MEDIA

NBC News To Allow Ex-Staffers Out Of Nondisclosure Agreements, But There's A Catch

Former employees may be released from the agreements if they have faced sexual harassment, but not before talking to the company.

Following renewed focus on alleged sexual misconduct within its news division, NBCUniversal said it will allow ex-staffers to break their nondisclosure agreements. But there’s a catch. They have to go through the company first.

“Any former NBC News employee who believes that they cannot disclose their experience with sexual harassment as a result of a confidentiality or non-disparagement provision in their separation agreement should contact NBCUniversal and we will release them from that perceived obligation,” an NBCUniversal spokesperson told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Friday.

HuffPost has reached out to NBC for further information on how that process would work, and whether it can guarantee there would be no retaliation against those seeking exceptions to their agreements.

The announcement came shortly before Maddow’s interview with The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow, who left NBC News in 2017 to join the magazine where he reported his months-long investigation into sexual abuse allegations against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. 

In Farrow’s new book, “Catch and Kill,” he alleges that NBC had attempted to block his work on the Weinstein story ― which he had started while working for the network ― and covered up sexual assault allegations against former “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer. The book also contains explosive new details about the claims of former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils, who has accused Lauer of raping her in a hotel room during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

In a memo obtained by several media outlets earlier this month, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim accused Farrow of engaging in an “effort to defame NBC News,” arguing that the network has “no secrets and nothing to hide.”

In his interview with Maddow, Farrow gave NBC credit for its latest move, stating that the company’s executives “deserve praise” for offering to relax the agreements and that “it should be a model for other companies.”

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