EXCLUSIVE: Last night, NBC News said it “is an outright lie” that it tried to quash Ronan Farrow’s investigation into sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. But today the Comcast-owned organization got personal in defending its top lawyer.
“Susan Weiner has been a champion of journalists and defender of the First Amendment in newsrooms for over thirty years,” the Andy Lack-led news division today said of its general counsel in a statement obtained by Deadline. (Read the full statement below.)
In an extensive report by the Daily Beast yesterday, Weiner is said to have called Farrow repeatedly after he left NBC News and was working on his Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker exposé of the now much accused Weinstein, who is facing a potential life behind bars in a sex crime case in New York. In those conversations, the lawyer is alleged to have threatened to “smear” the former MSNBC host if he kept probing claims against Weinstein.
“She made no threats and the characterization of that conversation in The Daily Beast is a malicious distortion,” said the NBC News statement.
The journalists who penned the Daily Beast report did not respond to request for comment from Deadline, nor did Farrow. We will update if and when they do.
Here’s NBC News’ statement on Weiner:
Susan Weiner has been a champion of journalists and defender of the First Amendment in newsrooms for over thirty years. The anonymous and untrue attack against her is just one of the many falsehoods circulating around this story. Weiner never made any threats against Ronan Farrow. Weeks after Farrow left NBC News and went to work for The New Yorker, Weiner spoke to him one time for one specific reason – because the NBC legal department continued to field inquiries about Farrow’s outreach to sources. Weiner reminded Farrow that as he continued his reporting on behalf of a separate news organization he should no longer represent himself as working on behalf of NBC News. She made no threats and the characterization of that conversation in The Daily Beast is a malicious distortion.