NBC News president pushes back at allegations in Farrow book: 'We have no secrets and nothing to hide'

NBC News president pushes back at allegations in Farrow book: 'We have no secrets and nothing to hide'
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NBC News President Noah Oppenheim is vigorously pushing back against bombshell accusations made in investigative journalist Ronan Farrow's new book, saying the company has "no secrets and nothing to hide."

"Matt LauerMatthew (Matt) Todd LauerComcast shareholders reject proposals for outside sexual harassment investigation at NBC Ronan Farrow fires back at Matt Lauer 'shoddy journalism' accusation: 'Just wrong' Megyn Kelly calls independent Tara Reade interview the 'wave of the future' MORE's actions were abhorrent, and the anger and sadness he caused continue to this day. As we've said since the moment he was fired, his abuses should never have happened. Ronan Farrow's book takes that undeniable fact and twists it into a lie — alleging we were a 'company with a lot of secrets.' We have no secrets and nothing to hide," Oppenheim writes in a lengthy memo sent to staff obtained by The Hill on Monday.

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"Now that we’ve read Farrow’s book, it’s clear — his smear rests on the allegation that NBC’s management knew about and took steps to hide Matt Lauer’s misconduct before his firing in November of 2017," Oppenheim continues. "Without that, he has no basis on which to rest his second conspiracy theory — that his Harvey Weinstein reporting was squashed to protect Lauer."

"Farrow alleges there were employees who reported Lauer’s behavior prior to November of 2017 and were paid settlements to silence them. Not only is this false, the so-called evidence Farrow uses in his book to support the charge collapses under the slightest scrutiny," the NBC News president adds.

Oppenheim's memo also shares an analysis conducted by Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal officials who reviewed the book and the referenced agreements.

"The only three examples we can find that Farrow alleges are Lauer-related before 2017, with even minimal detail, involve employees who by their own admission made no complaint to management, and whose departure agreements were unrelated to Lauer and completely routine," the analysis reads.

"I feel absolutely terrible that these three employees were subjected to Matt Lauer’s horrific behavior, but the facts do not support Farrow’s allegation of a 'cover-up,' and he offers no further evidence," Oppenheim adds. "In fact, [Kim] Harris and the Legal team have determined that nothing in the book undermines any of the conclusions of the May 2018 investigation conducted by NBCUniversal in the wake of Lauer’s firing. There is no evidence of any reports of Lauer's misconduct before his firing, no settlements, no 'hush money' — no way we have found that NBC's current leadership could have been aware of his misdeeds in the past."

Farrow's highly anticipated "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators" will be released on Tuesday.

The book has already made headlines with reporting on new allegations from an NBC News employee who alleges Lauer raped her in a hotel room at the Sochi Olympics. The former "Today" anchor has denied the allegations, saying it was a consensual affair.

Farrow told ABC News on Friday that he has seen a paper trail of documents that show "multiple secret settlements and non-disclosures" were struck by NBC News with women making sexual misconduct allegations against Lauer.

"What we show in this book, with a paper trail, with documents, was that there were multiple secret settlements and non-disclosures being struck with women at NBC News," Farrow said on "Good Morning America." 

NBC News also pushed back on Farrow's claim of multiple settlements in a Friday statement.

"The first time we learned about Matt Lauer's sexual misconduct in the workplace was the night of November 27, 2017 and he was fired in 24 hours. Any suggestion that we knew prior to that evening, paid any 'hush money,' or tried to cover up any aspect of Lauer's appalling behavior is absolutely false," the statement reads.

"NBCU's legal team has done an exhaustive search of available records and conducted dozens of interviews of past and present staff, and uncovered no claims or settlements relating to allegations of inappropriate conduct by Matt Lauer that pre-date his firing. Only following his termination did we reach agreements with two women who had come forward for the very first time and those women have always been free to share their stories about Lauer with anyone they choose," it adds.

Farrow's book, which sits at the top of Amazon's best-seller list one day ahead of its release, is expected to be one of the top-selling books of the year.