HArvey Weinstein’s film empire collapsed in October 2017 following two presentations by The New York Times’ Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, and Ronan Farrow’s damning investigation report in The New Yorker.
Over the following months, the Miramax mogul was branded a monster after an overwhelming number of women opened up about how he harassed, assaulted and sexually raped them, which ultimately led to his 2020 conviction and conviction. to 23 years in prison.
At least 100 women, including actresses Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lupita Nyong’o and Uma Thurman, detailed their experiences with the serial predator. Their stories, along with those of the 63 brave women who accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault, helped spark the global #MeToo movement that finally sought to hold powerful Hollywood men accountable for their heinous actions.
But there was a lot more to the story behind Farrow’s Pulitzer-winning work – something the reporter isn’t about to let his former NBC News bosses forget.
In his new HBO docuseries Catch and Kill: the podcast tapes, which premieres on July 12, Farrow isn’t shy about accusing the network of getting closer to Weinstein and derailing his story, but is hesitant to connect the dots as he did in his 2019 book of the same name. .
Farrow claimed that senior NBC News officials bowed irresponsibly to Weinstein because he not only personally pressured executives to kill the story and threatened to bury the network in lawsuits, but he also had used the then private sexual assault allegations against Today show host Matt Lauer as leverage.
long time New Yorker Journalist Ken Auletta, who previously did not file a sexual assault complaint against Weinstein Stick in a profile of the producer in 2002, says the words “prophetic” directly in the docuseries. “If NBC, which has the evidence, doesn’t go ahead with this story, it’s a scandal,” he told Farrow in a previously filmed interview for Farrow’s Weinstein story when she was at NBC.
In the HBO docuseries, which give a behind-the-scenes look at Farrow’s reporting process, Farrow voices his grievances to NBC News early on, detailing in Episode 2 how he began to circle Weinstein’s story.
At the time, Farrow was working freelance for the NBC News Investigative Unit, after his show with MSNBC was canceled. He has reported on the road, covering stories with producer Rich McHugh.
Farrow was eager to make a series covering abuse in Hollywood, presumably after hearing a variety of horror stories about the industry over the years, given his movie star mom Mia Farrow and director dad Woody Allen, himself an accused pedophile.
But his arguments continued to be shot down, the network seemingly disgusted on the topics of race and pedophilia. But Farrow continued, focusing his next story on the “Hollywood casting couch,” where women are forced to give sexual favors to powerful men in order to advance their careers.
This time, NBC News chairman Noah Oppenheim was interested and even suggested that Farrow contact actress Rose McGowan, who had tweeted about a traumatic assault by a powerful studio boss over the years.
Over the next eight months, the story expanded to include not only McGowan’s claims against Weinstein, but the accounts of several others as well. He has cultivated more and more sources that could speak to the model of sexual harassment, assault and silencing of his victims with significant cash settlements.
Towards the end of his reporting process, and after obtaining a revealing 2015 audio recording of Weinstein who allegedly admitted he had groped Filipino-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, Farrow and McHugh traveled to Oppenheim to recount the story. history. That’s when NBC News got nervous, according to Farrow in Catch and kill.
Eventually, after several back and forth and thinly veiled suggestions to put the story on ice, Farrow and McHugh had the final say on August 8, 2017: They were to stop reporting on Weinstein for NBC News.
Fed up, Farrow resumed reporting at The New Yorkerby David Remnick and Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn. After spending the following weeks fine-tuning his plan, undergoing a thorough fact-check, and making a tense appeal with Weinstein and his attorneys, Farrow’s extraordinary report has been released.
He made no secret of his disdain for NBC News executives when he appeared on MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s show days after it was posted to talk about the story and the fact that it didn’t. would not have lived up to the network.
“I walked through the door at the New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece which should have been public, ”he lamented. “In fact, NBC has repeatedly determined it to be reportable.”
(NBC News has denied this, with Oppenheim saying The New York Times: “Farrow’s efforts to defame NBC News are clearly not motivated by the search for the truth, but by a grinding ax. It is built on a series of distortions, confusing deadlines and glaring inaccuracies. “The network further alleged that”[Farrow] has yet to have a single victim or witness of a misconduct by Weinstein who was ready to be identified “while he was at NBC. Farrow refutes these claims, and no story or book version of Catch and kill were forced to make corrections.)
It would take two years for the slippery details surrounding the closed-door conversations that kept Weinstein’s story from moving forward on NBC News to be made public in Farrow’s book.
“He said he learned from sources with first-hand knowledge that three senior NBC executives had as many as 15 conversations with Weinstein, assuring him that the reporting was cut short.“
He said he learned from sources with first-hand knowledge that three senior NBC executives had as many as 15 conversations with Weinstein, assuring him that the reporting was cut short.
Former NBCUniversal chairman Steve Burke reportedly told another executive that the network couldn’t move forward with the Farrow story because he “would be getting those calls from Harvey for next year,” according to the docuseries.
And Andy Lack, former president of NBC News, allegedly had a phone call with Weinstein where the film producer complained about Farrow, calling him Lack’s boy, and said the claims he was investigating were all dated. 1990s. “We all did that,” Weinstein allegedly claimed.
“I’m very clear that Harvey was besieging NBC,” Farrow said. Hollywood journalist in 2019. “I don’t mean they were all dying to get those calls. But I think what’s inappropriate is the way they continued to respond to those calls, and in some cases to meetings, and engage with him in a warm and friendly manner which then went on. hidden when they killed the story.
As McHugh said for Vanity Show, NBC News executives “have behaved more like members of Weinstein’s public relations team than the journalists they claim to be.”
The deepest Farrow dug, the most comfortable of NBC’s top brass with Weinstein, according to Catch and kill. Oppenheim, who flirted with a Hollywood screenwriting career, writing the 2016 film Jackie with Natalie Portman and The Divergent Series: Allegiant, had even shared a table with Weinstein for a Time magazines gala.
Shortly after Farrow left NBC News due to the network killing his story, Weinstein sent a congratulatory email to Oppenheim regarding the new morning show from former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, with a bottle of Gray Goose vodka, depending on the Catch and kill delivered.
But the biggest bomb came when Farrow claimed Weinstein knew about serious allegations of sexual assault against Matt Lauer and how NBC paid its accusers. According to Catch and kill, Weinstein allegedly used this information as leverage against NBC.
“Weinstein let the network know he was aware of Lauer’s behavior and able to reveal it,” Farrow writes in Catch and kill.
Coincidentally, a month after Weinstein’s story broke, NBC News fired Lauer, with Lack saying two days earlier that the network’s HR had “received a detailed complaint from a coworker about inappropriate sexual behavior on the phone. Lauer’s workplace. The former host of the morning show denied any allegation of sexual assault.
Meanwhile, Oppenheim, who headed Today, insisted to the NBC News newsroom that he was not aware of any allegations of sexual misconduct against Lauer. “There have been no allegations made internally for 20 years in terms of HR channels and any place where there would be a record of such a thing,” he said, according to Vanity Show.
But in his book, Farrow included several other testimonials from former NBC employees who filed sexual harassment complaints against Lauer, saying they informed their network supervisors, which NBC has repeatedly denied.
Once the dust settled, Lack announced that he was leaving NBC News in May 2020 and Burke announced that he would retire in August 2020. Oppenheim remains in his post as chairman of NBC News, although he has been dismissed. for promotion as president of MSNBC and NBC. New .
With Farrow devoting a lot of time in his new HBO docuseries to NBC News’s deep moral failing, it’s clear that he will never let NBC live on killing a story that helped shape a cultural movement.