Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein fought desperately to kill Ronan Farrow‘s bombshell exposé about the slew of sexual assault allegations against him — threatening to publicize Matt Lauer‘s own alleged misdeeds as leverage, according to a report on Farrow’s new book.
“I’m very clear about the fact that Harvey was laying siege to NBC,” Farrow told The Hollywood Reporter of the standoff, which occurred in 2017 while Farrow was still an NBC correspondent and Lauer the network’s clean-imaged “Today” show star.
Weinstein, who had gotten wind that Farrow was digging into the long-festering allegations that he was a serial sexual predator, leaned on NBC to let sleeping dogs lie — lest he expose dirt on Lauer, Farrow writes in his upcoming book, “Catch and Kill.”
“Weinstein made it known to the network that he was aware of Lauer’s behavior and capable of revealing it,” wrote the Pulitzer Prize winner in an excerpt published by The Hollywood Reporter.
The deeper Farrow dug, the more frantic Weinstein’s entreaties to NBC leadership became.
In one call to Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, Weinstein groused that the allegations against him were ancient history, Farrow writes.
“It was the ’90s. You know? Did I go out with an assistant or two that I shouldn’t have, did I sleep with one or two of them, sure. We all did that,” he purportedly said.
Lack’s response, according to Farrow: “Harvey, say no more. We’ll look into it.”
Farrow’s piece ultimately ran in The New Yorker, and NBC has denied that they were bullied into spiking the story.
“I don’t mean that all of them all of the time were dying to get these calls,” said Farrow, referring to officials at the Peacock Network. “But I think what is inappropriate is the way in which they continued to take those calls and … to engage with him in a warm and friendly way that was then concealed as they killed the story.”
Weinstein has maintained his innocence even as New York prosecutors have launched a sexual assault case against him.
Lauer, who was fired by NBC in November 2017, has conceded that he “acted inappropriately,” but denied forcibly assaulting anyone.
He similarly denied claims made in Farrow’s new book by an ex-NBC staffer that he raped her in a hotel room at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
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