Women’s Group to DNC: Cancel 5th Presidential Debate Unless Co-Sponsor NBC News ‘Cleans House’

MSNBC and the Washington Post are scheduled to co-host the fifth Democratic presidential debate in November

Last Updated: October 15, 2019 @ 4:03 PM

UltraViolet Action, a women’s advocacy organization, called on the Democratic National Committee to pull its fifth Democratic presidential debate — co-hosted by MSNBC and the Washington Post — in light of new revelations made about NBC News and NBCUniversal in Ronan Farrow’s new book, “Catch and Kill.”

“The DNC needs to make it clear that they support survivors of sexual abuse and cancel the upcoming 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate on MSNBC until Comcast and NBC News take clear steps to clean up the toxic culture that exists across their networks,” Shaunna Thomas, the co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet Action, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Thomas pointed to Farrow’s reporting that NBC News executives may have known about accusations of sexual misconduct earlier than they let on, or that it succumbed to pressure from Weinstein to kill Farrow’s reporting into the disgraced movie mogul’s behavior toward women. (NBC News has repeatedly denied these accusations.)

“These initial reports demonstrate that NBC’s current leadership is either unable or unwilling to take appropriate steps to combat the culture of sexual abuse at the networks. These are problems that can only be solved by significant structural and cultural changes at MSNBC, NBC News, and its parent company, Comcast,” Thomas said before pointing to CBS’ new HR procedures following the allegations of sexual misconduct against former CBS CEO Les Moonves. “The DNC must stand with survivors and pull the upcoming democratic presidential primary debate from MSNBC until Comcast takes clear steps to clean house at NBC News.”

A spokesperson for the DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Washington Post, through a representative, told The Wrap that the paper was still planning on co-hosting the November debate with MSNBC.

Last week, UltraViolet Action also publicly called on NBC News to fire its president, Noah Oppenheim, following early reports about Farrow’s book and the resurfacing of Oppenheim’s 20-year-old columns for his college newspaper, some of which spoke disparagingly of women. Earlier this year, the organization also helped successfully campaign major networks to require that televised debates and town halls for the 2020 election have more women and people of color moderating.

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