Democratic Candidates Urge MSNBC to Come Clean Over Sex-Offence Allegations

By Victor Westerkamp

Four Democratic presidential candidates urged their chairman to bar NBC from hosting the primaries unless the corporation allows a third-party investigation into alleged sexual misconduct.

Democratic 2020 presidential candidates Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) signed the letter (pdf) drafted by women’s rights organization Ultra Violet. The letter was sent to Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

It urged the committee to withhold its support for NBC/MSNBC unless the network facilitates a thorough third-party investigation of its perceived “toxic culture”, persistent allegations of sexual misconduct, and the cover-up thereof by high-ranking executives.

“We, the undersigned candidates, are very concerned about the message it would send to sexual assault survivors if our next debate is sponsored by MSNBC without clear commitments from Comcast, the parent company of NBC and MSNBC, to conduct an independent investigation into the toxic culture that enabled abusers and silenced survivors,” the letter begins.

The letter came just two days before the scheduled fifth Democratic Primary in Georgia. It hinted at the possibility of breaking ties with Comcast if their demands were not met.

“It is critical that the Democratic National Committee make clear that they support survivors of sexual harassment and abuse by ensuring that Comcast and NBC News take steps to clean up the toxic culture that exists across their networks,” the letter said

However, NBC has investigated the allegations and is confident they were addressed satisfactorily.

“We are very confident in the report that was conducted,” NBCUniversal spokesperson Hilary Smith told The Hollywood Reporter last month. “We fired Matt Lauer within 24 hours of learning what he did and promptly launched a corporate investigation. Based on our investigative findings, we have swiftly taken appropriate actions to address the situation and improve workplace culture.”

Matt Lauer, a longtime “Today” show anchor, was accused of sexual harassment and fired as a result in late 2017. One of the alleged victims, Brooke Nevils, said that she was raped.

The allegations were reported in detail in Ronan Farrow’s recently released book, “Catch to Kill,” along with other accusations involving NBC executives, including NBC News President Noah Oppenheim.

NTD Photo
NBC’s “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer in New York City on July 29, 2016. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid Picture Supplied by Action Images)

Farrow said in the book that he attempted to report on sexual assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein but was blocked by NBC executives. Farrow later went to the New Yorker, which published a lengthy story on the allegations. Farrow’s account was backed up by a producer who resigned because NBC killed the Weinstein story, he wrote in Vanity Fair.

Farrow also alleged that executives knew about Lauer’s sexual misconduct before he was fired.

NBC conducted an internal probe after Lauer was fired and found no wrongdoing in the handling of the Lauer case. Farrow’s reporting called for a fresh investigation into whether the network was aware of the allegations against Lauer—conducted by a third party—but NBC has refused to do so as of yet.

Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report