Amidst the horrifying news that, according to Ronan Farrow’s new book Catch and Kill, then-NBC’s Today host Matt Lauer allegedly anally raped colleague Brooke Nevils in 2014, a look through the NewsBusters archives found Wednesday afternoon quite the ironic exchange in 2017 between Farrow and Lauer.
On the October 11, 2017 edition of Today, Farrow discussed his piece for The New Yorker that blew the doors off Harvey Weinstein’s long, sordid history of allegedly abusing women. Just 49 days later, Lauer would be fired from NBC amidst the rise of the #MeToo era.
In the midst of the interview, Lauer heaped praise on Farrow for his work exposing Weinstein’s behavior. Lauer led off by gushing that Farrow had “work[ed] on this story for a long time” and that “it has been a long and difficult process to get these actresses to be identified and go on the record with their allegations.”
He then asked: “After so many people have been chasing this for so long, why do you think they are now coming forward?”
Farrow’s response was, as with this entire interview, eerily prophetic given what we know now:
Look, each of these sources really tore their guts out giving these horrifying details. This was a traumatic experience to relive these events, and there’s very little upside for them. You know, this was a brave and important thing they did. And they did it because they thought it could prevent, potentially, future crimes. Again and again, sources talked about doing that because they felt there was a change in the culture, that there was more of a culture of accountability now.
Lauer conducted the interview with co-host Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, but it was Lauer who offered the rebuttal in the form of a statement from a Weinstein spokeswoman, so again, yikes.
But at the end of the interview, the real bit of irony came through as Lauer told Farrow:
LAUER: It’s an extraordinary article, Ronan, nice job.
FARROW: Thank you, Matt. Good to be here.
One may recall that the interview was already awkward at the time. This was due in part to the fact that Farrow had been an NBC News contributor and it took him going to The New Yorker for his Pulitzer Prize-winning article to be published thanks to attempts by the network to quash it.
Between NBC Nightly News’s curious omission of The New York Times’s Weinstein piece on October 5 and Farrow confirming on the October 10 Rachel Maddow Show that NBC had rejected his own version, Farrow’s relationship with NBC was spiraling downward as NBC put the clamps down to protect their bottom line.
So between the rape allegation, a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst being arrested for leaking classified information to what appeared to be two NBC reporters, and the analyst reportedly having slept with one of them, it’s been quite the day at NBC News.
So much for journalistic ethics.
For more examples from our flashback series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.