Harvey Weinstein pressured NBC News into killing an investigation into his alleged sexual abuse using dirt on Matt Lauer, Ronan Farrow alleges in his new book.
Farrow in October 2017 published allegations of sexual abuse against Weinstein, but his New Yorker exposé was originally intended to be published by NBC News. In his new book Catch and Kill, Farrow alleges that prior to NBC's decision not to run his story, Weinstein "made it known to the network that he was aware of Lauer's behavior and capable of revealing it," The Hollywood Reporter writes. Farrow reports Weinstein used dirt about Lauer, who was then host of Today, obtained by the National Enquirer to pressure NBC into killing the investigation, citing anonymous sources at NBC and AMI, the Enquirer's publisher. This reportedly occurred after Weinstein strategized with AMI's chief content officer, Dylan Howard.
NBC has denied Farrow's claim, saying it was never "made aware in any way of any threats." The network has said it was not aware of alleged misconduct by Lauer until firing him in November 2017, and NBC News Chair Andy Lack in 2018 said Farrow's reporting wasn't run because it wasn't "yet fit to broadcast."
Weinstein reportedly felt, though, that he had successfully pressured NBC into spiking the story, with Farrow reporting Weinstein bragged in his office, "If I can get a network to kill a story, how hard can a newspaper be?" He was referring to The New York Times, which in October 2017 broke the story about the misconduct allegations against him.
Sometime after Weinstein was informed Farrow wasn't working on the story for NBC, Farrow reports NBC News President Noah Oppenheim engaged with Weinstein in a friendly email about Megyn Kelly's debut in which Oppenheim wrote, "Thanks Harvey, appreciate the well-wishes," per the Reporter. Weinstein reportedly then sent him a bottle of vodka.