Matt Lauer, NBC News refute Ronan Farrow book claims in new statements

Suzy Byrne Editor, Yahoo Entertainment Yahoo Celebrity October 14, 2019 Reblog Share Tweet Share Ronan Farrow, at the TIME 100 Gala in 2010, claims NBC News executives covered up sexual misconduct claims. (Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton) Ronan Farrow, at the /TIME /100 Gala in 2010, claims NBC News executives covered up sexual misconduct claims. (Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

On the eve of Ronan Farrow 's book /Catch and Kill / being released, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim says the network has "nothing to hide" and Matt Lauer has issued a new statement.

Farrow was on /The View/ and/CBS This Morning/ on Monday to tout his book, in which he claims that the network suppressed allegations of sexual misconduct by the /Today/ co-host and disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein . (The network has continuously denied this.) The investigative reporter claims he discovered secret nondisclosure agreements and settlements NBC made with Lauer accusers years before his 2017 firing. Farrow also alleged that the network quashed his story about Weinstein despite what he said was solid reporting.

On /The View/, Farrow and the co-hosts discussed the rape allegation against Lauer by NBC News producer Brooke Nevils . (Lauer denied the allegation in a statement last week, saying it was "consensual.") Farrow also said Ann Curry - who publicly supported Nevils - was "brave" for detailing to him in the book how she reported Lauer to NBC brass for another allegation of workplace sexual misconduct involving a different colleague in 2010. (Curry was pushed out as Lauer's /Today/ co-host in 2012.)

It has since been revealed that Curry told Farrow that she went to execs about Lauer after a /Today/ show producer confided in her that he allegedly had exposed himself to her . However, "as far as Curry ever heard, nothing happened," Farrow wrote.

A new statement from Lauer responded to that allegation - and the book in general. Through his lawyer, Lauer told /CBS This Morning/, "Ronan Farrow continues his attempt to monetize the #MeToo movement, using salacious allegations as promotional trinkets to sell his book. Matt never exposed himself to anyone. This ridiculous story has been shopped around for years. Many allegations that are being circulated were never raised during any fact-checking process. And despite repeated requests for an advance copy of this book, we have not been provided one, while many media outlets have. Matt will have more to say at an appropriate time, but he will not take part in the marketing circus for this book."

Matt Lauer has released a new statement about Ronan Farrow's book Catch and Kill, which comes out Oct. 15. (Screenshot: CBS This Morning) Matt Lauer has released a new statement about Ronan Farrow's book Catch and Kill, which comes out Oct. 15. (Screenshot: CBS This Morning)

Farrow said on /CBS This Morning/ that his book is "meticulously fact-checked work," adding, "we're very confident in it."

Also read on /CBS This Morning/ was part of a new rebuttal from Oppenheim. Yahoo Entertainment has since obtained the entire memo that Oppenheim sent to the NBC News organization this morning.

It started with, "Dear Colleagues: Matt Lauer's actions were abhorrent, and the anger and sadness he caused continue to this day. As we've said since the moment he was fired, his abuses should never have happened."

It went on to say, "Ronan Farrow's book takes that undeniable fact and twists it into a lie - alleging we were a 'company with a lot of secrets,'" he wrote before adding, "We have no secrets and nothing to hide."

It continued, "Now that we've read Farrow's book, it's clear - his smear rests on the allegation that NBC's management knew about and took steps to hide Matt Lauer's misconduct before his firing in November of 2017. Without that, he has no basis on which to rest his second conspiracy theory - that his Harvey Weinstein reporting was squashed to protect Lauer.

NBC News's Noah Oppenheim denies Farrow's reports. (Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) NBC News's Noah Oppenheim denies Farrow's reports. (Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

"Farrow alleges there were employees who reported Lauer's behavior prior to November of 2017 and were paid settlements to silence them. Not only is this false, the so-called evidence Farrow uses in his book to support the charge collapses under the slightest scrutiny."

Oppenheim said the NBCU legal team reviewed the book and the referenced nondisclosure agreements from the years before Lauer was fired. He said they "involve employees who by their own admission made no complaint to management and whose departure agreements were unrelated to Lauer and completely routine."

He listed the three examples, noting one was the woman Curry said she went to execs over in 2010. The second was an "on-air personality who departed in 2012" who Farrow said received inappropriate messages from Lauer, and the third a "senior member of the /Today/ show team" who departed in 2017 with an alleged seven-figure payout.

Oppenheim went on to say, "I feel absolutely terrible that these three employees were subjected to Matt Lauer's horrific behavior, but the facts do not support Farrow's allegation of a 'cover-up" [and] there is no evidence of any reports of Lauer's misconduct before his firing, no settlements, no 'hush money' - no way we have found that NBC's current leadership could have been aware of his misdeeds in the past."

He added, "We can all agree those misdeeds should have come to light sooner, and that we should have had a culture in which anyone who knew about his abuse would have felt comfortable telling management. And if anyone on any past management team knew, they should have taken action. But we cannot undo mistakes that may have been made by people who have long since left the company."

However, "We /can/ make sure the culture today ensures this can never happen again. And that is what we have tried to do, each and every day since the moment Matt's offenses first came to light."

Oppenheim's staff memo went on to "fact-check" several of the allegations in Farrow's book.


Broadcast Standards and Practices

In the United States, Standards and Practices (also referred to as Broadcast Standards and Practices) is the name traditionally given to the department at a television network which is responsible for the moral, ethical, and legal implications of the program that network airs. Standards and Practices also ensures fairness on televised game shows, in which they are the adjunct to the judges at the production company level. They also have the power to reprimand and to recommend the termination of television network stars and employees for violations of standards and practices.


Pre-code: "Don'ts" and "Be Carefuls", as proposed in 1927 [a.k.a. HAYS CODE]

The Code enumerated a number of key points known as the "Don'ts" and "Be Carefuls":[20]

Resolved, That those things which are included in the following list shall not appear in pictures produced by the members of this Association, irrespective of the manner in which they are treated:

  1. Pointed profanity – by either title or lip – this includes the words "God", "Lord", "Jesus", "Christ" (unless they be used reverently in connection with proper religious ceremonies), "hell", "damn", "Gawd", and every other profane and vulgar expression however it may be spelled;
  2. Any licentious or suggestive nudity – in fact or in silhouette; and any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture;
  3. The illegal traffic in drugs;
  4. Any inference of sex perversion;
  5. White slavery;
  6. Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races);
  7. Sex hygiene and venereal diseases;
  8. Scenes of actual childbirth – in fact or in silhouette;
  9. Children's sex organs;
  10. Ridicule of the clergy;
  11. Willful offense to any nation, race or creed;

And be it further resolved, That special care be exercised in the manner in which the following subjects are treated, to the end that vulgarity and suggestiveness may be eliminated and that good taste may be emphasized:

  1. The use of the flag;
  2. International relations (avoiding picturizing in an unfavorable light another country's religion, history, institutions, prominent people, and citizenry);
  3. Arson;
  4. The use of firearms;
  5. Theft, robbery, safe-cracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc. (having in mind the effect which a too-detailed description of these may have upon the moron);
  6. Brutality and possible gruesomeness;
  7. Technique of committing murder by whatever method;
  8. Methods of smuggling;
  9. Third-degree methods;
  10. Actual hangings or electrocutions as legal punishment for crime;
  11. Sympathy for criminals;
  12. Attitude toward public characters and institutions;
  13. Sedition;
  14. Apparent cruelty to children and animals;
  15. Branding of people or animals;
  16. The sale of women, or of a woman selling her virtue;
  17. Rape or attempted rape;
  18. First-night scenes;
  19. Man and woman in bed together;
  20. Deliberate seduction of girls;
  21. The institution of marriage;
  22. Surgical operations;
  23. The use of drugs;
  24. Titles or scenes having to do with law enforcement or law-enforcing officers;
  25. Excessive or lustful kissing, particularly when one character or the other is a "heavy".