60 Minutes aired a brutal piece about Greg Mortenson in which the news magazine examined claims the Three Cups of Tea author fabricated parts of his memoir and improperly used funds targeted to his charity.
Near the end of the segment, Steve Kroft — who attempted to get in touch with Mortenson for the story but was ignored — ambushed the author at a book signing event in Atlanta.
A clearly flustered Mortenson refused to speak with Kroft. In an exclusive interview with Outside editorial director Alex Heard, he explains why. (Emphasis added.)
[Heard asks:] Didn’t Kroft and a crew show up at one of your events last week? In Atlanta?
Yes, on Thursday of last week, I was at a gathering called the Community Service Leadership Convention at a Hyatt hotel, mostly with college and high-school kids. I got done and was at a book signing with two or three hundred kids, with some adults, too.
Out of the blue, there’s a rush by Kroft and two cameramen. They got on both sides of me and I looked to my right and he said, “Steve Kroft.” I said, “Excuse me?” He said, I’m Steve Kroft and I’d like to talk to you and can you give me five minutes? This was all on film, so perhaps my exact words here, from memory, are not verbatim.
He said, I’m sorry for disrupting. So I said, “Thanks!” I was totally surprised. He had a big, brown trench coat on, on a hot Atlanta day. When I see a big coat on a hot day, I think about Pakistan and I think “suicide bomber.” It took me a few seconds to realise who this guy was. I don’t watch TV, so I don’t even know what he looks like.