UltraViolet, a national women’s group, cheered the exit of longtime NBC News Chairman Andy Lack on Monday as a “positive development” that “suggests NBC is beginning to take issues regarding its workplace culture seriously.”
“After a career of enabling sexual abusers, preying on women in the workplace and silencing stories from survivors, Andy Lack’s name is synonymous with NBCUniversal’s toxic workplace culture. Lack should have been forced to step down after Ronan Farrow’s reporting exposed his role covering up sexual abuse at the network,” UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas said in a statement, citing previous accusations about Lack’s behavior as chairman of NBC News and MSNBC since 2015. (Lack has denied retaliating against the two women who spoke with Farrow about his behavior.)
“While no single decision or individual can eliminate the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace, these are positive developments,” she continued. “Still, NBC has a long way to go before it takes the steps necessary to address their toxic workplace culture, which has been cultivated by men like Andy Lack for decades.”
On Monday, NBCUniversal parent Comcast announced that Lack would transition out of his position at the end of the month amid company-wide restructuring that will also have NBC News President Noah Oppenheim, MSNBC President Phil Griffin and CNBC Chairman Mark Hoffman reporting to Cesar Conde of Telemundo, who will now be the chairman of the consolidated NBCUniversal News Group.
Last year, Lack and Oppenheim were widely criticized for their handling of Ronan Farrow’s investigation into Harvey Weinstein at NBC News after the reporter revealed all the roadblocks he faced at the network in his book, “Catch and Kill.” Included in his book were accusations, which have repeatedly been denied by NBC News, that executives were aware of the sexual misconduct accusations against former “Today” anchor” Matt Lauer earlier than they admitted and succumbed to pressure from Weinstein to kill Farrow’s reporting about his behavior toward women.
“Today’s announcement that Lack will be stepping down and that his chief ally Noah Oppenheim, who similarly silenced abuse survivors, has been sidelined, is a positive development that suggests NBC is beginning to take issues regarding its workplace culture seriously,” Thomas said.