NBC News chief: 'At no point' did network obstruct Ronan Farrow's Weinstein reporting

NBC News chief: 'At no point' did network obstruct Ronan Farrow's Weinstein reporting
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NBC News chairman Andy Lack maintained in a memo to staff on Monday that the network did not obstruct Ronan Farrow’s efforts to report on an exposé of sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

"Contrary to recent allegations, at no point did NBC obstruct Farrow’s reporting or 'kill' an interview,” Lack wrote in the memo, which NBC released to the press.

“Immediately after Farrow had parted ways with us, he asked for NBC cameras to record another anonymous Weinstein victim,” Lack continued. “Farrow conducted the interview but we declined the request for a crew because we believed filming another anonymous interview would not get us any closer to clearing the threshold to broadcast, and because he had already informed us he was pursuing the story for another outlet.”

The memo comes after Rich McHugh, a former producer at NBC who worked with Farrow, told The New York Times last week that “the very highest levels of NBC" shut down Farrow’s Weinstein story and prevented Farrow and McHugh from interviewing a woman who alleged that Weinstein raped her.

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NBC News denied McHugh's claims in statements to the Times and The Hill last week, saying that the story was not reportable at the time Farrow decided to leave the network and publish his reporting in The New Yorker.

“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.”

Lack provided a similar defense of the network in his memo to staffers on Monday, writing that NBC News “did not have a single victim or witness willing to go on the record.” 

“So we had nothing yet fit to broadcast,” Lack wrote. “But Farrow did not agree with that standard. That’s where we parted ways — agreeing to his request to take his reporting to a print outlet that he said was ready to move forward immediately.”

Lack also denied that interference by Weinstein contributed to the network’s editorial decisionmaking, saying that the network either ignored Weinstein and his attorneys when they called or provided them “a boilerplate commitment to allow them to comment if and when something was ready for broadcast.”

“None of this was kept secret from Farrow,” Lack wrote. “None of it was any different from the calls we receive on every other difficult story our investigative unit regularly breaks. And none of it played any role in our decision-making.”