NBC Chairman Andy Lack has pushed back on claims that NBC executives tried to torpedo Ronan Farrow’s reporting on the Harvey Weinstein abuse allegations in a letter to employees on Monday, September 3rd.
In the letter, which addresses claims made by Farrow’s former producer Rich McHugh, Lack states that, “We spent eight months pursuing the story but at the end of that time, NBC News — like many others before us — still did not have a single victim or witness willing to go on the record. (Rose McGowan — the only woman Farrow interviewed who was willing to be identified — had refused to name Weinstein and then her lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter.) So we had nothing yet fit to broadcast. 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 continues, “We regret the deterioration of NBC’s relationship with Ronan, and genuinely wish we had found a path to move forward together. That is why, in August of 2017, when Farrow objected to his editors’ conclusion we convened an independent group of the most experienced investigative journalists in our organization to review his material with fresh eyes. We asked them — tell us what, if anything, we can broadcast. But their conclusion was unequivocal — this story is not ready for air. (Further, they found several elements in Farrow’s draft script which did not hold up to scrutiny — described in the accompanying document.) It was Farrow’s decision, in the midst of this process, to pursue the story elsewhere.”
McHugh responded to Lack’s statement in a tweet suggesting that Lack’s statement “only raises more questions than answers”.
NBC recently published a memo and “fact sheet” from Andy Lack regarding their handling of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault story that was never aired. Here is my response: pic.twitter.com/H9RbsW78jB
— Rich McHugh (@RichMcHughNBC) September 4, 2018
Ronan Farrow, who has been reluctant to weigh in on the drama, has put out a statement refuting certain claims in Lack’s memo while teasing that “They’ll be more to say at the right time.”
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) September 4, 2018