Farrow does not buy it. Not even his former producer Rich McHugh. They suspect what happened, and now Farrow shares it publicly in a book called Catch and Kill.
CNN Business received a pre-release version of the book coming out next week. In it, Farrow describes "odd signals" from NBC managers and suggests that the network's own secrets influenced the judgments of the network. One of the network's biggest stars, Matt Lauer, had sexual relationships with employees, and Weinstein knew this according to anonymous sources quoted in the book.
Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News, reprimanded Farrow's interpretation of events in New York on a Wednesday afternoon memo to employees. He said Farrow's book "uses a variety of tactics to paint a fundamentally wrong picture of NBC's handling of the tartar probe."
A representative of Farrow responded, "NBC's management's statements about Ronan Farrow's reporting simply do not agree, as his book will methodically demonstrate."
In the book, Farrow says, "There was no doubt that the allegations against Lauer and the broader use of NBC secrecy agreements with women exposed to harassment during our reporting jeopardy, this precarious culture of secrecy made NBC more vulnerable to Harvey Weinstein's intimidation and temptation emanating from lawyers and mediators and called for "several senior executives Up and down the company's chain of command. "
NBC has already acknowledged that Weinstein harassed NBC executives and pursued all sorts of ways to stop Farrow's investigation, and the network says it has resisted all the pressure.
Farrow also points to a relationship between Weinstein and American Media, who had written stories about Lauers love life for years. He even describes a meeting between Weinstein and the publisher of the National Enquirer, Dylan Howard, in September 2017, in which the two men looked at the filth that the Enquirer had accumulated over Lauer.
"Mr. Farrow's story is dramatic but inaccurate," said an AMI spokesman for CNN Business.
NBC News said in a statement that the newsroom "has never been contacted by AMI or made aware of any threats from them or anyone else, and the idea that NBC News is taking a threat seriously from a tabloid press Matt Lauer's company is particularly absurd, as they have already covered it with great regularity. "By September, however, NBC had already freed Farrow to undertake his research on The New Yorker, where they were finally published in October, five days after the New York Times published its own investigation into Weinstein's abusive behavior.
The timeline of Farrow's coverage dates back to early 2017 when Farrow worked on several investigative projects for NBC, which are featured in Lauer's "Today" show and other network news programs ,
He was interested in stories about sexual harassment in Hollywood, and Noah Oppenheim, president of NBC News, suggested contacting the actor, Rose McGowan, who had tweeted about her encounter with a nameless film mogul.
It was not long before Farrow learned of Weinstein and the decades-long worth of alleged abuse. However, it proved very difficult to convince anyone to speak in front of the camera on the record. This is proof, writes Farrow, of the fears that Weinstein instilled in his associates: several sources wanted to be interviewed in the shadows to veil their identity to the television audience.
McGowan was an exception: she spoke in the file about camera, in a cool way. However, she did not explicitly mention Weinstein as her attacker.
Later, she was reluctant to let Farrow in at all. According to Farrow, she felt "uncomfortable with the delays" and was worried about "things she had heard about the people there" at NBC. McGowan – who had signed an agreement with Weinstein in 1997 – had their lawyers bring an injunction to NBC.
At the center of the matter is a fascinating set of arguments about what can be published when and in what form, what form. And both Farrow and NBC have convincing cases to clarify.
What Farrow interpreted as the slow walking of his explosive shovel was what NBC executives dismissed as an act of journalistic responsibility.
What Farrow describes as a lack of enthusiasm for his coverage, others describe this as reasonable skepticism.
Was what happened to Farrow and NBC just the natural back-and-forth between reporter and editor, employee and supervisor?
Or did NBC News try to cover up Weinstein's behavior? Did the parent of NBC, Comcast, try to protect relationships in Hollywood?
Farrow emphatically points to these latter possibilities. He notes that Weinstein had relationships all the way to the top of Comcast, where CEO Brian Roberts had known the media mogul for years.
But he has no evidence that Weinstein has provided anything in return – something like "Take off from me, or I'll expose Lauer".
And Farrow says Roberts later apologized to him for handling his investigation by NBC.
During "Catch and Kill," Farrow discusses the interaction with Lauer in the workplace and reminds readers that Lauer would be released for sexual misconduct less than two months after the outcome of the Weinstein investigation.
Farrow has recent interviews with several of Lauers' prosecutors, including the first interview with Brooke Nevils, who alleged that Lauer raped her during a 2014 work trip to Russia. Lauer categorically denied her allegations in an open letter on Wednesday.
Farrow points to a "network culture" that made women feel uncomfortable and insecure, leaving little room for accountability for their larger-than-life stars.
And he questions NBC's own use of contracts to conceal alleged violations as he tried to expose Weinstein's use of the same types of contracts.
In the book, Farrow cites extensively from his interactions with Oppenheim and others at NBC says Farrow, Oppenheim was very interested in the progress he made, at other times, he writes, Oppenheim seemed indifferent.
"I still do not believe that Harvey Weinstein is a name that today's show audiences know" , he quotes Oppenheim, after he had submitted a long script draft in July. "And anyway," Oppenheim is quoted, "where would we radiate it at all? That's a long wait. "
Farrow became more and more worried about being discovered by The Times, but he says the NBC executives did not share his sense of urgency.
He cites Rich Greenberg, the editor-in-chief The NBC News Investigation Unit, and says that sometimes it's best to let someone go first.
Through an NBC spokesman, Greenberg and Oppenheim refused to comment on Farrow's report.
Farrow became frustrated when the review was halted by a legal review process that is common practice in the news industry, especially when a person like Weinstein is involved in litigation.
Again, here comes it based on the interpretation – supported NBC Farrow, making sure that the story was buttoned up, or reported to be postponed?
When General Counsel of NBCUniversal, Kim Harris, made her own review of the coverage, Oppenheim told Farrow that Harris would "tell us what we can really say in bulletproof terms, which can withstand the court," Farrow said.
Meanwhile, however, Farrow has been instructed to "disrupt" his efforts for additional confirmation, including a new interview with McGowan. By mid-August, network managers had found that Farrow did not have enough evidence against Weinstein to earn a story. "At the moment we can not do that," Oppenheim told him.
Farrow also cited Oppenheim and told him "you are too close," meaning that he is too emotionally invested in the prosecutor's accounts.
He gave Farrow the green light to forward the report to a journal. He listed New York magazine as a possible example and asked him to take the story to another place.
When the magazine published Farrow's report and people asked why Farrow had not broadcast it on NBC Oppenheim told the staff, "We did not feel we had all the elements we needed to ventilate."
"We supported him and provided him with resources to cover this story for many, many months," Oppenheim said at the time. "The idea that we would try to protect a powerful person is deeply offensive to all of us."
This has been the consistent explanation of NBC ever since.
Because Farrow has become more critical of his former employer in public NBC executives are more critical of him, suggesting that he overstated some of his reports and cut back on them.
McHugh, who left NBC last year, stood firmly in Farrow's corner, pointing out that the network had, among other things, "an exclusive audio recording of Harvey Weinstein admitting sexual assault".
The tape was handed over to the district attorney in Manhattan at the time, but the D.A. Office decided that it was not enough to prove that a crime had occurred, a decision that remains deeply controversial.
According to Farrow, Oppenheim noted that the band's presence was not national news. NBC News has been targeted by media critics for sitting on tape for months and not airing it. In response, the network has pointed out that The New Yorker later owned the tape for nearly two months a month before it was released.
Ultimately, the volume was a key piece of the factual pattern set forth in Farrow's story for The New Yorker.
According to NBC, his ultimate story for the magazine had "little resemblance to the coverage he had at NBC News". In other words, Farrow could find new sources and evidence after leaving NBC.
But Farrow claims that he had a very reportable story that was ready to go and that NBC was suppressing it.
"NBC has killed the tartar story," tweeted Farrow's partner Jon Lovett on Wednesday. "It was a historic mistake, and over and over NBC told Ronan to stop reporting, I heard it myself! Phones have speakers!"
But in the memo from Wednesday, Lack agreed with the decision of August 2017.
"Here are the essential and indisputable facts: NBC News has assigned the story of Harvey Weinstein to Ronan, we have them fully resourced for many months supported – both financially and editorially, "wrote Lack. "After seven months without a victim or a witness in the file, he just did not have a story that was up to our standards for broadcasting or that of a big news organization, he was not ready to accept that standard and did not want to get beat up by him to let." In the New York Times, he asked to bring his story to a point of sale that he claimed could be published immediately. Reluctantly, we let him continue.
Farrow's representative replied, "Relevant sections of the book not only confirm how many women were named, but also how much evidence Ronan had collected. Importantly, it documents the extent to which NBC executives have thwarted Ronan and his producer Rich McHugh's reporting efforts and why they did so. Abuse of many stories – many before Tartar – including USA Gymnastics, Silicon Valley, Bill Cosby, Jeffrey Epstein and more. "
To reach the finish line for big stories like this requires extraordinary work, collaboration, patience, and a commitment to a set of standards and practices that ultimately give our work great credibility," wrote Lack If you have any questions about journalistic decisions, please do not hesitate to ask them. "