Ronan Farrow’s ex-producer accuses NBC of putting brakes on Harvey Weinstein reporting

Ronan Farrow’s ex-producer accuses NBC of putting brakes on Harvey Weinstein reporting
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A former NBC producer who worked with journalist Ronan Farrow on the reporter's exposé of sexual assault and misconduct allegations surrounding Harvey Weinstein is accusing NBC News executives of resisting the pair's efforts to report the story.

Rich McHugh, a producer who has since left the network, told The New York Times for a story published Thursday night that “the very highest levels of NBC" worked to shut down the story before Farrow eventually left the network and published the story under a byline in The New Yorker.

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“Three days before Ronan and I were going to head to L.A. to interview a woman with a credible rape allegation against Harvey Weinstein, I was ordered to stop, not to interview this woman,” McHugh told the Times. “And to stand down on the story altogether.”

McHugh told the Times that the "resistance" he experienced from NBC News executives amounted to “a massive breach of journalistic integrity.”

“Externally, I had Weinstein associates calling me repeatedly. I knew that Weinstein was calling NBC executives directly. One time it even happened when we were in the room,” he said.

NBC News rejected McHugh's claims in statements to the Times and The Hill, arguing that Farrow and McHugh's story was not reportable at the time that Farrow decided to leave the network.

“We repeatedly made clear to Ronan and Rich McHugh the standard for publication is we needed at least one credible on-the-record victim or witness of misconduct,” NBC News president Noah Oppenheim said. “And we never met that threshold while Ronan was reporting for us.”

"The assertion that NBC News tried to kill the Weinstein story while Ronan Farrow was at NBC News, or even more ludicrously, after he left NBC News, is an outright lie," a spokesman added to The Hill in an email.

"In August of 2017, after NBC News assigned Ronan Farrow to investigate Weinstein and supported his reporting efforts for eight months, Farrow believed his reporting was ready for air. NBC disagreed because, unfortunately, he did not yet have a single victim of -- or witness to -- misconduct by Weinstein who was willing to be identified," the statement continued, adding that Farrow chose to leave the network without meeting resistance.

Farrow appeared to dispute Oppenheim's characterization of the report in an interview with MSNBC last year in which he claimed that the piece was "reportable" and should have been aired earlier.

“I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier,” Farrow said.

In a statement to the Times responding to McHugh's claims, Farrow praised his former producer and offered words of support.

"Rich is a fantastic producer and journalist. He’s a person of integrity, and he cared deeply about the investigative stories we worked on together and the importance of seeing them through," Farrow said.