Why Ronan Farrow’s Harvey Weinstein Bombshell Did Not Run on NBC


Getty Images Ronan Farrow

The piece was originally supposed to air on the network in February as Hollywood was gearing up for the Oscars.

Why didn’t NBC News break the Harvey Weinstein bombshell that ultimately ended up in The New Yorker under the byline of one of its contributors? It’s a question Rachel Maddow put to Ronan Farrow — until this summer an NBC News contributor fronting a series called Undercovered — who had been working on the story for ten months.

Farrow’s piece was originally targeted to air on NBC in February, just as Hollywood was gearing up for the Oscars, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. These sources say that Farrow was working on the piece at NBC well into the summer, when he suddenly stopped coming to the office. His contributor contract with NBC News expired over the summer and he was in the midst of negotiating a new deal with the network.

Multiple sources say that Farrow had secured an on-camera interview with Rose McGowan, who the New York Times revealed as one of the many women to whom Weinstein paid settlements. The Times reported that McGowan received $100,000 in 1997, when she was 23, stemming from “an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival.”

But after sitting for the interview, her lawyer contacted Farrow and NBC to revoke consent because it could put her in legal jeopardy given the terms of her settlement agreement, sources with knowledge of the situation tell THR.

Weinstein has a phalanx of high-priced lawyers. And he has threatened to sue the New York Times for its Oct. 5 story detailing lurid harassment claims and eight settlements paid over many years. During Tuesday’s MSNBC interview Farrow revealed that he too was “threatened with a lawsuit personally by Mr. Weinstein.”

Two sources told THR that Weinstein’s legal team attempted to block Farrow from taking material that he gathered at NBC News to The New Yorker. Sallie Hofmeister, Weinstein’s representative, did not immediately return a request for comment.

On Tuesday night, echoing the company line on her MSNBC program, Maddow, said to Farrow: “NBC says that the story wasn’t publishable, that it wasn’t ready to go at the time that you brought it to them.”

Farrow was unequivocal: “I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier. And immediately, obviously, The New Yorker recognized that. And it is not accurate to say that it was not reportable. In fact, there were…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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Sasha Harriet

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