NBC News chief defends network's handling of Weinstein story

Ronan_Farrow_2012

Ronan Farrow in Ukrain in 2012

In The New Yorker story, several women spoke on the record about their encounters with Weinstein.

Asked why he filed the story with The New Yorker instead of NBC on Tuesday's The Rachel Maddow Show, Farrow sidestepped the question.

The gap between Farrow and NBC News has only served to draw more scrutiny to the news unit, which, for the second time in recent memory, has seen an important yet salacious story developed under its aegis break first at a rival. We didn't want to stand in his way and he took it to The New Yorker and did a ton more extraordinary work. The Times reported that McGowan received $100,000 in 1997, when she was 23, stemming from "an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival".

Weinstein has a phalanx of high-priced lawyers.

"I will say that over many years, many news organizations have circled this story and faced a great deal of pressure in doing so", Farrow told Maddow.

After The New York Times published an investigation last week detailing decades worth of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, the Hollywood executive threatened to sue the paper for defamation, with his attorney contending that the report relied on "mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report".

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The inference is that NBC News - which let The Washington Post scoop its own Donald Trump Access Hollywood video a year ago - knew about Weinstein and didn't have the courage to take him on.

A message sent to a Weinstein spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

And, Oppenheim made a point of reminding staff that NBC News had bankrolled much of Farrow's work on the piece, something of which, Oppenhein said, the company is "proud". "And it is not accurate to say it was not reportable and there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC". And while several of them would do so only anonymously - they consented to on-camera interviews with their identities disguised - there were two victims willing to go on the record with stories of harassment at the hands of the powerful Hollywood mogul.

Farrow said: "You would have to ask NBC and NBC executives about the details".

Ronan Farrow's piece about Harvey Weinstein has already been published, but that doesn't mean he's done talking about it.

Multiple sources told THR that Farrow's reporting was reviewed by NBC News' legal department and that Kim Harris, who as lead counsel for NBCUniversal reports to CEO Steve Burke, was also reviewing the material. This person did not speculate as to why the story did not move forward at NBC News. Farrow, a former MSNBC host and contributor to NBC News, was known to be originally reporting the story for NBC.

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