Nolte: Farrow Book Alleges Deeply Compromised NBC News Protected Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein attends The Weinstein Company and Lexus Present Lexus Short Films at the Directors Guild of America Theater on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Ronan Farrow’s upcoming Catch and Kill exposes a NBC News culture that was so corrupted by its own relationships and scandals, Harvey Weinstein was able to get the network to kill Farrow’s bombshell report about him.

Farrow claims that while he was working for NBC News and putting together the reporting that would eventually run in the New Yorker, end Weinstein’s career, win a Pulitzer, and launch the #MeToo movement, the movie mogul successfully lobbied top executives at NBC to kill the story.

Here’s a breakdown as told by the far-left Hollywood Reporter’s advance copy of the book:

  1. Matt Lauer as Leverage

Farrow claims Weinstein knew all about Matt Lauer’s alleged sexual misconduct and threatened to expose the NBC star if the network didn’t kill Farrow’s story:

“Weinstein made it known to the network that he was aware of Lauer’s behavior and capable of revealing it,” Farrow writes in his long-awaited new book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators (Little, Brown and Company, Oct. 15). Citing anonymous sources at NBC and AMI, Farrow, 31, claims that Weinstein was using the Enquirer‘s accumulated dirt on the Today show star’s alleged workplace misconduct to pressure NBC executives to kill Farrow’s long-gestating Weinstein exposé.

NBC denies being threatened with Lauer. Nevertheless, Lauer’s alleged behavior (including a just-revealed anal rape allegation) would eventually destroy the popular Today Show anchor. In fact, it was Farrow’s reporting on Weinstein that would launch the #MeToo movement that steamrolled Lauer, among dozens of others in Hollywood and the elite media.

  1. NBC News Allegedly Covered Up a Number of Secret Payouts

Farrow further alleges that NBC News felt especially vulnerable about Lauer due to a number of secret payouts involving the Today anchor’s alleged misconduct; payouts that, if true, proved the network knew about Lauer long before he was fired in November of 2017:

More explosively, Farrow 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. Multiple Lauer accusers, including the woman whose complaint to NBC’s human resources department resulted in Lauer’s ouster, tell their stories in detail.

NBC News denies it knew anything about the allegations against Lauer prior to the day he was fired.

That is difficult for many to believe, though. After all, we have had story after story about Lauer’s behavior being an open secret at NBC News and the media in general.

  1. NBC Universal Was Eager to do Business with Weinstein

Catch and Kill shows just how deep Weinstein’s connections ran within NBC and reveals his aggressive effort to court additional executives. As Farrow gathered sources, Weinstein pitched Ron Meyer, the NBCUniversal vice chairman, on a home video and VOD deal for Weinstein Co. content. Weinstein Co. COO David Glasser’s team “began discussing the finer points with two home entertainment executives at NBCUniversal,” Farrow writes. In September 2017, Meyer wrote to Weinstein, “I look forward to us being in business together.” While the interactions could be viewed as routine business (and the deal never materialized), Farrow casts them in a more jaundiced light. For Weinstein, he says, “it was carrots and sticks.”

  1. NBC News Executives Took Weinstein’s Calls: ‘Harvey, say no more. We’ll look into it.’

You do not do this when your  own reporter is working on an exposé:

In one early call to [NBC News and MSNBC Chairman Andrew] Lack in spring 2017, Weinstein complained that the accusations against him were ancient history. “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.” Lack does not engage on this point but says, “Harvey, say no more. We’ll look into it.”

Things are about to get real interesting…

  1. Andrew Lack Has His Own History of Office Affairs

Catch and Kill delves into Lack’s own history of office affairs when he was executive producer of CBS newsmagazine West 57th — one with anchor Jane Wallace (previously reported) and a second with associate producer Jennifer Laird, who would go on to a career in politics as mayor of Nyack, New York. Laird tells Farrow that things became “extremely uncomfortable” after the relationship ended. “There’s clearly a reason you don’t get involved with your boss.” Lack denies taking any retaliatory action.

This next one is going to blow your mind…

  1. The NBC Producer In Charge of Farrow’s Story Was Severely Compromised

NBC allegedly paid out a near-million dollar harassment claim for the executive producer put in charge of vetting Farrow’s story!

In early August 2017, NBC News president Oppenheim asked for a review of Farrow and McHugh’s Weinstein reporting by a team of producers from Dateline, including executive producer David Corvo. Farrow says he had a perfectly cordial meeting with Corvo. He later learned that the next day, NBC paid nearly $1 million to a woman who had made a harassment complaint against Corvo years before (according to Farrow, in the halls of NBC, such payoffs have become known as “enhanced severance”).

“David Corvo is appointed to vet the Weinstein story,” Farrow says. “And the next day they pay out almost a million dollars to cover up a claim of harassment against him. That is not an appropriate corporate practice when you are a news outlet.”

NBC doesn’t deny the payout, only that it had anything to do with sexual harassment.

  1. NBC Allegedly Fired Farrow and Assured Weinstein the Story was Dead

Though his contract with NBC News would not expire until October 2017, Farrow says by September, Weinstein was given assurances by executives that he was no longer working on the story for NBC. Farrow cites a phone call in which Griffin told Weinstein the story was not running as well as a call between Weinstein attorney David Boies and Lack during which Lack told Boies: “We’ve told Harvey we’re not doing a story. If we decide to do a story, we’ll tell him.” Weinstein was ecstatic[.]

  1. NBC Allegedly Blacklisted Farrow

Farrow believes that he is blacklisted from NBC News and MSNBC. Only Maddow has had the clout to flout this ban… NBC’s executives deny Farrow is banned, but multiple sources tell THR that their attempts to book Farrow have been quashed.

NBC has always claimed it passed on Farrow’s Harvey Weinstein story because the story was never nailed down, but this does not make sense after you learn Farrow obtained audio tape of Weinstein admitting he groped a model. The audio was taken secretly as part of a police sting operation, and on its own, without anything else, it is not only a legitimate story, it would have been a huge story no legitimate news organization would ever pass on.

 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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