News chief Noah Oppenheim is pushing back against claims by journalists Ronan Farrow that his team passed on the opportunity to pursue the Harvey Weinstein story as a result of pressure from the Hollywood titan.
"By several accounts, at least eight women claiming to have been sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted by Weinstein had agreed to go on camera - a lot of them anonymously in shadow, but two alleged victims with their names and faces", according to the Beast.
Oppenheim said Farrow "greatly expended the scope" of the story and did "a ton more extraordinary work" once he took it to another venue. He rejected the idea that the story "wasn't ready to go" and alluded to the idea that NBC may have caved to pressure from the accused.
Instead, Farrow's story - and the audio, from a 2015 New York Police Department sting - appeared Tuesday on the website of The New Yorker.
And Farrow told Rachel Maddow Tuesday night that this was not an unusual occurrence.
The story relinquished by NBC, according to a network source, was "nowhere close to what ultimately ran in the NY Times or the New Yorker". "And immediately, obviously, the New Yorker recognized that, and it is not accurate to say that it was not reportable".
"I walked into the door at the New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece, that should've been public earlier", Farrow said. "In fact, there were multiple determinations at NBC that it was reportable", Farrow continued. Farrow, a former MSNBC host and contributor to NBC News, was known to be originally reporting the story for NBC.
After The New York Times published an investigation last week detailing decades worth of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, the Hollywood executive threatened to sue the paper for defamation, with his attorney contending that the report relied on "mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report". Anonymous sources said the same to the Daily Beast.
Farrow, who has a non-exclusive arrangement with NBC News, wrote the results of his 10-month probe into Weinstein's behavior for the New Yorker because the network did not believe it met the reporting standard necessary to put it on the air.
NBC was lambasted for spiking the story online, and many brought up a similar situation involving NBC previous year.
NBC News was aware of the footage for almost four days before the Post published it, saying they sat on it so lawyers could finish reviewing it. But this summer, he received the blessing to take the story elsewhere. NBC's story was posted online seven minutes later. Some people who worked on that show say the producers are sitting on tapes that feature the president making racist and sexist remarks, but no such tapes have come to light.