Arthur and Shirley Sotloff, whose son Steven Sotloff was murdered by the Islamic State in September 2014, will give their first major television interview to CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday. The Pinecrest couple will talk about their son and the United States’ policy when Americans are held hostage.
The news program’s Lesley Stahl spoke to the Sotloffs at their Pinecrest home in a segment recorded in December. She also talked to Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama’s assistant on counterterrorism, about the government’s controversial policy of not paying ransoms in these situations. The program airs at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS4.
Steven Sotloff, a freelance American journalist who covered the Middle East, was held hostage and beheaded, his brutal murder captured on video, by the Islamic State on Sept. 2, 2014.
“We’ve waited such a long time to speak out. Now, we not only want people to know what really happened to our family and Steven, but also where we are headed,” said Arthur Sotloff. “We started the 2Lives Foundation and basically, hopefully, this will be a story about his life. Before we agreed to that, we didn’t want it to be us smashing the government, but the government did nothing for us. We want it to be well-rounded. This will be a story about his life and accomplishments and what we are doing to create a legacy and make it a different world.”
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The family previously spoke to the Miami Herald in an exclusive on the first anniversary of their son’s death in September 2015. At the time, they discussed how they set up the 2Lives Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Foundation to endow scholarships for students seeking careers in journalism. Scholarships were designated to the University of Miami, Florida International University, Miami Dade College, the University of Central Florida and Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire, which Sotloff attended. The family, including daughter Lauren, also attended the dedication of the Steven Sotloff Memorial Garden at Pinecrest Gardens, where they spoke to local media.
But the couple hadn’t given an extensive national television interview until Stahl talked to them for Sunday’s “60 Minutes” telecast.
On the “60 Minutes” segment, Monaco defends the no-ransom policy that the Sotloffs and other U.S. parents of hostages murdered by their ISIS captors have criticized. But she acknowledges the government failed these parents.
“I feel that in many respects, we did not do right by these families. That we failed them. We have Americans who were brutally killed,” Monaco told Stahl in a program tease released by CBS. “On the one hand, if you don’t pay a ransom, you are putting an innocent life at risk. On the other hand, if you do, you’re fueling the very activity that’s put them at risk in the first place.”
“I want everyone to know who my son was and what he gave up,” Arthur Sotloff said on Friday. “Also, the unwillingness of the U.S. government to address it or try to save our kids.”