NBC’s Andy Lack fires back at Ronan Farrow over Harvey Weinstein saga
NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack fired back Wednesday against journalist Ronan Farrow’s explosive claims that the network squelched his probe into Harvey Weinstein.
“It disappoints me to say that even with passage of time, Farrow’s account has become neither more accurate, nor more respectful of the dedicated colleagues he worked with here at NBC News. He uses a variety of tactics to paint a fundamentally untrue picture,’’ Lack seethed in a memo sent to staffers.
“Here are the essential and indisputable facts,’’ Lack wrote.
“NBC News assigned the Harvey Weinstein story to Ronan, we completely supported it over many months with resources — both financial and editorial.
“After seven months, without one victim or witness on the record, [Farrow] simply didn’t have a story that met our standard for broadcast nor that of any major news organization.
“Not willing to accept that standard and not wanting to get beaten by the New York Times, he asked to take his story to an outlet he claimed was ready to publish right away. Reluctantly, we allowed him to go ahead,’’ Lack wrote.
“Fifty-three days later, and five days after the New York Times did indeed break the story, [Farrow] published an article at the New Yorker that bore little resemblance to the reporting he had while at NBC News.”
Lack was responding to excerpts of Farrow’s new tome, “Catch and Kill,’’ that surfaced on The Hollywood Reporter’s website Wednesday.
Farrow wrote in the book that Weinstein fought to kill the exposé he was working on for NBC about the slew of sexual-assault allegations against the movie mogul. Farrow said Weinstein had threatened to publicize alleged misdeeds by the network’s then-star, Matt Lauer, if higher-ups didn’t kill the story.
Farrow’s new tome details allegations of rape against Lauer by former NBC producer Brooke Nevils.
Farrow said that in one phone call to Lack, Weinstein shrugged off the abuse claims against him.
“It was the ’90s. You know? Did I go out with an assistant or two that I shouldn’t have, did I sleep with one or two of them, sure. We all did that,” Weinstein allegedly told the NBC chief.
Lack allegedly responded, “Harvey, say no more. We’ll look into it.”
Farrow added of Lack and other NBC honchos, “I think what is inappropriate is the way in which they continued to take those calls and … to engage with him in a warm and friendly way that was then concealed as they killed the story.”
Weinstein would go on to be accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, by dozens of women and currently faces criminal charges in several cases.
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