Ronan FarrowLatest News and Opinion
Posted Saturday 10/27/18 at 7:21AM EDT
NBC shouldn't be absolved for the Megyn Kelly debacle
Source: The Atlantic
From NBC News chairman Andy Lack saying "I condemn those remarks" to making sure that Today and NBC Nightly News covered Kelly's blackface controversy as a major news story, it seems like NBC is displaying "performances of innocence," says Megan Garber. "And yet NBC—there is a creaking inevitability to every element of this—is now trying to get ahead of the story that happens to be, once again, about itself," she says. "It is attempting to frame Kelly’s departure as a matter of morality rather than a matter of money." But don't forget that Lack has overseen the Access Hollywood Donald Trump tapes debacle, the Ronan Farrow Harvey Weinstein reporting debacle and the Matt Lauer sexual misconduct debacle. As Garber points out, NBC "has this week gone through its own ritual of attempted public conversion. NBC, too, is apolitical, the network is suggesting on its own behalf, as it reportedly prepares to pay Kelly a massive sum to take her act elsewhere. It, too, is innocent. After all, couldn’t the newscaster who insisted that 'Santa just is white' have changed her attitude, under NBC’s warm influence? Can’t a tiger change its stripes? NBC, too, was just asking questions." But Garber adds: "Here is another question, though: What if, when Megyn Kelly wondered aloud why blackface is bad, her ratings had been high? What if she had been a darling of advertisers? What if she had proved better able to return on the massive investment NBC had made in her, and for her? Here is the answer: NBC would very likely, right now, be selling a line about the relatability of Megyn Kelly’s confusion—about how so many Americans have more to understand about their shared history and shared culture, about the ways Kelly’s questions, innocent if ignorant, represent, in the end, a learning opportunity for all. Megyn Kelly, right now, would very likely be undergoing another time-honored American ritual, this one anchored in the sweeping demands of celebrity: the solemn ceremonies of 'moving on.' Apology, forgiveness, forgetfulness—the prodigal daughter, returned to 30 Rock once more."
- "The problem with Megyn Kelly Today is that it was always a morning talk show about a woman who really wanted a morning talk show," says Hank Stuever. "She came to it with only a nominal interest in anything but herself. She treats everything as a subject and only goes with what she think she already knows. She never had empathy, she's not a good listener, and she loves to make excuses. And for all the talk about how smart she is, she never seemed to do any homework. That's how you wind up being a person in 2018 who hasn't figured out why blackface is not okay and how culture and history got to the mutual understanding that it isn't."
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says Kelly's blackface defense was "hate-crime adjacent": "She’s an educated person with a news background, so there’s no way she is not informed on the issue. Which means she deliberately, without regard to the harm she would inflict on people of color, chose to pull out this old controversy. Not quite a hate crime, but hate crime-adjacent."
- How does NBC News chairman Andy Lack still have a job with a "record of deep shame" overseeing so many controversies?
- Kelly learned that TV star power is a delicate thing and cannot easily be transplanted -- just ask Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, Jane Pauley and Anderson Cooper
- Networks won't touch Kelly if she leaves NBC News: She'll have very few big-time career opportunities
- Geraldo Rivera again defends Kelly: "She said something stupid, but she didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings. She was just telling the truth about how she was raised and how things were back in the day."
- Could NBC News keep Kelly in an "Ann Curry situation" -- giving her fake jobs to save face?
- Watch a montage of Kelly's most controversial Megyn Kelly Today moments
- Relive the 10 "best" moments from Megyn Kelly Today
Posted Thursday 10/25/18 at 6:46PM EDT
Megyn Kelly's NBC News exit negotiations may bring up Ronan Farrow's Harvey Weinstein reporting
Kelly's new attorney Bryan J. Freedman, one of Hollywood's top talent-side litigators who was hired late last night, is scheduled to begin exit negotiations with NBC News on Friday. TMZ reports that with nearly two years left on her three-year deal, Kelly is demanding a $50 million settlement or she'll file a lawsuit. Multiple reports say she wants Ronan Farrow to attend the meeting as a witness. Last month, Kelly questioned NBC News' handling of Farrow's reporting on Weinstein, and even contradicted NBC News chairman Andy Lack's insistence that Farrow didn't have an on-the-record interview with Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan. She even called for an independent investigation of NBC News. “Is this retaliation? That’s what this is about,” a source tells Vulture. Sources tell Variety "that NBC News chairman Andy Lack disapproved of Kelly aggressively covering stories about sexual harassment on her show, particularly related to NBC and disgraced anchor Matt Lauer." Kelly's attorney is also expected to bring up MSNBC anchor Joy Reid's old homophobic blog posts and Real Housewives of New York star Luann de Lesseps dressing in blackface as Diana Ross for Halloween. “Both of them still work there,” a source tells Vulture. “All Megyn did was talk about it and apologize.”
- More celebrities, including Ron Howard and Gary Sinise, canceled on Megyn Kelly Today -- while staffers were told Thursday to prepare for a few days off and that they would be moved to new jobs if the show is canceled
- Is there any possibility of Megyn Kelly staying at NBC?
Posted Friday 9/21/18 at 10:27PM EDT
Report: NBC News chairman Andy Lack has a history of letting accused sexual harassers keep their jobs -- including one who allegedly blocked Ronan Farrow's story
Source: The Daily Beast
The Daily Beast reports that one of the NBC News bosses who reviewed Farrow's Harvey Weinstein reporting that was ultimately rejected was David Corvo, NBC News' senior executive producer for primetime news, who oversees shows like Dateline. "Corvo is one of NBC News’ most powerful men," reports The Daily Beast. Corvo also was accused of sexual harassing a female employee that led NBC Universal to sign a separation agreement that paid her nearly $1 million. "In return for a sum, the woman is forbidden from saying anything negative about her time at the company. Corvo continues to work at NBC News," says The Daily Beast. Rich McHugh, Farrow's former producing partner at NBC News, says Corvo helped decide the fate of their Weinstein reporting. An NBC News spokesperson countered that Corvo was “not a decision maker on the Weinstein reporting” and said he and two senior women on the review team “were unanimous in affirming that NBC News did not yet have a story that was ready for broadcast.” The Daily Beast also reports that Megyn Kelly was urged by Mark Kornblau, an NBC News executive who reports to Lack, not to cover the Tom Brokaw sexual harassment allegations, which she refused. An NBC News spokesperson says the "insinuation is ridiculous because two days before they spoke, NBC News had already covered the Brokaw story more aggressively than any other network.” The Daily Beast also went back and looked at one of Lack's previous jobs as chairman and CEO of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, where he allegedly looked the other way at sexual harassment accusations against Charlie Walk in the 2000s. Walk was fired from Fox reality show The Four and Republic Records earlier this year over sexual misconduct allegations.
Posted Thursday 9/20/18 at 1:16PM EDT
Hollywood most powerful list boots Les Moonves, replaces him with Ronan Farrow
The ousted CBS boss was not only featured in the Hollywood Reporter's THR 100, an annual ranking of the most powerful people in the entertainment industry, but he made the Top 10 in the list completed before Moonves lost his job. So the magazine to boot him at the last minute, deciding that Farrow would be the perfect replacement.
Posted Friday 9/14/18 at 11:17PM EDT
Illeana Douglas recounts Les Moonves' alleged sexual harassment, calls Ronan Farrow "the patron saint of actresses"
Douglas spoke to New Yorker editor David Remnick on The New Yorker Radio Hour about Moonves alleged sexual misconduct, the drinking of the CBS "Kool-Aid" and the "terror" she felt. “There is a deep seated history of misogyny at CBS,” Douglas said. “In my opinion, what would be really impressive is that the new head of CBS says, ‘I’m going to turn the page on this and I am not going to let an environment happen where women go to work and don’t feel safe.’ … An executive who has the courage to say, ‘I am going to make a stand and I am not going to tolerate this kind of behavior.'”
Posted Tuesday 9/04/18 at 3:42PM EDT
President Trump threatens NBC's license over its handling of the Harvey Weinstein story
The president responded to the feud between NBC News and Ronan Farrow by tweeting this morning: "NBC FAKE NEWS, which is under intense scrutiny over their killing the Harvey Weinstein story, is now fumbling around making excuses for their probably highly unethical conduct. I have long criticized NBC and their journalistic standards-worse than even CNN. Look at their license?"
Posted Tuesday 9/04/18 at 9:45AM EDT
NBC News vs. Ronan Farrow feud erupts into "open warfare"
Source: The New York Times
NBC News chairman Andrew Lack released a 4,488-word internal memo on Monday saying Farrow's reporting on Harvey Weinstein was not "fit for broadcast." Lack added: “We spent eight months pursuing the story but at the end of that time, NBC News — like many others before us — still did not have a single victim or witness willing to go on the record... But Farrow did not agree with that standard. That’s where we parted ways — agreeing to his request to take his reporting to a print outlet that he said was ready to move forward immediately.” Farrow fired back hours later, in a statement posted to Twitter, saying Lack's memo "contains numerous false or misleading statements." Farrow added that NBC's “list of sources is incomplete and omits women who were either identified in the NBC story or offered to be" and "the suggestion to take the story to another outlet was first raised by NBC, not me, and I took them up on it only after it became clear that I was being blocked from further reporting.” ALSO: Weinstein accuser Emily Nester contradicts "shameful" NBC, backs Farrow's version of events.
Posted Friday 8/31/18 at 2:43PM EDT
NBC News says its top lawyer never threatened Ronan Farrow, calls accusation a "malicious distortion"
The Daily Beast reported Thursday night that, "according to multiple sources familiar with the matter, NBC News General Counsel Susan Weiner made a series of phone calls to Farrow, threatening to smear him if he continued to report on Weinstein." The Daily Beast also quoted an unnamed NBC spokesperson who called those allegations "absolutely false. There’s no truth to that all." This morning, NBC News released a lengthier statement saying, "Susan Weiner has been a champion of journalists and defender of the First Amendment in newsrooms for over thirty years...Weiner reminded Farrow that as he continued his reporting on behalf of a separate news organization he should no longer represent himself as working on behalf of NBC News. She made no threats and the characterization of that conversation in The Daily Beast is a malicious distortion."
Posted Thursday 8/30/18 at 10:02PM EDT
NBC accused of suppressing Ronan Farrow's Harvey Weinstein exposé and threatening to smear him
Source: The New York Times
The order to put a stop to Farrow's Weinstein reporting came from "the very highest levels of NBC," according to Rich McHugh, the NBC News producer who worked closely with Farrow. He is speaking out to The New York Times after recently leaving the network. Meanwhile, The Daily Beast reports, based on multiple sources, that "NBC News general counsel Susan Weiner made a series of phone calls to Farrow, threatening to smear him if he continued to report on Weinstein." The Daily Beast also reports NBC News president Noah Oppenheim "mentioned to Farrow that Weinstein had raised objections to Farrow’s reporting—even though Farrow had not yet asked Weinstein to comment on the allegations, according to individuals briefed on the meeting." An NBC News spokesperson said, speaking anonymously, the allegation that Farrow was threatened was "absolutely false. There’s no truth to that all. There is no chance, in no version of the world, that Susan Weiner would tell Ronan Farrow what he could or could not report on.” McHugh told The Times that NBC was "resistant" to their Weinstein investigation, which ended up being published in The New Yorker. McHugh called NBC News' handling of their investigation "a massive breach of journalistic integrity.” “Three days before Ronan and I were going to head to L.A. to interview a woman with a credible rape allegation against Harvey Weinstein, I was ordered to stop, not to interview this woman,” McHugh told The Times. “And to stand down on the story altogether.” Asked to respond, Oppenheim told The Times: “He was never told to stop in the way he’s implying," adding: “We repeatedly made clear to Ronan and Rich McHugh the standard for publication is we needed at least one credible on-the-record victim or witness of misconduct. And we never met that threshold while Ronan was reporting for us.” Oppenheim added that Weinstein had no influence on NBC News' reporting. McHugh decided to speak out after leaving NBC News two weeks ago. Asked why it took him so long to leave the network, McHugh said he wanted to continue to provide for his family and he feared NBC could retaliate against him. Asked to respond to McHugh's comments to The Times, Farrow said in a statement: "Rich is a fantastic producer and journalist. He’s a person of integrity, and he cared deeply about the investigative stories we worked on together and the importance of seeing them through.” UPDATE: NBC News says any assertion that it tried to kill the Weinstein story is "an outright lie."
Posted Tuesday 7/31/18 at 4:36AM EDT
Les Moonves promoted a "zero tolerance policy" at CBS towards sexual harassment just last year
According to a company-wide memo obtained by Deadline that the CBS CEO sent on March 9, 2017 -- seven months before the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke -- Moonves said the company is committed to providing every employee with a professional work environment that’s free of discrimination and harassment. “Simply put,” Moonves wrote, “CBS has a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination or sexual harassment in our company or related businesses. At every level of the organization, we are all responsible for treating each other in a fair, objective manner and for supporting the Company’s Affirmative Action and EEO policies and practices. And I hold all our managers accountable in this regard.” As Deadline put it, "Moonves’ own conduct will now be measured against that standard."
- CBS board of directors' average age is 73, with three women among 14 board members
- Moonves isn't hiding amid his scandal: He dined Sunday night with Julie Chen at hotspot Nobu Malibu
- How Ronan Farrow keeps landing bombshell stories: Illeana Douglas called him the day after his Harvey Weinstein story broke
Posted Monday 7/30/18 at 12:49AM EDT
CBS board to discuss whether Les Moonves should step aside during sexual misconduct investigation
Source: The Wall Street Journal
At least two of CBS' 14 board members have questioned whether Moonves should continue leading the network while he is under investigation for the alleged sexual harassment that was detailed Friday in Ronan Farrow's New Yorker exposé. In a previously scheduled meeting on Monday, the board is expected to discuss whether CBS should have a temporary leader while Moonves is being investigated. According to The Wall Street Journal, the board is also expected to select a special committee to oversee the investigation. “I think the board realizes as a whole that this is a very, very, very serious situation,” a source told the Wall Street Journal. “While there is an important Les piece to this, really, more important to the company as a whole is that this raises serious issues with regard to culture and harassment throughout the company.” Meanwhile, CBS uber-producer Chuck Lorre tried to dodge questions about Moonves while speaking at a panel on Sunday abouti his new Netflix comedy The Kominsky Method: "What's going on with CBS, let's talk later," he said. "I don't think this is the venue to discuss what is going on there. I do think it's important to have a safe work environment...You can't do good work in an unsafe environment, and it had to be made safe for everyone."
Posted Friday 7/27/18 at 6:20PM EDT
Six women accuse CBS' Les Moonves of sexual harassment in New Yorker exposé
Source: The New Yorker
“What happened to me was a sexual assault, and then I was fired for not participating,” said actress Illeana Douglas, one of six women to come forward accusing Moonves of sexual misconduct, including four on the record, to Pulitzer-winning writer Ronan Farrow. As Farrow pointed out, Moonves called the #MeToo movement a "watershed moment" last November. "I think it’s important that a company’s culture will not allow for this," he said. "And that’s the thing that’s far-reaching. There’s a lot we’re learning. There’s a lot we didn’t know.” But, writes Farrow, "Moonves’s private actions belie his public statements. Six women who had professional dealings with him told me that, between the nineteen-eighties and the late aughts, Moonves sexually harassed them. Four described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, in what they said appeared to be a practiced routine. Two told me that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result." Aside from Douglas, the women who've spoken on the record with Farrow include writer Janet Jones, who alleges that Moonves tried to forcibly kiss her; producer Christine Peters, who alleges that Moonves put his hand up her skirt during a meeting; and Emmy-winning The Tracey Ullman Show writer Dinah Kingo, who says a potential deal fell through after she rejected a date with a then-married Moonves. In a statement to The New Yorker, Moonves said: “I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”
- Ronan Farrow's Moonves bombshell also tackled sexual misconduct accusations at CBS News and 60 Minutes: "19 current and former employees told @RonanFarrow that Jeﬀ Fager, the former chairman of CBS News and the current executive producer of 60 Minutes, allowed harassment in the division."
- "Men at CBS News who were accused of sexual misconduct were promoted, even as the company paid settlements to women with complaints," Farrow writes, based on interviews with 30 current and former CBS employees.
- Julie Chen tweeted a statement in support of her husband: "I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the late ’90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years. Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.”
Posted Friday 7/27/18 at 1:14PM EDT
CEO Les Moonves to be investigated for sexual misconduct
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The New Yorker is reportedly releasing an exposé today on the longtime CBS boss that accuses him of unwanted kissing and touching, including sexual misconduct that occurred more than 20 years ago and more recently. "Sources with knowledge of the article say it delves into the broader culture at CBS and will publish later today on the magazine’s website," according to The Hollywood Reporter. CBS released a statement ahead of the article's publication saying: “All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously. The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the Company’s clear policies in that regard. Upon the conclusion of that investigation, which involves recently reported allegations that go back several decades, the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action. The timing of this report comes in the midst of the Company’s very public legal dispute. While that litigation process continues, the CBS management team has the full support of the independent board members. Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners.” News of the impending story caused CBS stock to nosedive within minutes.
Posted Monday 5/14/18 at 11:28PM EDT
NBC News' many problems aren't just a coincidence -- they're symptoms
Source: The Washington Post
Matt Lauer, Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, Joy Reid, Ronan Farrow, Hugh Hewitt -- and even the Megyn Kelly debacle -- are all symptoms of a larger problem. As Margaret Sullivan put it, "the network’s credibility is on the line. To critics it would seem that network leadership isn’t taking that seriously enough, believing perhaps that the public is mostly unaware, and that advertisers don’t mind. But a news organization’s reputation builds — or fades — over time. Does NBC really want to be seen as a place where stars are protected too vigorously, and where ratings and profits reign supreme? Given NBC’s prominence, its foibles hurt not only the network itself, its own journalists, and its viewers. Such self-sabotage also hurts American journalism overall at a time when there are more than enough external enemies waiting to pounce."
Posted Saturday 5/12/18 at 7:13PM EDT
Ronan Farrow is coming out with a new book that may reveal why NBC News didn't run his Harvey Weinstein story
NBC News rejected Farrow's work that ended up winning him a Pulitzer Prize for The New Yorker. According to CNN, Farrow signed a book deal on Friday to write Catch and Kill, a book about his reporting on Weinstein, which should delve into why NBC News didn't want his story.