A handful of high-ranking female news anchors on Thursday sent a letter to the Comcast Corporation's Board of Directors, the parent company of NBC News, asking them to launch an independent investigate into the network for sexual misconducts and coverups. Gretcher Carlson, Greta Van Sustren and Megyn Kelly are three of the high-profile names on the list.
The network announced earlier this week they would not launch another investigation into the allegations that came forward in journalist Ronan Farrow's new book, "Catch and Kill." Farrow uncovered evidence suggesting the network attempted to silence those who accused Matt Lauer of sexual assault.
"There is no additional investigation being conducted," NBC News spokeswoman Hilary Smith said. "We are very confident in the report that was conducted. 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. It is also worth noting that this was a corporate investigation that was conducted by an almost entirely female team, none of whom are part of the News division."
According to the letter's co-signers, the allegation made against Lauer isn't an "isolated incident."
"Comcast must prove to its shareholders that it will pursue the truth on behalf of NBC staffers," the letter reads. "If necessary, it should remove executives who have abused or silenced women."
Here's a full copy of the letter:
October 17, 2019
To Comcast Corp. Board of Directors and Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO:
As the parent company of NBC Universal, we appeal to you to overturn the network’s refusal on Thursday to conduct an independent investigation of sexual misconduct and coverups at NBC News.
This week, the fearless reporting by Ronan Farrow and Rich McHugh exposed what many at NBC News have known for years: certain network executives have enabled a corporate culture of widespread sexual harassment and abuse, and are still trying to cover it up today.
Through dozens of interviews with current and former NBC employees, Farrow and McHugh have established that NBC knew long before November 2017 that Matt Lauer pressured female colleagues for sexual contact. Their book, Catch and Kill, reveals that a “Today” show staffer was paid off and silenced in 2011 after confiding in colleagues about Lauer pressing her for sex. The book also reveals that an on-air personality suffered retaliation for rebuffing Lauer.
These were not isolated incidents. His years of predatory behavior toward female colleagues was tolerated by executives with the same attitudes toward women – some were even predators themselves.
According to the book, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack and MSNBC President Phil Griffin also have a record of sexually harassing female subordinates. NBC News President Noah Oppenheim boasted about objectifying women while at Harvard University.
Are these the men you want running a news network news reliant on the FCC for license renewal?
We call on Comcast to do three things immediately:
1) Override NBC’s decision and launch a full investigation of sexual misconduct within the news division, to be conducted by an outside, independent law firm. The inquiry should determine which executives knew about the misconduct and covered it up. The final report should be sent directly to Mr. Roberts and the Board of Directors.
2) Make NBC declare that all current and former employees may seek waivers from their non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in any sexual misconduct cases so that they can speak freely and publicly.
3) Have an in-person meeting of Comcast executives, directors, sexual harassment victims and advocacy leaders.
Comcast must prove to its shareholders that it will pursue the truth on behalf of NBC staffers. If necessary, it should remove executives who have abused or silenced women.
Gretchen Carlson, Gift of Courage Fund, Former Fox News Host and Anchor
Megyn Kelly, Former NBC News and Fox News Host and Anchor
Eleanor McManus, Founder of Press Forward, Former CNN Producer
Greta Van Susteren, Former Fox News and MSNBC Host and Anchor
Linda Vester, Founder, Silence Breakers Alliance, Former NBC News and Fox News Anchor and Correspondent
Addie Zinone, Co-Founder Press Forward, Former NBC News Producer
Van Susteren took to Twitter to remind folks that she has been critical about sexual assault and harassment before and she didn't discuss the issue with Kelly or Carlson:
As an aside...it is interesting to note that I have not had a conversation or email/text w/ Megyn Kelly or Gretchen Carlson since I left Fox News Aug 2016-I was contacted about this issue and I have written about the need of transparency in news business https://t.co/xq8hr4DKty— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) October 18, 2019
ABC News' Matthew Dowd accused Kelly of refusing to stand up for other so-called sexual assault victims, like Christine Blasey Ford (whose attorney admitted she made up the ordeal to protect Roe v. Wade). Kelly responded by reminding him of a chapter in her book which deals with this topic.
.@matthewjdowd - umm, there is a whole movie about me standing up for the women at Fox. & I put Trump accusers on the air. Also my job as a reporter was not to “stand up” for Blasey-Ford. It was to report fairly on her w/o taking a side. You should try it sometime. https://t.co/lLnOCSrm0I— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) October 19, 2019
By the way, I devoted an entire chapter of my book to the harassment scandal at Fox and discussed it on virtually every network. It was a NYT #1 Best Seller. You should read it! #settleformore https://t.co/lLnOCSrm0I— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) October 19, 2019