Harvey Weinstein allegedly used the allegations against former NBC presenter Matt Lauer to bury reports of his own sexual misconduct. 

A new book by former NBC staffer and journalist Ronan Farrow – Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators – includes an account of how the network was allegedly pressured by Weinstein to spike Farrow’s investigation of the Hollywood producer’s own sexual assaults. 

NBC came under fire for refusing to go public with Farrow’s allegations against Weinstein, which he later took to The New Yorker. 

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Lauer was fired in late 2017 during the #MeToo movement, which was sparked by the wave of allegations against powerful film and TV figures that followed the Weinstein scandal. 

According to the Hollywood ReporterFarrow writes: “Weinstein made it known to the network that he was aware of Lauer’s behaviour and capable of revealing it.”

Citing unnamed sources at NBC and American Media, Farrow added that Weinstein used information discovered by the National Inquirer to pressure NBC executives to spike his exposé. 

NBC News chairman Andy Lack reportedly told Weinstein’s lawyer David Boies: “We’ve told Harvey we’re not doing a story. If we decide to do a story, we’ll tell him.”

Weinstein was apparently ecstatic at this, and boasted that “if I can get a network to kill a story, how hard can a newspaper be?” in reference to the rumoured New York Times investigation. 

Later, the producer emailed NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, who reportedly responded: “Thanks Harvey, appreciate the well-wishes!” Weinstein reportedly then sent him a bottle of Grey Goose vodka. 

The Lauer allegation that Weinstein was using was revealed earlier this week. A previously anonymous accuser, Brooke Nevils, went public with Farrow to allege that Lauer raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. 

In passages quoted by VarietyNevils alleged Lauer “pushed her against the door and kissed her. He then pushed her onto the bed, ‘flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex’. She said that she declined several times” and “wept silently into a pillow” as he did it anyway.

“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils said. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”

Lauer disputes Nevils’ account and said that it “is categorically false, ignores the facts and defies common sense”. 

“There was nothing aggressive about that encounter,” he said. “Brooke did not to or say anything to object. She certainly did not cry. She was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner. At no time did she behave in a way that made it appear she was incapable of consent.”

Fox News reports that, in a memo to colleagues, Lack said Farrow paints “a fundamentally untrue picture” of NBC’s handling of his Weinstein reporting.