“Catch and Kill” author Ronan Farrow commended Fox News for its handling of internal sexual misconduct accusations, in an appearance on the network Wednesday night. Farrow detailed to anchor Bret Baier the struggles he faced trying to get NBC News to publish his reporting on the sexual misconduct accusations against Harvey Weinstein
“The fundamental fact here is that I took reporting that this network had looked at — and you can read the book for yourself and see whether you agree with their judgment that it shouldn’t have aired — and took it across the street to The New Yorker,” Farrow told Baier.
“And in just a matter of weeks, it became a Pulitzer Prize-winning, significant body of reporting. And I owe that to the bravery of sources, I owe it to incredible editors there, and I think that it tells an important story about the circles of mutual protection and power in our business — in the media — and the need to hold ourselves accountable,” Farrow continued.
Discussing what he sees as “the circles of mutual protection and power in our business,” Farrow referenced not only NBC News but CBS, about which he also did “reporting on allegations of misconduct” and “secret settlements.”
“It’s true of Fox, your own network,” Farrow added, to which Baier answered, “Sure.”
Farrow continued, saying that Fox News “has done a great job of confronting some of the issues here, including the use of secret settlements.”
Fox News’ founder Roger Ailes was ousted from the network in 2016 after an accusation of sexual misconduct from former anchor Gretchen Carlson led to an onslaught of further accusations from other women.
Primetime anchor Bill O’Reilly was subsequently forced out from the network in 2017 following a New York Times report that he and Fox News made payouts totaling about $13 million to five women to settle claims of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior.
At the time, O’Reilly disputed the reporting, saying, “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.”
“And now, there’s a tough conversation happening at NBC, where after I’ve unveiled that there were, in years where they claimed no secret settlements, in fact many of them, including ones with Matt Lauer’s accusers. And the journalists there, who are excellent journalists in many cases, are asking tough questions about why,” Farrow said. His book said that “multiple” Lauer accusers signed non-disclosure agreements with NBC “years before” rape accuser Brooke Nevils came forward with the accusation that led to his firing two years ago.
In a statement last Friday, an NBC News spokesperson denied that the network had previous knowledge of Lauer’s behavior. “The first time we learned about Matt Lauer’s sexual misconduct in the workplace was the night of November 27, 2017 and he was fired in 24 hours. Any suggestion that we knew prior to that evening, paid any ‘hush money,’ or tried to cover up any aspect of Lauer’s appalling behavior is absolutely false,” the spokesperson said.