Ronan Farrow Claims Harvey Weinstein Used Matt Lauer to Pressure NBC to Kill Its Story About Him
Long before former Today co-anchor Matt Lauer was fired for allegedly raping a colleague in 2017, Harvey Weinstein used rumors about Lauer to pressure NBC News from targeting him in a story, Ronan Farrow claims.
In an upcoming explosive book by the journalist — who first broke the story about Weinstein in 2017 — Farrow documents new details about the producer’s attempts to suppress the sexual assault allegations against him from coming out. These allegedly involved Weinstein using damning reporting on Lauer to spook NBC, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Weinstein made it known to the network that he was aware of Lauer’s behavior and capable of revealing it,” Farrow writes in his new book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, per the outlet.
He continues to reportedly claim that Weinstein used National Enquirer‘s accumulated reporting on Lauer’s alleged workplace misconduct as leverage. NBC denied ever receiving these threats from Weinstein in a statement that Farrow includes in the book, per THR.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the network reiterated their denial: “NBC News was never contacted by AMI [National Enquirer‘s publisher America Media Inc.], or made aware in any way of any threats from them, or from anyone else, for that matter. And the idea of NBC News taking a threat seriously from a tabloid company about Matt Lauer is especially preposterous, since they already covered him with great regularity.”
NBC also continues to maintain that they had no knowledge of Lauer’s misconduct before he was fired in November of 2017.
“Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time. That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint,” NBC News told PEOPLE in a statement. “Our hearts break again for our colleague.”
An attorney for Weinstein did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
In October 2017, the publication of Farrow’s bombshell, Pulitzer Prize-winning articles in The New Yorker documenting Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assaults helped spark the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
Weinstein surrendered to authorities in May 2018 at a police precinct in New York where he was arrested and charged with allegedly raping a woman and forcing another to perform oral sex, police sources confirmed to PEOPLE.
Since then, many more have come forward with stories involving Weinstein and alleged sexual misconduct.
In March, multiple reports revealed that Weinstein had reached a tentative $44 million agreement that would see him compensate women who have sued him for alleged sexual misconduct and board members of his former movie company, while settling a pending civil-rights lawsuit by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
Weinstein is currently set to go to trial in January 2020 for charges of rape, predatory sexual assault and criminal sexual act based on the accusations of two women, according to The Washington Post.
A spokesperson for Weinstein has previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In addition to the new revelations about Weinstein, Farrow’s book also reportedly uncovers new allegations against Lauer, claiming that he reportedly anally raped former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils — whose complaint about Lauer ultimately led to his firing. In a statement to Variety, Lauer said he had an “extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter” with Nevils.
Catch and Kill is out Oct. 15.