“Morning Joe” anchor Mika Brzezinski has written a lengthy essay on the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal, recalling her frustration with the mogul’s decision to leak the news of her three-book deal with Weinstein Books to the New York Post.
The essay, posted Tuesday morning on NBC News’ online opinion section Think, asserts that firing Weinstein from his namesake company is only the first step in addressing the broader issue of sexual harassment in the media biz.
Brzezinski last week declared that she would not write another book for Weinstein Co. while Harvey remained at the company. In her essay, she recounts her anger at Harvey’s handling of the deal announcement. After a wave of stories about Harvey’s deft manipulation of media, and his particularly close ties to the Post’s Page Six gossip section, Brzezinski said she was horrified to think that the news of her book deal, inked earlier this year, might’ve been a trade-off for the Post tabling a negative story on Harvey or an associate. Ironically, Brzezinski’s first book under the deal was an expanded version of her 2011 title “Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth.”
“I became furious when I remembered that, when I signed the book deal with Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s publishing imprint, they kept telling me that Harvey wanted to break the story to Page Six,” Brzezinski wrote in the essay titled “Firing Harvey Weinstein Does Not Get His Company Off the Hook.” “I kept saying, ‘You know, NBC, and my team at Know Your Value, we want to wait a minute and make sure this contract is okay and work out the details. We’ll release it together.’ We were going to wait a few weeks for a lot of different reasons, but Harvey rushed to Page Six and there was a blaring headline, ‘Mika Brzezinski lands mega 3-book deal,’ ” she wrote.
“I didn’t get it at the time; I was thrown off. But Saturday morning, as I was reading all these articles and reading Friday’s front-page article in the New York Times, I became really upset when I realized, “Oh, my God, he might have been using that just as another cover for him.” He’s done a lot of different things that appear to be supportive to women, but I didn’t want any part of that because I believe in what I’m doing. I believe in the books that I’m writing and in the Know Your Value message,” she wrote.
Brzezinski said the crescendo of sexual harassment scandals in media and entertainment is a discouraging signal that such behavior remains pervasive and that women have to speak up at their own risk to root out the problem.
“There have been some really disturbing stories of sexual harassment that have come out over the past year or two, and I think it has uncovered something that still is very pervasive in corporate America, especially in the media culture. It is good that we are shining a light on this, but it’s frustrating that it’s taken so long for some people to address this,” she wrote. “So while the slow pace of progress is disappointing, the more conversations we have about this problem the better, and the more comfortable women will be to come forward. We need to work on developing corporate environments where women can speak up in real time, and where their concerns will be taken seriously and believed.”