Ronan Farrow fired back at NBC saying the embattled news division produced “numerous false or misleading statements” when defending the Peacock Network’s handling of his Harvey Weinstein reporting. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist said he was “blocked from further reporting.”
Farrow’s statement came hours after NBC News chairman Andy Lack released a 10-page memo, complete with a cover letter and table of contents, addressing allegations by a former NBC News producer – who was working with Farrow on the Weinstein probe –that they were ordered to kill the report following directions from "the very highest levels at NBC."
“I’ve avoided commenting on the specifics of NBC’s role in the Weinstein story to keep the focus on the women and their allegations. But executives there have now produced a memo that contains numerous false or misleading statements, so I’ll say briefly: their list of sources is incomplete and omits women who were either identified in the NBC story or offered to be,” Farrow wrote.
Lack’s memo fought back against allegations that he tried to kill the story, labeling talk about the network’s handling of the report "an unusual situation for a news division." Farrow’s former producer, Rich McHugh, has said that he wasn’t interviewed for NBC’s report. Weinstein’s accuser Emily Nestor has also contradicted NBC’s memo.
“The suggestion to take the story to another outlet was first raised by NBC, not me, and I took them up on it only after it became clear that I was being blocked from further reporting. The story was twice cleared and deemed ‘reportable’ by legal and standards only to be blocked by executives who refused to allow us to seek comment from Harvey Weinstein,” Farrow wrote. “I loved my time at NBC. It’s a place filled with talented, dedicated journalists, many of whom have reached out to me in frustration. They are owed an honest accounting of what happened.”
Farrow, who is working on a book that will detail his side of the story, concluded the statement by saying, “There’ll be more to say at the right time.”
NBC News continues to claim that Farrow did not have a victim or witness willing to go on the record and the reporting “wasn’t fit for broadcast.” Industry insiders have wondered why Farrow wasn’t allowed to post a print story on NBC News’ website in the meantime, but the celebrity scion ultimately took his reporting to the prestigious New Yorker — where it helped launch the #MeToo movement and won the coveted Pulitzer Prize.
Lack has said there were no ulterior motives to punting the story, but there is widespread speculation that NBC News President Noah Oppenheim – who moonlights as a Hollywood screenwriter – didn’t want to upset a Hollywood powerhouse such as Weinstein. Others have speculated that Lack's NBC News had a “glass house” problem, as the network’s biggest star, Matt Lauer, was fired amid sexual misconduct allegations shortly after the Weinstein story broke.
NBC famously declared that NBC didn’t do anything wrong when handling Lauer after executives refused to launch an independent investigation. Instead, an in-house review found that management was completely oblivious to Lauer’s behavior.
Fox News’ Matt Richardson contributed to this report.