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NBC passed on a bombshell Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment story. Why?

Harvey Weinstein speaks during a panel discussion after a screening of the documentary
Harvey Weinstein speaks during a panel discussion after a screening of the documentary "Bully" in Washington, D.C. in 2012.
Kris Connor/Getty Images for The Weinstein Co.

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As more women come forward with their sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein questions keep piling up. Among them: Why did Ronan Farrow, a reporter for NBC News, publish his story about Harvey Weinstein in The New Yorker?

Yashar Ali and Lydia Polgreen report on that story in a recent Huffington Post article, "How Top NBC Executives Quashed The Bombshell Harvey Weinstein Story." Ali spoke with The Frame's John Horn about what he learned from interviewing reporters at NBC News.


On the timeline of Ronan Farrow's reporting what NBC says about not running the story:

NBC told reporters on background that you know there were no women accusers on camera, that weren't in silhouette, accusing Weinstein of sexual misconduct. What we know for sure now, is that in January when Ronan started to report on the Weinstein matter, he had a sit down interview with the actress Rose McGowan where she detailed her experience with Weinstein, which involved sexual assault.

Then in March of 2017 Ronan obtained the explosive audio of Weinstein which was taped by the New York Police Department of Weinstein admitting to sexual assault. So he had a lot before he decided to take his story over to The New Yorker. He had eight women, in silhouette of course, that were saying that Weinstein had had engaged in sexual misconduct. He had a number of former assistants and executives from Weinstein's various companies [saying] that they knew about misconduct. In August, he was on his way to Los Angeles to film an interview with a woman who said that Weinstein had raped her. NBC told him to stop and that he couldn't conduct the interview under the NBC banner so he resorted to hiring a film crew at his own expense.

On what is known about why NBC balked:

You know it's a bit murky and we're still working on that. But you know one of the things that we know is that Harvey Weinstein is, I shouldn't say litigious as if he goes through with a lot of the things, but he engages in a lot of threats and he has a big team of lawyers and private investigators that go after anyone you know getting into this department of sexual misconduct. And so NBC was hit with a lot of different threats were this reporting. The women that were interviewed by Ronan, and then it's unclear how they found out how Weinstein found out about this, but the women that were interviewed started to receive threats. 

In 2016 NBC missed an opportunity to report on the Access Hollywood footage of now President Donald Trump making lewd comments about women. The Washington Post ended up breaking that story despite the fact that NBC owned the footage.

On what people inside NBC News feel about missing these two stories:

They're really upset. I'll tell you what one top NBC News reporter said to me via text message this morning. This person said to me, “I'm truly disgusted by all of this. Sure looks like NBC has been exposed as simply a cog in the entertainment industrial complex that protects its own. I don't know if I can stay silent, our collective reputation as a news division is on the line. I want accountability on this.” 

To hear John Horn's full interview with Yashar Ali, click on the player above. 

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