After killing Harvey Weinstein story, NBC faces the heat for rejecting yet another MeToo story
After refusing to go ahead with the Harvey Weinstein story, NBC has once again overlooked a story involving sexual allegation charges against Russell Simmons and AJ Calloway
NBC News is once again under fire after the network spiked another story of sexual abuse against a powerful entertainment industry personality. In the story, former model Sil Lai Abrams had alleged that she was raped by the music mogul Russell Simmons and the host of 'Extra' AJ Calloway.
The 47-year-old former model, who is now an author and a domestic violence activist, had revealed the story through fictional characterization of the two figures in her 2017 book 'No More Drama' where she stated that she was sexually assaulted by the two men almost 12 years apart. The "Ronald" whom she names in her book as the "well-known for only dating models and for his hard-partying lifestyle funded by his very successful record label" is actually Russel Simmons, whereas the "well-spoken B-list celebrity Ray" is AJ Calloway who she alleges had sexually assaulted her in 2006. However, both men had denied any such allegations.
Now, in a new story in Hollywood Reporter, Abrams says NBC News tried to suppress the story at various levels before refusing to go ahead with it.
Abrams had approached journalist/ MSNBC host Joy Reid in an attempt to help her story reach out to the public. However, the story was immediately silenced by the NBC executives, which is apparently the pattern under the NBC News Chairman Andy Lack. The report quotes Abrams saying, "I needed to tell my story, to say his name out loud, to let people know what he had done to me."
However, MSNBC standards and legal departments help up the process last December making Abrams go through "a grinding vetting process." The process immediately dragged on for a longer period, as Reid informed Abrams the network was "slow-walking the story with idiotic requests". By April, apparently, the network was no longer responding to any of the journalist's queries.
NBC reportedly said, "When MSNBC pursues any investigative story our mission is always to be as thorough as we can, to scrutinize sources and corroborate information before we report. Anything else falls short of our journalistic standards."
However, this isn't the first time that the network has overlooked a story involving any well-known personality. Its infamous delay in revealing the Harvey Weinstein story had also received several criticisms, as it was killed for a show that would have aired on the broadcast network's 'Dateline'.
The Wrap quotes NBC's president Noah Oppenheim saying, "The incredible story that we all read yesterday was not the story that we were looking at when we made our judgment several months ago... The notion that we would try to cover for a powerful person is deeply offensive to all of us.”
Journalist Ronan Farrow's story was however taken up by The New Yorker, "I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier and immediately, obviously, The New Yorker recognized that... And it is not accurate to say it was not reportable and there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC.”
Fox News reports that NBC's reluctance to cover any story related to famous figures is nothing new, as it has sat in two of the biggest stories. First, Farrow's investigation on Weinstein and the second was the 'Access Hollywood' tape of Donald Trump talking disparagingly about women in 2016.
While Farrow's story went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, Washington Post's David Farenthold won the award in 2017 after he reported on the 'Access Hollywood' story. The report also states that the NBC executives were terrified about Farrow's forthcoming book 'Catch and Kill', in which the journalist will apparently reveal the inner workings of the network.
An insider told Fox News that Farrow is expected to allege that embattled NBC News President Noah Oppenheim was in direct contact with Weinstein about the story, something he let slip out in a conversation with Farrow.