NBC chief Andy Lack pushed back hard on Ronan Farrow’s explosive revelations that the network mishandled the Pulitzer Prize winner’s reporting on the sexual-misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein and covered up or downplayed a rape allegation against former Today show anchor Matt Lauer.
In a note to staff on Wednesday, Lack dubbed the rape allegations in Farrow’s new book by former NBC employee Brooke Nevils against Lauer “appalling and reprehensible.” However, he disputed the notion that network executives were aware of Lauer’s misconduct before Nevils’ formal complaint, which resulted in Lauer’s firing in 2017. “Any suggestion that we knew prior to that evening or tried to cover up any aspect of Lauer’s conduct is absolutely false and offensive,” he said.
Lack also pushed back on Farrow’s argument that the network dragged its feet when Farrow (a former NBC employee) was working on his Weinstein exposé, reiterating that network brass were unconvinced by his reporting, which bore “little resemblance” to the final draft of his story published in The New Yorker. “It disappoints me to say that even with passage of time, Farrow’s account has become neither more accurate, nor more respectful of the dedicated colleagues he worked with here at NBC News. He uses a variety of tactics to paint a fundamentally untrue picture,” Lack said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Farrow shot back at NBC’s response. “The claims by NBC’s senior management about Ronan Farrow’s reporting are simply not true, as his book will methodically demonstrate,” they said, adding that the book would show how “much proof Ronan had gathered” about the allegations against Lauer. “Importantly, (the book) documents the lengths to which NBC executives went to thwart the reporting efforts of Ronan and... why they did so,” the statement read.