A tantalizing New York Times report out this week claims Weinstein stormed into the office of CAA partner Bryan Lourd in September, complaining about the piece CAA client Ronan Farrow was working up on him. He wanted a meeting with Farrow.
A source tells Deadline Weinstein did not ask CAA to kill Farrow’s report, and insisted the agency gets these kind of requests to set up contact all the time. Anyway, Farrow gave Weinstein a miss, and CAA reported to the movie mogul that Farrow was pursuing the story.
Adding to the intrigue, Farrow left CAA after, and signed with WME.
Farrow’s reporting finally was made public in October. It, and an equally stunning New York Times report on Weinstein published days earlier, sparked a national conversation about sexual harassment that ripped across the media landscape, and recently began burning the halls of Congress like a Southern California wildfire.
Farrow had to find another outlet for his work when NBC News, where Farrow investigated Weinstein for months, decided to give it a miss. NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, also a CAA client, explained to his staff the day after Farrow’s work was published in New Yorker magazine, “The notion that we would try to cover for a powerful person is deeply offensive to all of us. Suffice to say, the stunning story, 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.”
Oppenheim already had become part of the Harvey Weinstein storyline when NBC Nightly News failed to cover the earlier New York Times bombshell report, while CBS and ABC’s evening newscasts did reports. NBC News notes it had a big Rex Tillerson exclusive that night and covered Weinstein the following night.
Naturally, media outlets wanted to ask Farrow why NBC News had declined to air his reporting. Back in October, Farrow declined to discuss, saying it wasn’t the right time.
Hours after New Yorker published his piece, Farrow told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that she would have to ask NBC and NBC executives why the report did not break there, when she asked him about NBC having walked away from such a huge story. (Maybe anticipating Oppenheim’s reax the next day, Farrow also told Maddow there had been “multiple determinations” his work had been reportable when it still was at NBC.)
CBS late-night star Stephen Colbert, followed, noting NBC “Did not want to broadcast the report you had come up with,” and wondered, pointedly, how much sooner that national conversation on sexual harassment would have begun had NBC not balked.
“There may be more to say about the NBC piece of this with time,” Farrow hinted, saying he wanted to keep the focus of the story on Weinstein’s accusers for the time being. But he added, “It is of the utmost importance that any news organization that has damning evidence of ongoing criminal activity needs to run that – needs to investigate it, and interrogate it, and run it.”
Defending the decision to toss Farrow’s report, Oppenheim told his staff, “We should all be proud of being an organization that is at least in the hunt on these things.”