Ronan Farrow accuses NBC News of trying to kill his Harvey Weinstein story, network says "script was never ready for air"
Farrow, who was behind one of the biggest stories of our time, says that NBC News blocked his reporting on Weinstein.
A day after Ronan Farrow, the journalist who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Harvey Weinstein, took to Twitter to express his disappointment at the way NBC handled his investigation into claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault against the producer, the Comcast-owned network hit back at him, just stopping short of calling him a liar.
“Contrary to Farrow’s claims, his story was never cleared or approved for air by NBC News Legal or Standards,” the network said in a statement on Tuesday.
“While [Farrow] was told by his editors that several elements of the draft script were technically “reportable,” he was consistently advised that – even taken together – they were not yet sufficient to air a story alleging serial sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein without at least one victim or witness on the record,” the statement said. “Precisely because the script was never ready for air, no one in the NBC News Standards department ever reviewed it.”
After NBC News didn't run the story -- now saying it wasn’t ready for broadcast and lacked sources who would go before the camera -- Farrow took it to the New Yorker, which ran one extensive expose on Weinstein and others after another.
Farrow's tweet on Monday came after Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News wrote to his employees in an attempt to debate the accusations that the network had tried to get in the way of Farrow's reporting on Weinstein.
Farrow's statement on Twitter said, "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. Their list of sources is incomplete and omits women who were either identified to be in the NBC story or offered to be," he said.
He also responded to claims that Farrow had wanted to take the story to another publication, saying, "The suggestion to take the story to another outlet was first raised by NBC, not me,” Farrow said, "And I took them up on it only after it became clear that I was being blocked from further reporting." He also contested the claims that Lack had made, saying that "there was nothing fit to broadcast." He wrote, "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."
"I loved my time at NBC," Farrow said. "It's a placed [sic] filled with talented, dedicated journalists, many of whom have reached out to me in frustration. They are owed an honest accounting of what happened. There'll be more to say at the right time."
Megyn Kelly also went on air on Tuesday claiming that Rose McGowan had gone on record accusing Harvey Weinstein of rape and NBC News had held the interview for months. Kelly said, "Late last night, Rose McGowan and Rich McHugh, the former NBC producer, both challenged that assertion, telling 'Megyn Kelly Today' that McGowan did go on the record with NBC in February 2017, after that on-camera interview with Farrow, and that she did name Harvey Weinstein as her rapist."
She added, "There’s a lot to unpack. What we're seeing here is it McHugh… has now gone public with his accusations that NBC, he claims, blocked the story — NBC vehemently denying that, and saying they didn’t have anybody, they didn’t have anybody on the record…And Rose McGowan telling us that she was on the record for months and they didn’t use her statement. NBC saying if that’s true, it wasn’t communicated up the line. That’s a dispute between NBC and the reporters on the story, but this is getting really in the weeds and it’s getting really uncomfortable," she said on air. The said interview was from February 2017.
Responding to these claims, NBC News told Variety that the interview where she identified Weinstein "as her attacker on camera in the February 2017 interview," and that it "did not indicate" to his editors that he wanted to go ahead with the story on air.