Ronan Farrow, “Catch and Kill” Author, Unravels Culture of Abuse and Silence in News and Entertainment

Ronan Farrow appearing in an interview with ABC on October 11, 2019. / Image via ABC News screen grab.

Ronan Farrow’s reporting (often with Jane Meyer) at The New Yorker repeatedly shined a light on Harvey Weinstein and other alleged serial abusers exposed amid the #MeToo movement.

Now, the out author and respected investigative reporter’s latest book, “Catch and Kill,” has generated renewed attention to numerous allegations in the news and entertainment industries ahead of the book’s release later this month.

The Full of Extent of Matt Lauer and NBC’s Horrifying Treatment of Women

One of the most headline-dominating revelations from “Catch and Kill” has been the brutal alleged misconduct of NBC’s former “Today” host, Matt Lauer

Lauer already had been accused of various criminal and creepy acts during his decades-long tenure at the network, including having a button installed under his desk to lock women into his NBC office at will and his pervasive sexual harassment of female coworkers. Now, per Farrow’s reporting, Lauer has been accused of raping an NBC co-host at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.

[Forewarning: The following excerpts and discussion include graphic, disturbing descriptions of sexual violence.]

As NPR explained in a deep review of the book yesterday, this sharply contradicts NBC’s depiction of Lauer’s firing as related to an “inappropriate relationship.” Rather, NPR summarizes:

“I’ve lost everything I cared about,” Brooke Nevils, Lauer’s accuser, told Farrow, going on the record for the first time. “My job. My goals.”

In painful detail, Farrow describes a vicious anal rape that left Nevils bleeding and devastated. Nevils is clear in her allegation: “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent. … It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”

Among other cases of highly paid, high-profile male journalists and anchors being quietly pushed out after sexual misconduct accusations, Lauer’s case is especially horrifying. As Nevils explains and Farrow chronicles throughout “Catch and Kill,” however, individual perpetrators often were protected by their very employers: news organizations, like NBC.

Moreover, Matt Lauer’s alleged violence extended well beyond Nevils. As The Daily Beast explained in another summary of “Catch and Kill,” Lauer had faced “multiple other misconduct allegations,” all of which NBC executives had been made aware of leading up to his exit from the network.

The Network’s Broader, Disturbing “Culture” Problem

Worse, NBC not only “lied” about the nature and seriousness of Nevils’s claims, but also, as NPR explained, had 

a culture of generalized sexism and bad journalism: MSNBC President Phil Griffin pressuring female producers into attending a peep show in Times Square and, later, pressuring Farrow to cut quotes in a different story to intentionally alter their meaning — what is, or should be, a firing offense at most news outlets.

NBC News itself ultimately reported at least seven such cases of obscured settlements with other women harassed, abused or outright raped by Lauer. 

“Catch and Kill” comes out October 15.

(Sources: NPR, The Daily Beast, NBC News)

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