Oct 9, 2019

What we know: Ronan Farrow's new book "Catch and Kill"

Ronan Farrow. Photo: Angel/AFP/Getty Images

In his yet-to-be released book, investigative reporter Ronan Farrow recounts the difficulties he faced while chasing the Harvey Weinstein story, his fallout with NBC News, and the "untold story of one of the secret heroes of the #MeToo movement."

The big picture: "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators," is scheduled for release on Oct. 15. The book covers "the rampant abuse of power and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook our culture," according to its listing on Amazon.

Context: Farrow began his investigation into movie mogul Weinstein in 2017 when he worked as a reporter for NBC News. The book describes how NBC reportedly tried to kill Farrow's Weinstein report because of claims against its own leadership and on-screen talent, per the New York Times.

The allegations: The book alleges that former co-host of NBC's "Today" show Matt Lauer raped his NBC News colleague Brooke Nevils at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

  • It also suggests that after Nevils filed a complaint against Lauer, Noah Oppenheim, president of NBC News, and Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, previously said the incident was neither criminal nor an assault.
  • "Catch and Kill" also dives into Lack's history of workplace affairs as executive producer of CBS newsmagazine West 57th.
  • Farrow asserts that Weinstein was aware of Lauer's behavior and used it as leverage against NBC executives to kill the reporter's expose, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The network denies this claim.
"Weinstein made it known to the network that he was aware of Lauer's behavior and capable of revealing it."
— Ronan Farrow, "Catch and Kill"
  • Weinstein also attempted to use his longtime relationship with Hillary Clinton to pressure Farrow, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Farrow writes that he received a call from Clinton's publicist, who told Weinstein the story was a "concern for us."
  • Farrow writes that Lisa Bloom, his attorney at the time, was actually trying to funnel information about his story to Weinstein, per Hollywood Reporter.
  • In a 3-part series of excerpts from "Catch and Kill," Farrow writes that an inside source —  "a whistle-blower who feels ethically compelled to expose an operation from within" — revealed Weinstein's efforts to suppress allegations of assault and harassment.

Of note: Dylan Howard, an executive at the tabloid publisher American Media Inc., sued Farrow and his publisher in an attempt to prevent "Catch and Kill" from being published, according to Rolling Stone.

  • Farrow reported in 2017 that Howard sent a reporter to discredit actress Rose McGowan's sexual assault allegations against Weinstein.

Go deeper: Matt Lauer responds to Ronan Farrow's allegations

Editor's note: NBC is an investor in Axios and Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, is a member of the Axios board of directors.

Go deeper

NBC News president sends staff memo addressing Ronan Farrow book

Photo: Mike Pont/Getty Images for Peabody

NBC News President Noah Oppenheim sent a memo to NBC News/MSNBC staffers on Monday morning defending the company against allegations — in Ronan Farrow's new book, "Catch and Kill" — that NBC management engaged in a cover-up to hide sexual misconduct by former "Today" show host Matt Lauer.

"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. Ronan Farrow's book takes that undeniable fact and twists it into a lie — alleging we were a 'company with a lot of secrets.' We have no secrets and nothing to hide."
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MSNBC's Chris Hayes addresses Ronan Farrow's NBC allegations on air

MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes addressed on his show Monday reports from Ronan Farrow's new book alleging NBC silenced reporting on sexual misconduct and authorized a cover-up. He noted NBC leadership "vigorously denies" the account but said 1 thing is "indisputable" following Farrow's departure from the network.

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

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."
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