NBC News Head: Weinstein Story Didn’t Have ‘The Elements We Needed To Air It’

Van Tine Dennis/Sipa USA

NBC News did not run the Harvey Weinstein story that one of its contributors was chasing because executives “didn’t feel that we had all the elements that we needed to air it,” NBC President Noah Oppenheim said during a company town hall Wednesday.

Entertainment industry magazine The Hollywood Reporter first surfaced Oppenheim’s remarks.

On Tuesday, The New Yorker published a bombshell report about Weinstein’s decades-long history of sexual harassment and assault, written by NBC contributor Ronan Farrow.

The comments from the network president Wednesday follow criticism NBC has received for not publishing the report, which was originally slated to publish in February just before the Oscars, sources told The Hollywood Reporter. Farrow continued working on the piece into the summer, the sources said.

Oppenheim confirmed that Farrow originally started working on the story for NBC.

“We are proud of that. We launched him on that story, we encouraged him to report that story. We supported him and gave him resources to report that story over many, many months,” he said, according to Hollywood Reporter.

Executives reached a point this past summer when they decided Farrow didn’t have all the pieces he needed in order for NBC to air it, he said. Farrow took it the The New Yorker at that point, Oppenheim said, and “greatly expanded the scope of his reporting.”

“Suffice to say, the stunning story, the incredible story that we all read yesterday was not the story that we were looking at when we made our judgment several months ago,” he said. “But we couldn’t be prouder of him and I think all of you need to know about our feeling about the importance of the story is that we have been putting him on our air throughout the day yesterday and this morning, ever since.”

He said NBC will continue to “keep digging” on the Weinstein story and others like it.

We are not always going to be the ones that get it to the finish line, but I think more often than not, we will be. And I think we should all be proud of being an organization that is at least in the hunt on these things. So, thank you,” he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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