you better understand how scary that day was, and how scary it was going to be if people don’t come to terms with it.

Fine: Yeah, I think for me, when you tell people’s stories—especially that are this sensitive that they don’t want to talk to people—that they entrust us with their story. I think after they saw it, the six people—and they all, individually, we started getting texts from them. And we’re just so moved. And so all of them kept saying, “We’re so proud to be in this. Thank you for telling our stories the way you did.” I think that really feels good because you did it the right way, and it affected them because they’re the ones putting themselves out there.

And then I think the other part that Andrea has said, to just piggyback off that, is that we’re getting messages left and right from people who are like, “I love this film. This film is really resonating with me. I thought when I clicked on it, it would be hard to watch, but from the first frame I was riveted, I wanted to watch it, I kept watching it, I’m going to share it.”

I am amazed by that, and I am so excited by that, because often in our industry, you hear something like, “Oh, it’s too played out,” or, “We’ve seen too many films on it,” or, “It’s all over the news, you can’t do something about that.” But you can. I mean, documentaries can. They can tell a longer story, a more emotional story, a better story than you get on CNN or MSNBC for, what, a minute clip? So I think, I think that that’s encouraging that people are really reacting to it in a really positive way. And it’s—I mean, the metrics on it just keep jumping every day, higher and higher. So that’s really great.

Gibbs Léger: That’s really fantastic. I want to thank both of you for joining us here on “The Tent,” and thank you for the care that you’ve given to this story and to those six individuals.

Fine: Thanks for having us.

Nix Fine: Thank you.

[Musical transition]

Gibbs Léger: As always, thanks for listening. Be sure to go back and check out previous episodes. Colin, we’ve got to talk about the Met Gala.

Seeberger: We certainly do.

Gibbs Léger: Oh, my goodness.

Seeberger: I mean, for folks who work at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, it was all the rage yesterday morning as we were sharing all of our favorites and our, “Wait, they really wore that?”

Gibbs Léger: Exactly.

Seeberger: It was quite something.

Gibbs Léger: It really was. I’m going to do a few quick takes.

First of all, dear men of the Met Gala: If you show up in a black tuxedo, you should not be allowed to go back to any Met Gala again.

Seeberger: Daniella.

Gibbs Léger: What?

Seeberger: We have to have an exception, though.

Gibbs Léger: OK. Who’s the exception for, Colin?

Seeberger: I generally agree, but Nicholas Galitzine, his little black get-up with the little stitching on his jacket—

Gibbs Léger: OK, he gets a pass because it was his first Met Gala.

Seeberger: OK. Fair.

Gibbs Léger: So I think that’s totally fine. But the people who’ve been there before, like Matt Damon, what are you doing?

Seeberger: You know better.

Gibbs Léger: Like somebody said in our Slack conversation, you can be pretty any other day of the year.

Seeberger: Yes.

Gibbs Léger: This is your time to, a) pay attention to the theme, and like, go out. Go all out.

Seeberger: Well, not all the men were big losers this year.

Gibbs Léger: This is very true.

Seeberger: I have to say, I think my favorite outfit for the entire Met Gala was Gustav Magnar Witzøe, who is apparently, I guess, some Norwegian youngest billionaire in the world.

Gibbs Léger: As one does.

Seeberger: I guess. Apparently a shareholder of a salmon company. I had no idea who he was before the Met Gala, but oh my God—

Gibbs Léger: Yeah.

Seeberger: —did he just look incredible. He had this unbelievable cape train that was, like, 50 feet long. He just looked like, I don’t know, a fairy.

Gibbs Léger: There’s really no other way to describe it. It was a beautiful, beautiful gown.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: Two men who have had their foot upon my neck since the beginning of award season.

Seeberger: OK. Give it to me.

Gibbs Léger: One, Mr. Jonathan Bailey.

Seeberger: Oh my God.

Gibbs Léger: He is a menace. I need him to stop.

Seeberger: I need him to not stop. I need him to keep serving.

Gibbs Léger: It’s too much!

Seeberger: His secret flower?

Gibbs Léger: Oh my goodness, the secret flower.

Seeberger: Invite me to the secret garden. I will come.

Gibbs Léger: You’re going to have to fight through a lot of people, because let me tell you something: That man, in addition to appearing to be, like, a nice person—no business being that attractive. And also the tank top later? Sir, enough. I can’t.

Seeberger: He brought his “A” game.

Gibbs Léger: He did. And also Colman Domingo, once again. The outfit had layers upon layers, and he looked amazing. He can really do no wrong.

Seeberger: He can’t, he can’t. Any misses for you? For me, Lizzo—I have no idea what that was.

Gibbs Léger: Somebody said she looked like Groot.

Seeberger: Folks deserve a mulligan from time to time.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah.

Seeberger: I think she should take it on that one.

Gibbs Léger: I agree.

Seeberger: It was like a stump. She looked like a tree. It was a mess.

Gibbs Léger: It was a little too literal.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: And I thought there were a lot of maybe, not misses, but just like, meh.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: Like, Ariana Grande. Like, OK, you’re pretty, right? Whereas Cynthia Erivo, I’m like, OK, that’s an outfit.

Seeberger: Stunning.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly.

Seeberger: This is my controversial take.

Gibbs Léger: Ooh.

Seeberger: I usually love her. Zendaya looked like she was basically a vineyard that went wrong.

Gibbs Léger: Oh no!

Seeberger: She had the little grape things growing on her top. Like, it was weird for me.

Gibbs Léger: The people are split on Zendaya.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: A lot of folks agree with you. They’re like, “She looks good, but not like what you normally would expect from her.”

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: And then there are other people who are like, “She looked amazing, what are you talking about?” I don’t know. I think I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t know. It wasn’t her best look.

Seeberger: I think that’s right.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah.

Seeberger: Not bad.

Gibbs Léger: Not bad. Right.

Seeberger: Just not—

Gibbs Léger: Not what I expected.

Seeberger: —it didn’t stop me dead in my tracks. Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: Oh, can I do a changed-opinion dress?

Seeberger: OK.

Gibbs Léger: So, Nicole Kidman when she was doing her interviews, I only saw the top of her dress. And I was like, oh, “Sleeping Beauty.” It was like very classic. I’m like, that’s fine, whatever. A little boring. But then I saw the whole dress, and the bottom had this train, and it had black ruffly thingies.

Seeberger: I’ve got to go look it up.

Gibbs Léger: I was like, OK, I changed my opinion.

Seeberger: All right, Nicole Kidman.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, I was like, “Good, Nicole.” I’m trying to think who was my favorite? Oh, one of the Hadids. Which one showed up? I’m like, which model was it? Whichever one it was, I loved it.

Seeberger: Was it Gigi?

Gibbs Léger: It might have been Gigi. I thought it was very pretty, very—the texture left a little beading.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: I really, really enjoyed that.

Seeberger: I thought Mindy Kaling was—

Gibbs Léger: Ooh, yeah.

Seeberger: —unbelievable.

Gibbs Léger: Yes.

Seeberger: I mean, so, so elegant.

Gibbs Léger: Very nice.

Seeberger: Yeah, she could do no wrong in my book.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah. I thought Elle Fanning looked great too.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: I thought Kim Kardashian—

Seeberger: Oh boy.

Gibbs Léger: —did not?

Seeberger: It was, I feel like, trying so hard.

Gibbs Léger: I also feel like we’ve seen her in a version of this dress before.

Seeberger: Yeah, I feel like it was just playing for snaps on the red carpet. Which is fine, but I’m not really surprised by that.

Gibbs Léger: No.

Seeberger: But I wouldn’t say that it was the most inventive, elegant, just naturally beautiful. She looked fine.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, she did. OK, two other people. Bad Bunny. Great.

Seeberger: I didn’t see.

Gibbs Léger: What?

Seeberger: I know.

Gibbs Léger: What is wrong with you? OK, you need to go after we’re done taping. Go look him up.

Seeberger: I’ve been busy, Daniella.

Gibbs Léger: OK, it has been a little busy. That’s fine. Fair enough, Colin. But he, once again, is a man who always follows a theme and has a flair for the dramatics. So I thought his outfit looked really nice. And my, I guess, unpopular opinion is I thought J.Lo looked great.

Seeberger: Oh my God, she looked stunning.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, but there are some people like, “Oh, I didn’t like the dress.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me?”

Seeberger: No. They’re out of their minds.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly. She looked amazing. And when I think about how old she is, I’m like—

Seeberger: Yeah, it does not compute.

Gibbs Léger: It does not. My brain cannot actually put those numbers together. But yes, I love the Met Gala, and—

Seeberger: It’s ridiculous. It’s fun.

Gibbs Léger: It’s ridiculous. It is a fundraiser for the arts and stuff, so that’s good. We support that.

Seeberger: We love a good cause.

Gibbs Léger: We do. Next year I want to see Taylor and Travis on that red carpet.

Seeberger: We need a Tayvis Met Gala appearance.

Gibbs Léger: We do. We do.

Seeberger: Yes.

Gibbs Léger: It must happen. OK.

Seeberger: Maybe she will come with some jewelry—

Gibbs Léger: Perhaps.

Seeberger: —on her hand.

Gibbs Léger: I think we should talk about our predictions around that next episode.

Seeberger: Stay tuned, listeners. Stay tuned.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly. But until then, continue to take care of yourselves, and we will talk to you next week.

“The Tent” is a podcast from the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It’s hosted by me, Daniella Gibbs Léger, and co-hosted by Colin Seeberger. Erin Phillips is our lead producer, Kelly McCoy is our supervising producer, Mishka Espey is our booking producer, and Muggs Leone is our digital producer.

Hai Phan, Matthew Gossage, Olivia Mowry, and Toni Pandolfo are our Video team. You can find us on YouTube, Apple, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Daniella Gibbs Léger

Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategy


Colin Seeberger

Senior Adviser, Communications

Erin Phillips

Broadcast Media Manager

Kelly McCoy

Senior Director of Broadcast Communications

Mishka Espey

Senior Manager, Media Relations

Muggs Leone

Executive Assistant

Video producers

Hai-Lam Phan

Senior Director, Creative

Matthew Gossage

Events Video Producer

Olivia Mowry

Video Producer

Toni Pandolfo

Video Producer, Production



Explore The Series

Politics. Policy. Progress. All under one big tent. Produced by CAP Action, “The Tent” is a news and politics podcast hosted by Daniella Gibbs Léger and co-hosted by Colin Seeberger. Listen each Thursday for episodes exploring topics that progressives are focused on.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.