MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow unloaded on NBC News executives Friday about the organization’s handling of Ronan Farrow’s reporting on disgraced Hollywood bigwig Harvey Weinstein, and later, its handling of allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against ousted Today show anchor Matt Lauer.
In a 16-minute monologue that preceded an interview with Farrow, himself a former NBC News employee, Maddow openly questioned why higher-ups at her parent company did not invite an external firm to investigate the Weinstein debacle or claims that Lauer exhibited inappropriate workplace behavior.
“Accusations that people in positions of authority in this building may have been complicit in some way, in shielding those guys from accountability, those accusations are very, very hard to stomach,” she said. “And I can tell you inside this building, this issue — the Weinstein story having to leave the building to get told, and combine that with… the Access Hollywood tape/Billy Bush story also having to leave this building in order to get told — the amount of consternation this has caused among the rank and file people who work here would be almost impossible for me to overstate.”
Maddow then revealed that her show had “independently confirmed” that NBC News told Farrow to hit “pause” on his reporting of Weinstein, a story he eventually took to The New Yorker that earned him a Pulitzer Prize. She also confirmed that NBCUniversal has agreed to release NBC News employees from contractual clauses that could prevent them from disclosing their experience with sexual harassment. The full statement by an NBCUniversal spokesperson reads as follows:
Any former NBC News employee who believes that they cannot disclose their experience with sexual harassment as a result of a confidentiality or non-disparagement provision in their separation agreement should contact NBCUniversal and we will release them from that perceived obligation.
Maddow also read a second statement, this one from NBC News, on whether or not it would submit itself to an external review:
Over a year ago, NBC News released a 12-page, transparent accounting of the Weinstein reporting… Once again, we stand by it.
In closing, Maddow defended Farrow against NBC News, reminding her audience that he went on to break stories about former CBS chairman Les Moonves (who resigned over allegations of sexual harassment), former New York A.G. Eric Schneiderman (who resigned over allegations of physical abuse), and former M.I.T. Media Lab director Joichi Ito (who resigned after the lab’s involvement with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was made public).
Watch Maddow’s monologue in full above.