Amid a feeding frenzy over Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill,” in which he accuses NBC of stifling his reporting on allegations against Harvey Weinstein, another accuser has stepped into the spotlight with similar accusations against the network.
In a first-person account published today by The Daily Beast, Sil Lai Abrams writes: “Incredibly, a year after NBC botched Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein, they had the audacity to do it again. It’s not just Ronan Farrow: NBC News killed my rape-allegation story too.”
Abrams goes on to discuss allegedly being raped by Russell Simmons in 1994, along with an alleged sexual assault by former “Extra” co-host A.J. Calloway in 2006, for which Calloway was reportedly later arrested. Abrams says her story was being reported by MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid in 2018 until obstacles began to surface.
“When I approached Joy, I had no idea that NBC had a reputation for not breaking news about men accused of sexual assault,” Abrams writes. “Therefore, I had no reason to believe my story would be derailed by the network. After going through a thorough vetting process, an on-camera interview with Joy was taped on Jan. 7, 2018.”
Abrams says the piece was set to air that month, until she heard from Reid saying Simmons’ attorney had apparently convinced NBC not to air the segment.
“Over the next several months, NBC put me through an elaborate and bizarre vetting process,” Abrams writes in The Daily Beast. “I provided legal documentation, hospital bills, and more than a dozen corroborating witnesses. Still, they stonewalled. I asked Joy repeatedly if NBC was going to do to her what it did to Ronan, and she said that she didn’t think so. We both agreed that it would reflect very poorly if word got out that the network had suppressed yet another story of alleged sexual assault.”
Abrams’ story was eventually covered by The Hollywood Reporter in a piece published on June 28, 2018.
THR says in a blurb published with that 2018 report: “Amid #MeToo, Sil Lai Abrams was ready to go public with MSNBC’s Joy Reid about horrific claims against [Simmons] and A.J. Calloway. But as the vetting process dragged on and Reid accused her employer of ‘slow walking’ the story with ‘stupid’ requests, Abrams feared being ‘silenced.’ Now, based on documents, witnesses, private text messages and several court orders, her account of the men — and the network — is revealed.”