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Ronan Farrow told Rachel Maddow on Tuesday that he was threatened personally with a lawsuit by Harvey Weinstein while reporting on what ended up becoming a New Yorker feature.
“In the course of this reporting, I was threatened with a lawsuit personally by Mr. Weinstein,” Farrow said on MSNBC. In anticipation of the story, Weinstein had enlisted a crisis management team and several attorneys, including lawyer Lisa Bloom, who resigned from the film mogul’s team on Saturday.
When Maddow asked why Farrow’s feature ended up at The New Yorker rather than at NBC, where he is employed as a correspondent, he replied, “You would have to ask NBC and NBC executives about the details. I’m not going to comment on any news organization’s story that they did or did not run.”
He added: “I will say that over many years, many news organizations have circled this story and faced a great deal of pressure in doing so.”
Farrow had said that he worked for 10 months to investigate claims of harassment and assault against Weinstein. His report, published Tuesday in The New Yorker, included on-the-record recollections by actress Asia Argento and model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. It included audio of Weinstein admitting to groping Gutierrez.
“I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier, and immediately, obviously, The New Yorker recognized that, and it is not accurate to say that it was not reportable. In fact, there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC,” Farrow recalled.
Weinstein’s spokesperson, Sallie Hofmeister, responded to Farrow’s report with this statement: “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.”
The extensive New Yorker report arrives on the heels of the Oct. 5 bombshell New York Times investigation by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey that found that the mogul had “reached at least eight settlements with women” and included on-the-record quotes from actress Ashley Judd.
Charles Harder, Weinstein’s attorney, stated last Thursday that he was preparing a lawsuit against the Times, claiming that “The New York Times published today a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein.” The paper’s spokesperson defended the report, saying, “We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting.”
The Weinstein Co., reeling from the accusations against the co-chairman of the company, released a statement on Tuesday denying any knowledge of the accusations. “These alleged actions are antithetical to human decency. These allegations come as an utter surprise to the Board. Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false,” the TWC board said.
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