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The Impact Of Ronan Farrow’s New Me Too Allegations Towards NBC


If Ronan Farrow’s new book is to be believed, Harvey Weinstein at least stalled the revelations of his misconduct by successfully pressuring a network of complicit media powerbrokers. The Hollywood Reporter walked through some of the book’s most explosive allegations about Weinstein and his reported enablers, heavily implicating leadership at NBC News. (The network denies wrongdoing.)

According to THR, which was given an early look at “Catch and Kill,” Farrow reports that Weinstein remarkably sought to leverage his personal knowledge of Matt Lauer’s alleged misconduct to ensure NBC stopped Farrow’s investigation into his own behavior.

“Weinstein made it known to the network that he was aware of Lauer’s behavior and capable of revealing it,” Farrow reportedly writes, further claiming Weinstein collaborated with National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. to gather dirt on Lauer that would pressure NBC out of publishing the reporting. NBC denied to THR that it was aware of threats from AMI or “anyone else.” (“Ma[king] it known” would not necessarily involve an explicit “threat.”)

Another of Farrow’s allegations involves Hillary Clinton. Here’s more from THR:

Weinstein also attempted to leverage his long-term relationship with Hillary Clinton to pressure Farrow, he writes. In summer 2017, while Farrow was trying to lock down an interview with Clinton for his foreign policy book — while also still working on the Weinstein story — he received a call from Clinton’s publicist, Nick Merrill, who told him that the ‘big story’ Farrow was working on was a ‘concern for us.’

Clinton in 2017 denied knowledge of Weinstein’s misconduct, although conceded she would have considered him a friend before learning of the allegations. The former secretary of state accepted tens of thousands of dollars in donations from Weinstein over the years, and so did other top Democrats.

Farrow, according to THR,  “uncovers seven allegations of workplace sexual misconduct by Lauer that seem to contradict the network’s stance that management had no knowledge of his behavior as well as seven nondisclosure agreements — many with hush-money payouts — to accusers of Lauer and others at NBC.”

He also “portrays a network slow-walking a big break as Weinstein both threatened legal action and worked to ingratiate himself with NBC executives via deals and projects,” the outlet reported.

“NBC maintains that Farrow did not have a single accuser on the record, but Farrow writes that NBC stymied his ability to get accusers on the record by citing a potential legal claim of ‘tortious interference’ — which, it argued, could be triggered when one party entices another to break the kind of NDA many Weinstein accusers had signed,” THR noted.

The emergent picture is one of a major news network hindering credible and important reporting to protect a powerful, sick man—a man who may have successfully used his connections with the leaders of that network in a self-defense campaign. Farrow, for instance, claims Weinstein “was given assurances by executives that he was no longer working on the story for NBC,” and that the mogul, optimistic he could also suppress a forthcoming New York Times story, bragged, “If I can get a network to kill a story, how hard can a newspaper be?”

Unfortunately, this is all complicated by Farrow’s work on a story that should never have seen the light of day, irresponsibly advancing absurd allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. His book, however, appears to be very well-sourced, reportedly with plenty of new documentation and interviews. That said, the truth of how NBC handled allegations against Weinstein (and Lauer) remains a he-said he-said between Farrow and executives.

But “Catch and Kill” is asking us again to ponder the moral bankruptcy of our elites, particularly in the news media, and still in the midst of a populist moment. In this case, it’s not about a president or former vice president and Ukraine: the allegations are about rich and powerful Americans protecting rich and powerful American predators.

By the way, all this is unfolding at a time when elites insist every day on moralizing from their corporate pulpits. We would be deeply unwise to underestimate the effects stories like these have on public trust in institutions and their leaders.