A veteran NBC News producer who worked with Ronan Farrow on Farrow's explosive story on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has left the network and is speaking out, calling the network's decision not to make the story public "a massive breach of journalistic integrity". Since last fall, the journalist has written several pieces that revealed sexual assault and harassment by Hollywood higher-ups, including Weinstein. Weeks after Farrow left NBC News and went to work for The New Yorker, Weiner spoke to him one time for one specific reason - because the NBC legal department continued to field inquiries about Farrow's outreach to sources.
In spring 2017, according to the sources, Farrow played Oppenheim the audio of Weinstein with Battilana admitting that he was "used to" groping women's breasts. "And to stand down on the story altogether".
Farrow ultimately took the story to The New Yorker, which published it in October 2017, just a few days after The New York Times published its own investigation into Weinstein. Oppenheim says they did refuse to allow Farrow use of an NBC camera crew, as he'd already asked for and been granted permission to take the story elsewhere. Farrow has previously countered NBC claims that the Weinstein story was not well-reported enough to broadcast a year ago. "NBC disagreed because, unfortunately, he did not yet have a single victim of - or witness to - misconduct by Weinstein who was willing to be identified", the statement said.
EARLIER: The New York Times reported today that Ronan Farrow's groundbreaking expose on producer Harvey Weinstein was killed by NBC upper management. Besides, this wouldn't be the first time that the Powers That Be at NBC News ignored or squashed reports of abusive, powerful men.
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From there, Farrow's story helped bring down Weinstein and his media empire, winning a Pulitzer Prize and leaving many with questions about how NBC could have let such a sensational scoop slip away. "Will you be OK if I take the reporting to this magazine?'" he said. "I knew that Weinstein was calling NBC executives directly", he added. But his initial article appeared in The New Yorker, leaving many wondering why NBC did not have it first.
"He was never told to stop in the way he's implying", Oppenheim told the Times.
The network infamously lost the "Access Hollywood" scoop in the run-up to the 2016 election, and one of NBC's biggest stars, Matt Lauer, was sacked previous year over allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
Sources told The Daily Beast that Farrow suspected that Oppenheim, who is also a screewriter and TV producer, was communicating with Weinstein about Farrow's investigation. Weinstein, through a spokesperson, has consistently denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.