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Rachel Maddow confronts NBC's handling of sexual misconduct allegations on air

MSNBC Anchor Rachel Maddow
Rachel Maddow. Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow confronted her network's parent company, NBCUniversal, on Friday night over its handling of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein and former NBC anchor Matt Lauer.

"I've been through a lot of ups and downs at this company since I've been here. It would be impossible for me to overstate the amount of consternation inside the building around this issue."

What she's saying: Before interviewing investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, Maddow also questioned why NBC News executives chose not to pursue an independent investigation into the Weinstein events and accusations against Lauer.

  • In a statement that Maddow read live Friday evening, she revealed that NBCUniversal would release former employees from “perceived obligation” to remain silent about harassment in the workplace, referring to nondisclosure or non-disparagement clauses in ex-employees' exit agreements.

Why it matters: Maddow's on-air comments were "likely to increase pressure on the NBC News leadership team, including the chairman, Andrew Lack, and the news division president, Noah Oppenheim, who have faced scrutiny from the press and inside network headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza," the Times writes.

The big picture: Farrow's new book, "Catch and Kill," sheds new light on complaints about Lauer, allegations against Weinstein and Farrow's personal fallout with NBC News over his reporting.

  • Reports have surfaced that the network tried to stifle Farrow's 2017 reporting on sexual misconduct allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein while at the network, saying his work did not NBC's meet journalistic standards.
  • Oppenheim, in mid-October, characterized claims against NBC in the book as a "smear."
  • In a Friday statement, NBC News said it “very much wanted to break this story, which is why we assigned it and supported it editorially and financially for seven months. We’re profoundly disappointed that we weren’t able to do so.”

Disclosure: NBC is an investor in Axios and NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is on our board of directors.