Rachel Maddow said that she and her staff have “independently confirmed” that NBC News executives told Ronan Farrow to put a “pause in any new reporting” on Harvey Weinstein, backing up a claim he makes in his new book Catch and Kill.
Maddow devoted her monologue on her MSNBC show on Friday to Farrow’s book, before he joined her as one of her guests.
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“We have independently confirmed that NBC News did that,” Maddow told viewers. “That that did happen. He was told to pause his reporting.”
In 2017, Farrow eventually took his story to The New Yorker, which published it. NBC News claimed that the story was not ready for air. But Maddow noted that it was just two months between the time that NBC News declined to air the story and when it was published in The New Yorker.
She also addressed another one of Farrow’s claims — that “there was a pattern at the company in terms of women making allegations against Matt Lauer and of being paid off and signing away their rights to speak about it, all before he was fired.”
She said that while NBC News denies this, “as we can tell, there has never been an independent investigation of that.”
Lauer’s firing as Today host was announced on Dec. 1, 2017.
“I have been through a lot of ups and downs in this company since I’ve been here,” Maddow said. “It would be impossible to overstate the amount of consternation around this issue.”
NBC News Chairman Andy Lack and NBC News President Noah Oppenheim have pushed back against claims made in Farrow’s book. Oppenheim issued a lengthy rebuttal letter the day before it was published, calling the book a “smear.” He also denied that NBC News sidelined Farrow’s reporting on Weinstein after the producer threatened to expose Lauer.
Maddow broke some news from the network’s parent, NBCUniversal. It announced that any former employee who believes they couldn’t discuss their sexual harassment experience can be released from any non-disparagement or non-disclosure agreement.
Maddow quoted a company spokesperson via a statement, “Any former NBC News employee who believes that they cannot disclose their experience with sexual harassment as a result of a confidentiality or non-disparagement provision in their separation agreement should contact NBCUniversal and we will release them from that perceived obligation.”
In his interview, Farrow said that the move by NBCUniversal was significant and gave some praise to the company.
One of Maddow’s colleagues, Chris Hayes, also devoted time to the Farrow book earlier this month and praised his reporting. That came just as NBC News executives were criticizing Farrow’s book.
One of Farrow’s other claims is that Matt Lauer allegedly raped a producer, who went on the record in the book. Lauer has claimed the encounter was consensual and pointed to an ongoing relationship.
Bruce Haring contributed to this report.