Why Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein Report Was Turned Down by This Network
In the fallout from the shocking revelations about the Hollywood producer, let's not forget this story could have been told much sooner
There were a great many explosive revelations that came out of the recent New Yorker piece about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s appalling treatment of women over the decades.
There was audio of Weinstein acting aggressively toward a young model and seemingly admitting to assaulting her the day before (plus the revelation that the audio was from a sting operation that never led to actual charges).
And there were a slew of women on the record saying Weinstein not only tried coercing them into sex, but that he allegedly forced some of them into sexual acts.
The Weinstein New Yorker report has shaken the power structure of the entire industry, as Weinstein has been let go from his own company, The Weinstein Company, many higher-ups who dealt with him are being questioned about their knowledge of the incidents, and a slew of women and men in the industry have now felt compelled and empowered to come forward about their own experiences with Weinstein and others who have abused their power.
However — one of the stranger revelations to come out of the account by 29-year-old Farrow, the son of director Woody Allen and actress Mia Farrow, is that the investigative piece could have come out all the way back in January.
Farrow said that he took his story to NBC News at the beginning of the year — but that the network felt it was not ready. He eventually placed it at The New Yorker.
In an interview this week with Rachel Maddow on — ironically enough — MSNBC, Farrow was asked about the network's turndown of his story.
"I will say that over many years, many news organizations have circled this story and have faced a great deal of pressure in doing so," said Farrow, first refusing to comment specifically on NBC's decision, and then revealing that he was threatened with a lawsuit personally from Weinstein when doing his story.
Maddow then put a surprising amount of pressure on Farrow to comment about NBC's decision to pass on the story by asking him specifically about NBC's official claim that the story was "unpublishable" in January.
"I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosively publishable piece that should have been published and immediately, The New Yorker obviously recognized that, and it is not accurate to say that it was not reportable. In fact, there were multiple determinations that were reportable at NBC," answered Farrow.
To make matters worse for NBC, one of its premiere programs, "Saturday Night Live," was accused of completely ignoring the Harvey Weinstein scandal in its latest airing.
The Daily Mail reported that jokes about Weinstein were cut from the rehearsal before the actual episode aired. When Lorne Michaels (the creator of the show) was asked after the broadcast why the Weinstein topic was ignored, he replied that it's a "a New York thing," according to The Daily Mail.
Even MSNBC host Joe Scarborough recognized the strange blind eye the network turned toward Weinstein. "['SNL'] bravely go after politicians? Weekend Update has turned into an anti-Trump editorial, and good for them. But Lorne Michaels says this is a local story. That's like saying the Catholic Church scandal was a central Rome story. People have to stop protecting Harvey Weinstein. If we're really going to move forward, they're going to have to start saying things that are uncomfortable, and I am not really sure why it took Harvey Weinstein losing his power to start doing that," he ranted.
When even your own network hosts are recognizing your hypocrisy and refusal to cover a specific story — there's a problem.
In the midst of continuing fallout from the Weinstein scandal, one hopes it will not be forgotten that NBC turned this story down in January — and has since not given a reasonable explanation about that.