As additional excerpts from ex-NBC News correspondent Ronan Farrow‘s new book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, are being made public, more and more NBC Newsers are reportedly expressing sadness, anger, frustration and disgust about how NBC News executives handled the situation.
According to The Daily Beast report, NBC News employees were particularly angry by Farrow’s allegation that after former Today show anchor Matt Lauer was fired over a claim of anal-rape made by former NBC News associate producer Brooke Nevils, the accuser learned that NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, along with NBC News chairman Andy Lack, had been “emphasizing that the incident hadn’t been ‘criminal’ or an ‘assault.’”
“I honestly want to throw up,” one NBC News employee reportedly told the media news site.
“Women are furious and feel Noah lied to them when he said ‘no assault,’” another network insider said. “Noah and Andy knew all of this [about Lauer] and lied about it.”
A veteran NBC Newser reportedly said: “I shouldn’t be hearing about this [anal rape allegations] from Variety. We should have heard it from the bosses. I hope that there are pitchforks outside the executive offices.”
The Daily Beast also reported that during a daily morning meeting between MSNBC president Phil Griffin and the ep’s of all the cable channel’s programming on Wednesday, which just so happened to be Yom Kippur, “Griffin brought up the Farrow revelations, described the allegations as serious, and essentially said that MSNBC would be covering the story like any other, with each show making its own determination about how to handle it.”
We reached out to Farrow’s book publisher Little, Brown, to find out if Farrow was booked on any MSNBC programming to promote the Catch and Kill, which comes out next Tuesday, Oct. 15. We have yet to receive a response from the publisher.
NBC Nightly News, to its credit, addressed the story during its broadcast. It showed Nevils’ statement condemning Lauer.
“There’s the Matt Lauer that millions of Americans watched on TV every morning for two decades, and there is the Matt Lauer who this morning attempted to bully a former colleague into silence,” Nevils said, before adding: “I’m not afraid of him now, regardless of his threats, bullying and the shaming and predatory tactics I knew he would (and now has) tried to use against me,” she said.
Lauer released a letter of his own yesterday, where he calls Nevils’ rape allegation “categorically false.”
The Daily Beast wrote a followup story this morning that focuses on the NBC News president. Not only is Oppenheim being accused by some NBC Newsers of downplaying the Lauer rape allegation, but he is now reportedly catching heat by NBC News employees for columns he wrote for the Harvard Crimson roughly 20 years ago. Newsroom staffers have reportedly been passing around copies of Oppenheim’s old columns.
One of the most controversial columns, ironically, featured criticism of NBC for firing legendary NBA broadcaster Marv Albert, who at the time was being accused of sexual assault.
From The Daily Beast:
“The trial was a sham and that the network’s action was an injustice,” Oppenheim fumed in the October 1997 column. He lamented how Albert’s accuser, Vanessa Perhach, was “permitted to remain shielded in anonymity” while Albert’s sex life faced public probing. Perhach accused the sportscaster of throwing her on a hotel bed, biting her, and forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
“It is certainly a noble goal to protect the victims of sexual assault from mistreatment in the courtroom,” Oppenheim wrote, “but why should Marv’s past conduct have been subject to the closest scrutiny, while Perhach’s character history have remained off-limits?”
NBC News is declining comment.