Ronan Farrow and NBC have two different versions of what went wrong with the Harvey Weinstein story Farrow was originally working on for the network months ago that wound up being published Tuesday by The New Yorker.
The Daily Beast reports that Farrow, a freelance NBC News correspondent, was investigating the sexual misconduct piece for months. In the wake of the article’s publication in The New Yorker, The Daily Beast says Farrow “initiated a scuffle with the Peacock Network on Tuesday night” during an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
“Farrow disputed what sources said was NBC News President Noah Oppenheim’s judgment this past summer that Farrow’s reporting on the movie mogul and the women he allegedly harassed and assaulted wasn’t ready for prime-time,” The Daily Beast reports.
“Addressing a controversy that has been percolating for the past several days in the media ecosystem since The New York Times published its own Weinstein exposé — including questions about whether NBC executives caved to the well-connected Weinstein and his formidable lawyers, Charles Harder, Lisa Bloom, and David Boies — Maddow brought it to a boiling point by telling Farrow: ‘NBC says that the story wasn’t publishable, that it wasn’t ready to go at the time that you brought it to them,'” the story reports.
Farrow responded: “I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier. And immediately, obviously, The New Yorker recognized that. And it is not accurate to say that it was not reportable. In fact, there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC.”
The report quotes an industry insider who is familiar with the project Farrow was working on for NBC News, who said: “Farrow and his producer had been working this for 10 months. They had eight interviews on camera, with a mix of silhouette and not-silhouette — so eight women speaking. They had an NYPD audio tape, and they had enough for a story. And NBC did everything they could to delay it, complicate it, and ultimately Noah [Oppenheim] killed it. NBC shut it down.”
NBC’s Oppenheim has responded to Farrow’s comments with his own take on the story.
Deadline quotes Oppenheim saying today: “The incredible story that we all read yesterday was not the story that we were looking at when we made our judgment several months ago.”
Deadline also quotes Oppenheim saying at a staff meeting today: “The notion that we would try to cover for a powerful person is deeply offensive to all of us.”
Oppenheim noted that NBC News had funded much of Farrow’s work on the report, commenting: “We launched him on that story, we encouraged him to report that story. We supported him and gave him resources to report that story over many, many months.”
Deadline also quotes Oppenheim saying: “We reached a point over the summer where, as an organization, we didn’t feel that we had all the elements that we needed to air it. Ronan very understandably wanted to keep forging ahead. … We didn’t want to stand in his way, and he took it to The New Yorker and did a ton more extraordinary work. He greatly expanded the scope of his reporting.”