Rich McHugh is speaking out against NBC News just a few weeks after leaving the company’s investigative unit. McHugh, a producer for NBC News, worked with Ronan Farrow on the investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse and harassment for an NBC News story, but he says the network effectively killed the investigation.
“At a critical juncture in our reporting on Harvey Weinstein, as we were about to interview a woman with a credible allegation of rape against him, I was told not to do the interview and ordered to stand down, thus effectively killing the story,” McHugh said in the statement to CNN.
McHugh maintains NBC told him to stop the story three days before he was set to interview a credible source. The producer alleges NBC ordered him “not to interview” the woman with rape allegations against Weinstein and “to stand down on the story altogether.”
NBC News responded via spokesperson to McHugh’s claim by saying “the assertion that NBC News tried to kill the Weinstein story while Ronan Farrow was at NBC News, or even more ludicrously, after he left NBC News, is an outright lie.”
Ronan Farrow worked on the Weinstein story under NBC News for eight months, the network said in a statement. NBC News says Farrow believed in August 2017 that his reporting was “ready for air,” but the network disagreed because “he did not yet have a single victim of – or witness to – misconduct by Weinstein who was willing to be identified.”
An NBC News spokesperson said in a statement that “the assertion that NBC News tried to kill the Weinstein story while Ronan Farrow was at NBC News, or even more ludicrously, after he left NBC News, is an outright lie.”
“Dissatisfied with that decision, Farrow chose to leave for a print outlet that he said was willing to publish immediately,” NBC News’ statement reads. “NBC News told him ‘we will not stand in your way,’ and allowed him to take his reporting to The New Yorker, where, two months later, he published a strong piece that cited the following victims by name: Asia Argento, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette, Lucia Evans, Emma de Caunes, Jessica Barth, and Sophie Dix. Not one of these seven women was included in the reporting Farrow presented while at NBC News.”
Farrow’s investigation was published by The New Yorker and ended up winning the journalist a Pulitzer Prize, among other awards. McHugh left NBC News earlier this month and told CNN he decided to speak out against the network because he disagrees with its leadership.
“Something else must have been going on,” the producer alleges. “As a journalist for 16 years I do know that when you have an explosive story you never let it walk out the door.”
Farrow’s upcoming book, “Catch and Kill,” is expected to include details about reporting the Weinstein story while at NBC.