‘No one wants to hear from Matt Lauer’: Hit piece on Ronan Farrow widely condemned by Meghan McCain, Twitter
On Tuesday, Matt Lauer thought he finally found the right time to launch an attack — alleging shoddy and biased journalism — against one of his most prominent critics, Ronan Farrow. Lauer published an op-ed for Mediaite, delineating the reasons he says that Farrow was wrong and reckless to accuse him of raping an NBC colleague in his 2019 book “Catch and Kill.”
“What I found when I read the book was frankly shocking, and it should concern anyone who cares about journalism,” Lauer wrote.
But if the former “Today” host hoped his op-ed would inspire the wider public to re-evaluate his image as a #MeToo villain, he failed to “read the room.” That is, if you look at the extent to which he was condemned on Twitter and on “The View” Wednesday morning.
Lauer’s op-ed was a hot topic on “The View,” with Meghan McCain slamming “Matt ‘rape button in his office’ Lauer” for denying the multiple allegations against him, the Decider reported. The allegations include that Lauer had a hidden button in his NBC office that closed the door behind visitors. Lauer and NBC have denied the hidden button accusation.
“I don’t care anything about what that guy has to say,” McCain said, adding that Lauer has been “accused credibly, numerous times of sexual assault.” The conservative co-host also defended Farrow’s overall reporting on sexual misconduct and abuse of power in TV, film and other industries. Farrow won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigations of Harvey Weinstein for the New Yorker.
“I hope I speak for this show and a lot of women that I know in this industry — he has made our jobs safer,” she said, the Decider reported.
For his part, Farrow tweeted: “All I’ll say on this is that Matt Lauer is just wrong. ‘Catch and Kill’ was thoroughly reported and fact-checked, including with Matt Lauer himself.”
On Twitter, journalist Yashar Ali offered a comment that was echoed by many others.
“Reporters aren’t above criticism or examination but Matt Lauer is literally the last person I want to hear from,” Ali tweeted.
Ali also wrote: “Important to note that by Nov 2017, Harvey Weinstein had been shunned by his colleagues. Same can’t be said of Matt Lauer. Matt is still in touch with powerful people in media. They won’t admit this publicly, but they think he’s been wronged.”
NBC fired Lauer in 2017 for an inappropriate relationship with a co-worker. In Farrow’s book, Brooke Nevils said Lauer raped her in a Sochi, Russia, hotel room during the 2014 Winter Olympics. While Lauer denied the rape charge, both he and Nevils said they had a subsequent consensual relationship.
After NBC fired Lauer, several other women came forward in the media or to NBC, alleging harassment or other sexual misconduct by Lauer. An NBC investigation later called the accusations “credible,” NPR reported.
One of those women who came forward was former senior executive producer Melissa Lonner, who alleged Lauer exposed himself to her. She has been publicly backed by Lauer’s former “Today” co-host Ann Curry, including in Farrow’s book.
But Lauer dismissed Curry as a source for corroborating Lonner’s allegation, noting that both Curry and Lonner blamed him for Curry being ousted from “Today” in 2012. Lauer said Curry’s “personal and professional animosity towards me is well documented,” and he called Lonner “a textbook disgruntled source with a grudge against NBC and me.”
Lauer said he had originally intended to release his op-ed in November 2019, but delayed it due to personal considerations. But he said he was encouraged to finally release it this week, a day after an investigation by the New York Times suggested that Farrow was less than thorough in vetting Nevils’ rape accusation.
“Many in the media perceived his work as inherently beyond basic questioning,” Lauer wrote. “However, he was hardly an unbiased journalist when it came to anything to do with NBC, and he was rarely challenged as he dropped salacious stories in a daily marketing effort designed to create media attention for his book.”
Lauer said Nevils never used the words “assault” or “rape” when she filed her complaint against him in November 2017. Lauer also said he personally spoke to four people, including two ex-boyfriends of Nevils’ who he said failed to confirm her allegations of sexual assault or that she feared Lauer could hurt her career at NBC. Mediaite said its editors had independently fact-checked the accounts of the four people Lauer cites, and all confirmed that Lauer’s accounts of their conversations were accurate.
Lauer suggested that Farrow had an ax to grind against NBC because the network declined to air the work he had done at the network on the Weinstein story. Farrow subsequently took his material to the New Yorker.
As a result, Lauer said, Farrow “became a magnet and a willing ear for anyone with negative stories about the network and people who worked for it.”
The Associated Press reported that Farrow’s publisher, Little, Brown and Co., said it fully supported the author.
“Ronan’s dedication to a deep and thorough fact-check of his reporting, his commitment to the rights of victims and his impeccable attention to detail and nuance make us proud to be his publisher,” the company said in a statement.