×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ronan Farrow on Matt Lauer’s Letter, Tom Brokaw and NBC: ‘Internal Investigations Are Not Investigations’

Ronan Farrow responded to Matt Lauer’s letter in defense of rape accusations, for the first time, on Tuesday night at the very first stop for his “Catch and Kill” book tour.

“I think the most compelling response is Brooke Nevils’ and her own letter that she published afterwords,” Farrow said, when asked to comment on Lauer’s open letter in which he aggressively denied a rape allegation by the former NBC News employee last week. In Nevils’ response, she slammed the former newsman for “victim blaming,” stating, “the shame in this story belongs to him.”

At the Tuesday night event, Farrow said, “I think that while I’m a reporter and not an activist, and I’m not going to talk about personal feelings of Matt Lauer’s PR, and I’ll deal with the facts, I understand the rational basis for Brooke Nevils saying that this is a shameless and menacing tone.” He added, “I think we’ve seen in a number of cases with high profile people [getting in trouble], a response that shows a lot of anger. The difficulty of that is that it distracts from a sober discussion of the facts, which this should be about.”

The jam-packed discussion drew hundreds of people, who waited in line around The Great Hall at The Cooper Union in New York City, the historic college that has been host to momentous pro-women events, including the Tenth National Woman’s Rights Convention in 1860. The conversation was moderated by feminist journalist Rebecca Traister, who in recent years, in the wake of #MeToo, shared her own Harvey Weinstein story where she was verbally attacked by him as a young reporter in 2000.

Later in the discussion, Traister brought up the fact that Tom Brokaw is included in Farrow’s book as a prominent force at NBC that actually championed Farrow’s Weinstein reporting when the bosses at NBC News were allegedly ordering Farrow to stop his reporting on the matter (an allegation that NBC News has repeatedly said is false, claiming that Farrow’s story was not ready for air and did not meet NBC’s standards for broadcast).

Tom Brokaw was one of the few prominent people at that organization who really stood up and objected to the killing of the Harvey Weinstein story. He said it was wrong and called it a self-inflicted wound,” Farrow explained, noting that Brokaw got angry with NBC News chairman Andy Lack and Noah Oppenheim.

Then Farrow noted the complexities of Brokaw standing up for him, given that Brokaw was thrust into his own allegations of sexual harassment by former anchor Linda Vester, which were exclusively reported by Variety in April 2018. Brokaw vehemently denied the allegations through a blistering letter in which he wrote, “I was ambushed and then perp walked across the pages of The Washington Post and Variety as an avatar of male misogyny, taken to the guillotine and stripped of any honor and achievement I had earned in more than a half century of journalism and citizenship.” In his letter, he claimed that Vester was bitter that she had “failed in her pursuit of stardom.”

Acknowledging that Brokaw championed his Weinstein reporting while he was at NBC, Farrow added, “It has to also be said that Tom Brokaw was the subject of several allegations of sexual misconduct…He contributed to a culture that made young women in my industry and culture feel afraid,” noting the “protection and impunity around star anchors.”

Also during the conversation, Farrow offered some advice to powerful men being accused of sexual harassment. “Before you send your letter, call a feminist,” he quipped.

Asked about his allies at NBC, Farrow said he had a lot of supporters and spoke highly of the journalists at the news organization. “This book is, in so many ways, a love letter and tribute to fellow reporters,” he said. “I love the journalists at NBC News. They have been badasses as this has unfolded. They have held their bosses’ feet to the fire.”

Farrow brought up MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes who, on Monday night, praised Farrow’s reporting and took issue with NBC on-air. “That’s a hard thing to do,” Farrow said of Hayes. “That’s calling, taking the responsibility of your power. He did a difficult and important thing that I know a lot of people in that organization drew strength from.”

Toward the end of the discussion, the investigative reporter reminded the room that NBC News failed to bring in an outside law firm to conduct an investigation; rather, they conducted their own internal investigation.

“The journalists of NBC News repeatedly request that NBC News hire an outside lawfirm and they just refuse, refuse, refuse,” Farrow said, shedding light on the internal conflict within the halls of NBC. “Internal investigations are not investigations,” he said. With a laugh, he added, “We know this from the history of internal investigations.”

More Biz

  • the firt Motley Crue books Nikki

    Motley Crue to Tour in 2020?

    Even though Motley Crue signed a legal document confirming that their 2014-15 “Final Tour” would be their last, the group is plotting a trek in 2020, sources tell Variety. Rolling Stone reported today that Def Leppard and Poison will be joining the group for the trek, which it says will include stadiums; reps for the [...]

  • Republic Records Names Mel Carter Senior

    Republic Records Names Mel Carter Senior VP of A&R

    Republic Records has named Mel Carter as senior vice president of A&R, executive VP Rob Stevenson announced today. In his new role, Carter will scout, sign, and foster new talent for the Republic roster. Additionally, he will continue to oversee the current roster on his imprint, Hikari Ultra, under its joint venture with Republic. In 2018, Carter began consulting for the company and eventually [...]

  • T-Mobile President and CEO John Legere

    John Legere to Step Down as T-Mobile CEO

    John Legere, after more than seven years at the helm of T-Mobile and leading the takeover of rival carrier Sprint, will resign as CEO next spring. Legere will be replaced by Mike Sievert as CEO, effective May 1, 2020. Sievert is currently president and COO of T-Mobile, and his new title will be president and [...]

  • Legendary Celebrity Photographer, Terry O'Neill, in

    Terry O'Neill, Celebrity Photographer of '60s and '70s, Dies at 81

    Terry O’Neill, the British photographer known for his famous shots of celebrities in the ’60s and ’70s and his marriage to Faye Dunaway, has died after a bout with cancer. He was 81. O’Neill’s agency told the BBC that he had prostate cancer and died at home on Saturday night after a long illness. O’Neill [...]

  • Hollywood celebrated the individuals redefining "on-screen

    Media Access Awards Honors Individuals Increasing Representation for Disabilities

    Hollywood celebrated individuals redefining “on-screen representation for the disability community” with the Media Access Awards, in partnership with Easterseals, at the Beverly Hilton Thursday. Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the event, which featured Camryn Manheim, CJ Jones, Coby Bird and “The Peanut Butter Falcon” actors Zack Gottsagen and John Hawkes presenting awards along [...]

  • 'Roxanne' Singer Arizona Zervas Signs With

    'Roxanne' Singer Arizona Zervas Signs With Columbia

    Hotly tipped singer-songwriter Arizona Zervas, whose viral hit “Roxanne” is in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100,  has signed with Columbia, Variety has confirmed. Since the release of the track on Oct. 10, “Roxanne” has reached nearly 50 million streams on Spotify. The single topped Spotify U.S. top tracks chart for an uninterrupted [...]

  • Jax Media at Variety New Leaders

    Jax Media Accepts Variety's Creative Leadership Award at New Leaders Cocktail Party

    This year’s Variety New Leaders event, presented by City National Bank, honored innovative visionaries in entertainment. The cocktail party was hosted on a chilly Thursday night in Lower Manhattan’s Jimmy Rooftop Bar at the James Hotel. Patrick McCarthy, senior VP and head of marketing for City National Bank, kicked off the event highlighting the new [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content