October 14, 2019
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill, which hits bookstores Oct. 15, outlines alleged efforts by NBC News in 2015 to quash Farrow’s story on alleged sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein — the former Hollywood powerbroker and co-founder of The Weinstein Company.
Farrow’s reporting eventually found its way into The New Yorker in 2017, resulting in Weinstein’s firing from TWC and subsequent criminal charges filed against him in New York on behalf of several women who alleged sexual misconduct. Events that would spearhead the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein has denied any criminal wrongdoing.
In Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, home video makes a cameo appearance as an indirect player in Weinstein’s cozy relationship with NBC’s corporate partner Universal Pictures.
According to the book, Weinstein contacted Ron Meyer, chairman of Universal Pictures, looking to secure a home video and digital distribution deal with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for TWC movies.
TWC had previously distributed packaged-media content through a partnership with Steve Bannon-led (yes, that Steve Bannon) Genius Products — a relationship that ended when Genius filed for involuntary bankruptcy in 2011.
Genius later filed a $130 million lawsuit against TWC alleging fraud. The case was resolved in 2018 with TWC agreeing to pay a $2.5 million settlement.
TWC titles were subsequently shepherded to retail by Starz Media’s Anchor Bay Home Entertainment after TWC acquired a 25% stake in Starz Media.
“I wanted to talk to you about Universal doing our home video and VOD — we’re talking to your guys and I think it’s always good to have a word from the top,” Weinstein wrote in an email to Meyer, as reported by The Wrap from an advanced copy of the book.
“I would love to make this work,” Meyer wrote back to Weinstein. “I look forward to us being in business together. As I told you, if there is anything but a yes please let me know.”
The potential deal, as many in Hollywood, never materialized.
Regardless, Weinstein’s home video request occurred the same year NBC News decided not to air Farrow’s news story on Weinstein.
Farrow contends NBC News senior executives caved to pressure from Weinstein — charges both NBC and Weinstein deny.