Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill, a memoir about his investigative journalism, alleges that NBC may have tried to halt his investigation of Harvey Weinstein to protect Matt Lauer, former host of Today. Last week, the shocking details of the situation first came to light. After getting their hands on the book, NBC has responded to Farrow’s claims.
A memo sent out to NBC employees last week reads:
Now that we’ve read Farrow’s book, it’s clear — his smear rests on the allegation that NBC’s management knew about and took steps to hide Matt Lauer’s misconduct before his firing in November of 2017…Without that, he has no basis on which to rest his second conspiracy theory — that his Harvey Weinstein reporting was squashed to protect Lauer.
Noah Oppenheim, NBC News President, has adamantly disputed Farrow’s Claims. Via LA Times.
This story revolves around one woman that stepped forward before Lauer was fired: Brooke Nevils. Nevils filed a complaint against Lauer alleging he had raped her in a hotel room in Sochi, Russia during NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Olympics. Farrow’s book claims NBC executives knew about abusive patterns in Lauer’s behavior before it all came to a boil following Nevils’ complaint. Essentially, Farrow accused NBC of sweeping Lauer’s misconduct under the rug:
[NBC] brokered nondisclosure agreements with at least seven women who experienced alleged harassment or discrimination within the company. The agreements also alleged harassment or discrimination within the company … in most cases, the women received substantial payouts that parties involved in the transactions said were disproportionate to any conventional compensation for departing the company.
NBC has officially denied that they tried to cover up any of Lauer’s misconduct, pointing to the internal investigation they carried out in May of 2018 that found that no evidence of claims or settlements related to Lauer’s misconduct. NBC notes that the cases Farrow cites “involve employees who, by their own admission, made no formal complaint, and whose departures were completely routine.” Nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreements are commonplace in the television industry, but the circumstances surrounding these cases are not the best.
Image via People
It seems the crux of the issue is whether Harvey Weinstein actually did put pressure on NBC executives. If Weinstein did use his knowledge of Lauer’s misconduct as leverage to cover up his own crimes, then Farrow’s conspiracy is confirmed in a way, since NBC higher-ups must have known what was going on then.
For now, the circumstances surrounding Lauer’s departure and the authenticity of Farrow’s new book have been significantly muddied. Catch and Kill has been marketed as an exposé of the lies and conspiracy to protect predators in media. Though NBC questions the authenticity of Farrow’s journalism, readers will ultimately have to decide for themselves who to side with.
Featured image via Fox News