Fierce

NBC Says It Will Release The NDAs That Sexual Harassment Survivors Were Forced To Sign

Rachel Maddow announced NBCUniversal will release former employees who experienced sexual harassment and misconduct from non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements. The decision marks a huge victory for survivors. Ronan Farrow revealed in his book, Catch and Kill, that NBC went through great lengths to suppress and cover up sexual harassment allegations against Matt Lauer and other executives. 

“There was a pattern at [NBC] in terms of women making allegations against Matt Lauer and of being paid off and signing away their rights to speak about it all before he was fired,” Maddow said on her show.

While the network vehemently denies the claims in Farrow’s book, Maddow, whose show airs on MSNBC, dedicated an entire episode to interviewing Farrow and even independently corroborated some of his reporting. 

NBCUniversal announces it will release some former employees from NDAs.

“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,” a spokesperson for NBCUniversal said in a statement

In Farrow’s book, the journalist revealed that NBC had made at least seven women sign non-disclosure agreements, some of who filed sexual misconduct complaints about the Today Show host Matt Lauer. 

“Several of the women who signed the nondisclosure agreements had complaints that were unrelated to Lauer, about other men in leadership positions within NBC News,” Farrow wrote, while some of the other agreements “called into question the network’s claim that it had known nothing about women’s allegations against Lauer.”

The revelation contradicted the network, who claimed in 2017, that their internal investigation found that there were no other claims or settlements regarding allegations against Lauer.  

Maddow calls out her NBC employers on her show. 

“I have been through a lot of ups and downs in this company since I’ve been here. It would be impossible to overstate the amount of consternation around this issue,” Maddow said. “But accusations that people in positions of authority in this building may have been complicit in some way of shielding those guys from accountability, those accusations are very, very hard to stomach.”

Maddow was able to confirm Farrow’s reporting that NBC tried to obstruct his article on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations. 

“We have independently confirmed that NBC News did that,” Maddow told viewers. “That did happen. He was told to pause his reporting.”

The day before Farrow’s book was published NBC News’ president Noah Oppenheim published a letter pre-emptively denying the allegations. 

“Farrow alleges there were employees who reported Lauer’s behavior prior to November of 2017 and were paid settlements to silence them,” said Noah Oppenheim, NBC News’ president, in a memo to staff. “Not only is this false, the so-called evidence Farrow uses in his book to support the charge collapses under the slightest scrutiny.”

Farrow praises NBC’s decision to release former employees from their NDAs.

“I think this will go a long way towards making them feel that they can discuss this openly,” Farrow told Maddow on her show.

Non-disclosure agreements are typically used to protect proprietary business information but can be weaponized against sexual misconduct victims by forcing them into silence with the threat of legal action. 

Farrow has maintained for years that NBC executives ordered him to shut down his groundbreaking reporting about the misconduct allegations against Weinstein because Weinstein threatened to publicly expose the allegations against Lauer. 

“This is a documented pattern of secret settlements in this company,” he told Maddow.

Lauer was fired in 2017 by MSNBC when a colleague filed a complaint accusing him of sexual harassment during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Two additional women filed reports following his dismissal. Lauer still denies any allegations. 

Farrow alleges NBC had at least seven women sign NDAs.

In one case, Farrow wrote that one unnamed on-air personality signed an NDA in 2012, alleging that, “NBC sought the deal after she showed colleagues messages she took to be propositions, from both Lauer and one of the senior executives who later departed the company.” 

Farrow says the woman didn’t file a formal complaint in fear of retaliation that would harm her career. In another incident, Farrow spoke to a former producer who alleges Lauer exposed his erect penis to her at the office in 2010. Catch and Kill claims that the woman told Ann Curry, Lauer’s co-host, who alerted senior executives that Lauer had a “problem with women,” and they should “keep an eye on him.” 

“Ronan Farrow continues his attempt to monetize the MeToo movement, using salacious allegations as promotional trinkets to sell his book. Matt never exposed himself to anyone,” Lauer’s attorney Libby Locke told NBC News. 

Lauer denies all allegations, while NBCUniversal maintains there were no other claims or settlements regarding Lauer. 

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Disney Just Announced That We Won’t Have To Wait For The Pandemic To End In Order To Watch Mulan— Thank The Ancestors!

Entertainment

Disney Just Announced That We Won’t Have To Wait For The Pandemic To End In Order To Watch Mulan— Thank The Ancestors!

Rich Fury / Getty

After months of delays and waiting, Disney has announced that Mulan fans will no longer have to wait for a major theatrical release to see the live-action version of the animated classic. On Tuesday the Walt Disney Company revealed that the film will no longer seek a major theatrical release and that the blockbuster’s debut will take place on the subscription streaming service, Disney+.

To see the movie, customers will need to pay an additional $29.99 on top of the cost of the monthly subscription for Disney+

“In order to meet the needs of consumers during this unpredictable period, we thought it was important to find alternative ways to bring this exceptional family-friendly film to them in a timely manner,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek explained in a statement according to Variety. “We see this as an opportunity to bring this incredible film to a broad audience currently unable to go to movie theaters.”

The company has said that it plans to release Mulan in theaters in areas where Disney+ is not available to audiences.

According to Variety, “The decision to put Mulan on premium video-on-demand further emphasizes the studio’s increased reliance on Disney Plus at a time when most of their business — from theme parks and cruises to movie theaters and retail stores — have been crippled by the pandemic. Research, Chapek says, suggests that bringing a high-profile release like Mulan to homes “will act as a fairly large stimulus to sign up for Disney Plus.”

Mulan had been originally scheduled for a theatrical debut on March 27 and was meant to be Disney’s biggest theatrical release for the year.

Disney shelled out a $200 million budget and in early March the studio set up a lavish red carpet premiere at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. Days later, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Disney to postpone the movie’s release. The movie’s debut was then pushed back several times before Disney announced last week that they would indefinitely remove it from the release calendar. Fortunately, they’ve changed their mind and Mulan will debut on the streamer’s new platform on September 4, 2020.

Disney’s latest version of Mulan stars actress Yifei Liu as the titular character based on the legend of a female Chinese warrior who disguises herself and takes her father’s place as a soldier.

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Kevin Hart Backs Ellen DeGeneres Despite The Fact That Fans Canceled His Opinion A Long Time Ago

Entertainment

Kevin Hart Backs Ellen DeGeneres Despite The Fact That Fans Canceled His Opinion A Long Time Ago

Christopher Polk / Getty

In 2019, comedian and actor Kevin Hart received a torrential downpour of heat from fans after a series of homophobic tweets and jokes he’d made in the past had been recovered and publicized. As a result, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ousted him from his position as host of the Oscars that year and fans demanded that he issue a mea culpa. After a day, Hart tweeted an apology to the LGBTQ community but later announced that he was reconsidering stepping down as host after comedian Ellen DeGeneres expressed support for Hart to do so. At the time, DeGeneres defended Hart and called the Academy to rally for Hart to be able to host again.

Around that time, DeGeneres also hosted Hart on her show and urged him to ignore the backlash he’d received. At the time, DeGeneres dismissed his critics as “haters.”

Now it seems that Hart feels that it’s his turn to defend DeGeneres.

In the wake of allegations and criticism about the show’s toxic workplace culture as well as DeGeneres’s role in facilitating it, Hart took to Instagram on Tuesday to say that he will love the comedian “for life.”

“It’s crazy to see my friend go thru what she’s going thru publicly,” the actor wrote in a post featuring the two stars smiling together on her show. “I have known Ellen for years and I can honestly say that she’s one of the dopest people on the f—— planet. She has treated my family and team with love and respect from day 1.”

“The internet has become a crazy world of negativity… we are falling in love with people’s downfall. It’s honestly sad..” Hart continued. “When did we get here? I stand by the ones I know and that I love. Looking forward to future where we are back to loving one another… this hate s*** has to stop. Hopefully, it goes out of style soon…”

Hart finished his post writing that he does not mean “to disregard the feelings of others and their experiences.”

Hart continued writing that the point of his message is “simply to show what my experiences have been with my friend. Love you for life Ellen.”

Last week, DeGeneres addressed allegations about her show and apologized. “My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that,” she explained. “Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”

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