by Shelby Talcott
NBCUniversal announced Friday evening that it will release alleged victims of sexual assault from their non-disclosure agreements (NDA) following journalist Ronan Farrow’s book accusing the outlet of major coverups.
The outlet will release former employees currently under NDAs upon request, according to a statement MSNBC host Rachel Maddow read Friday on “The Rachel Maddow Show.” This news follows accusations that NBC killed multiple sexual assault allegation stories and tried to cover up allegations against former host Matt Lauer.
“Any former NBC News employee who believes that they cannot disclose their experience with sexual harassment as a result of confidentiality or non-disparagement provision in their separation agreement should contact NBCUniversal and we will release them from that perceived obligation,” an NBCUniversal spokesperson said, according to Maddow. The host added that the NDAs do not prevent anyone from talking about their experience, according to the statement.
Numerous women in media pushed back at NBC Thursday, writing a letter calling on Comcast, the outlet’s parent company, to “override NBC’s decision and launch a full investigation of sexual misconduct within the news division,” Fox News reported. Media pundits Megyn Kelly, Linda Vester, Addie Zinone, Greta Van Susteren, Eleanor McManus and Gretchen Carlson signed the letter.
“Certain network executives have enabled a corporate culture of widespread sexual harassment and abuse, and are still trying to cover it up today,” the letter reads according to Fox. “Comcast must prove to its shareholders that it will pursue the truth on behalf of NBC staffers. If necessary, it should remove executives who have abused or silenced women.”
NBC has not launched an external investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct within the network, although an internal investigation was launched after Lauer was fired in 2017. It found no “contrary evidence” that Lauer misbehaved before Nov. 27, 2017, which was 48 hours before he was fired. It will not launch an external investigation, Maddow reported.
NBC has come under fire following the Oct. 15 release of Farrow’s book “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators,” which accuses the network of silencing his report on sexual assault allegations against now-disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The article ended up being published in The New Yorker on Oct. 10, 2017, and Farrow’s book expands on the alleged cover-up attempts by the network. Weinstein threatened to expose Lauer’s sexual assault allegations, pressuring the network into dropping the story, according to Farrow’s book.
NBC has denied the allegations in multiple staff-wide memos.
Sil Lai Abrams, another reporter who accused the outlet of silencing her alleged rape story, acknowledged the agreement on Twitter Friday but wrote that it is “a distraction.”
“This is a start, but a distraction from the fact that NBC still needs to hire external investigators to do an internal review of the company,” Abrams tweeted.
NBC News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Shelby Talcott is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “NBCUniversal Building” by HanSangYoon. CC BY-SA 4.0.