Tina Tchen, incoming president and CEO of Time’s Up, has put out a statement calling on NBCUniversal to release its employees from their NDAs and “unequivocally” allow them to “speak without any fear of retaliation.”
The statement comes after Rachel Maddow announced on her show Friday evening that NBCUniversal will release former employees from their non-disparagement agreements if they first contact NBC Legal.
“There is no reason to place the burden on those who choose to speak to reveal themselves in advance to NBCUniversal,” Tchen wrote in the statement, posted to Twitter. “This is an example of the burdens that perpetuate fear and silence, no matter what new policies and trainings may say.”
She called for NBCUniversal to hire outside investigators to look into its workplace culture and journalistic decisions, adding that “workplace harassment remains hidden not just by direct retaliation, but also when there is a fear that anyone who speaks or reports will be silenced.”
“As an employer and especially as a news organization, NBCUniversal should want to know the unvarnished truth.”
Yesterday on @Maddow, @NBCUniversal said that women and employees who say NBC used payouts and NDAs to buy their silence about sexual harassment are free to speak — if they contact NBC Legal first. pic.twitter.com/rS0inJlo8Y
— Tina Tchen (@TinaTchen) October 26, 2019
Tchen is not the first to criticize the limitations of NBCUniversal’s move. Linda Vester, who accused Tom Brokaw of sexual harassment, released a statement Saturday through her Silence Breakers Alliance network making a similar call.
“NBC Universal’s statement is not enough. The company should not make any former employee, specifically women, go begging on their hands and knees back to NBC to be released from an NDA. Women have already been through hell with this company,” Vester said in the statement.
NBCUniversal’s announcement is a sign the company is continuing to grapple with the repercussions of the allegations in Ronan Farrow’s “Catch and Kill.” The book alleges that NBC News held him back from continuing with the bombshell Harvey Weinstein report.
In her broadcast while making the announcement, Maddow expressed that there is intense dissatisfaction among NBCU employees that the company has not chosen to investigate the matter with an independent investigator. “It would be impossible for me to overstate the amount of consternation inside this building,” she said.