“Contrary to [Ronan] Farrow’s claims, his story was never cleared or approved for air by NBC News Legal or Standards,” the Comcast-owned network division said this morning in the latest blast after days of dust-ups over how the now Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist’s investigation into claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein was handled and why the story never ran on NBC.
The latest salvo (read it in full below) translates into the Andy Lack-run organization not quite calling Farrow a liar over his pointed response last night to a supposedly definitive memo from the NBC News chairman and a fact sheet – but basically calling him a liar. Farrow, of course, took portions of the reporting NBC News now says wasn’t ready for broadcast and lacked sources to the New Yorker, where he has dropped one extensive exposé on Weinstein and others after another.
On Labor Day, following days of renewed dispute over what really went down behind the scenes in 2017, Farrow called NBC News’ characterization of the events that occurred while he worked there as “misleading,” among other things.
Slashing what morning host Megyn Kelly said on-air this morning, the new release from the news unit also contradicts statements from Emily Nestor and Rose McGowan, two alleged victims of the now disgraced Weinsetin, who is facing a potential life behind bars sentence in a New York sex crimes case and numerous investigations and civil lawsuits
Farrow did not respond to requests for comment from Deadline on NBC News’ latest statement, but can’t imagine he would be embracing it.
Here is NBC News’s statement:
Regarding Farrow’s claim that his story was “cleared and deemed ‘reportable’ by legal and standards”:
Contrary to Farrow’s claims, his story was never cleared or approved for air by NBC News Legal or Standards. As is common practice, NBC lawyers met with him on several occasions to offer legal advice in connection with his reporting. But at no time did they render a judgment on the draft script’s readiness for air. While he was told by his editors that several elements of the draft script were technically “reportable,” he was consistently advised that – even taken together – they were not yet sufficient to air a story alleging serial sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein without at least one victim or witness on the record. Precisely because the script was never ready for air, no one in the NBC News Standards department ever reviewed it.
Regarding statements from Rose McGowan and Emily Nestor:
NBC News based its judgments on the draft scripts Farrow presented to editors in July and August of 2017 and all the raw notes and information he shared with his colleagues, including, significantly, the editorial review team. With regard to Emily Nestor’s statement, she is the “anonymous victim of verbal sexual harassment” referred to in the NBC News document and she was contacted during the editorial review process in mid-August by an investigative producer with two decades of experience. That producer took contemporaneous notes of their conversation and at no time then or since did Nestor tell her or NBC News she was willing to be named. NBC News of course respected and honored that decision.
Regarding Rose McGowan, as the interview transcript clearly indicates, she did not name Weinstein as her attacker on camera in the February 2017 interview or any time after that. The first time Farrow submitted a draft script on the Weinstein story was five months later, on July 23, 2017. If Farrow had McGowan naming Weinstein on the record but off-camera before that date, and wanted to proceed with airing a story, he did not submit one to his editors. The July 23 draft script, for the first time, included a reference to McGowan naming Weinstein off camera “in subsequent conversations.” (It also included several other assertions that quickly did not hold up to scrutiny, including some that were soon found to be contradicted by Farrow’s own interview transcripts, as described in the accompanying document.) Within days of that July 23 draft script being submitted, while Farrow attempted to get McGowan to name Weinstein on camera, she cancelled a follow up interview and her attorney sent NBC a cease and desist letter revoking all permission to use any material related to her.