NBC News says two of its former journalists are “outright lying” that the network tried to block an explosive report about Harvey Weinstein.
Former investigative producer Rich McHugh says NBC News displayed a “massive breach of journalistic integrity” and told him and Ronan Farrow to “stand down” on a report into Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct.
McHugh and Farrow spent eight months gathering information on the media mogul, but NBC News says the story was not ready for air because not a single witness or victim of Weinstein’s alleged crimes would go on the record. The company says when it told Farrow the story wasn’t ready for air, he took the report elsewhere.
In a New York Times article published Thursday night, McHugh said that during the final stages of their report into Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, he and Farrow “felt resistance…we were told to put the story on the back burner.”
McHugh also claimed that three days before they were going to interview someone with a “credible rape allegation against Harvey Weinstein” he was “ordered” to “stand down on the story altogether.” He said the order came from “the very highest levels of NBC” and that Weinstein allegedly called NBC executives directly – once, he says, while he was in the room with them.
In a statement to CBS News, an NBC News spokesperson says in part: “The assertion that NBC News tried to kill the Weinstein story while Ronan Farrow was at NBC News…is an outright lie.”
Two months after leaving NBC, Farrow published his piece on the New Yorker that included several victims by name, including Asia Argento, Mira Sorvino, and Rosanna Arquette, none of which were included in the reporting he presented at NBC News.
McHugh says he will not disclose which executives had told him to stand down on his reporting. The president of NBC News says Weinstein had no influence on the network’s handling of the Weinstein story. Weinstein denies all allegations of sexual assault.