MSNBC host told viewers NBC management her bosses allowed Ronan Farrows reporting on Harvey Weinstein to get away
The MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has launched a stinging attack on her own bosses, accusing senior news executives at parent company NBC of being complicit in shielding Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer from accusations of sexual misconduct.
Maddow told viewers NBC management allowed Ronan Farrows reporting on Weinstein to get away, after Farrow took his work on the major #MeToo-era cases to the New Yorker, from where he won a Pulitzer prize.
It would be impossible for me to overstate the amount of consternation in this building, Maddow said. The allegations about the behavior of Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer are gut-wrenching at baseline, no matter who you are or what your connection is to this story.
But accusations that people in positions of authority in this building may have been complicit in some way of shielding those guys from accountability, those accusations are very, very hard to stomach.
This month, Farrow published Catch and Kill, a book which details his work on high-profile stories at the heart of the #MeToo era, exposing prominent men, often in the media, to allegations of sexual harrassment, misconduct and assault.
The author has accused executives, including the NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, of knowing about allegations against Lauer but failing to act on them before the anchor was fired in November 2017.
Oppenheim has rejected the claim and denied accusers were handed enhanced severance payouts in exchange for silence.
Not only is this false, the so-called evidence Farrow uses in his book to support the charge collapses under the slightest scrutiny, Oppenheim wrote to NBC staff, rejecting the allegation reporting on Weinstein was squashed to protect Lauer.
Maddows outburst came as NBC announced it would release former employees from non-disclosure agreements.
Any former NBC News employee who believes that they cannot disclose their experience with sexual harassment as a result of a confidentiality or non-disparagement provision in their separation agreement should contact NBC Universal and we will release them from that perceived obligation, a statement read.
Speaking on Maddows show, Farrow said the network deserved praise for the decision and that many women he had spoken to while writing his book felt constrained and agonized by confidentially agreements.
I think this will go a long way towards making them feel that they can discuss this openly, he said.
Farrow has maintained that NBC executives ordered him to stop reporting on Weinsteins alleged behaviour because Weinstein threatened to expose allegations of sexual misconduct against Lauer, who was subsequently accused of raping an NBC staffer at the 2014 winter Olympics.
Weinstein and Lauer deny all allegations of non-consensual sex.
Farrow maintains that senior executives at NBC knew of the allegations against Lauer and the enhanced severance payments.
This is a documented pattern of secret settlements in this company, he told Maddow.