The New #MeToo Claims Against Matt Lauer, Andy Lack, and Donald Trump: Broadsheet

October 10, 2019, 12:01 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Sen. Dianne Feinstein makes a 2020 endorsement, Rihanna talks Fenty, and Ronan Farrow’s book is unearthing new allegations of sexual misconduct. Have a terrific Thursday. 


- 'Not easy at all.' Brace yourself for the worst kind of list: a run-down of all the alleged sexual misconduct and wrongdoing by powerful men that’s emerged in the last day or so. 

Several of the reports stem from excerpts of Ronan Farrow’s new book Catch and Kill. The first allegation is especially egregious; former Today Show host Matt Lauer is accused of raping former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Nevils’s accusation came to light earlier, but her name wasn’t attached to it; it’s what led NBC to fire Lauer, one of its superstars, in a matter of 24 hours. Lauer says the claim of assault “is categorically false."

Another revelation from Farrow’s book is that Harvey Weinstein, along with National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc., knew of Lauer’s alleged history of workplace misconduct and used it as leverage to get NBC to kill the reporting Farrow, then working for the network, was doing on Weinstein’s own behavior. NBC denies the assertion. 

Farrow's book also reports that NBC News chief Andy Lack, who’s been accused of mishandling sexual harassment claims at the network in the past, pursued sexual relationships with female employees and retaliated against the women when things soured. NBC declined to comment to the New York Post, which reported on the allegations.

Then there’s this from another forthcoming book, All the President’s Women by journalists Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy: 43 new allegations of inappropriate behavior, including 26 instances of unwanted sexual contact, by President Donald Trump. That’s in addition to the already-public accusations from two dozen women. The president has previously said that sexual misconduct allegations against him are fabricated and politically motivated. 

You have to look hard to find reason for optimism in these reports; it is ultimately positive that such allegations are surfacing and that women have found the courage to come forward. Another bright spot was the support that one accuser, Nevils, received from Meredith Vieira, who worked with Nevils at the time. Veira was contributing to Today during the Sochi Games and ultimately urged Nevils to report Lauer’s alleged assault. And it’s worth watching how two other Today hosts, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, credited Nevils—live, on air—for going public with her claims against their former colleague. Kotb, who replaced Lauer on the show, said Nevils’s claims were "not allegations of an affair, [but] they're allegations of a crime.” 

"Our thoughts are with Brooke,” she said. “It’s not easy, what she did, to come forward, it’s not easy at all."

Claire Zillman


- Top Prize. Polish author Olga Tokarczuk was one of two winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, announced Thursday. (Two awards were given out since last year's prize was suspended after a sexual assault scandal.) Tokarczuk is viewed as the leading Polish novelist of her generation and was recognized by the Swedish Academy "for a narrative imagination that with encyclopaedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life." BBC

- Debt collector. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is facing potential sanctions or being found in contempt of court for continuing to collect on the debt of former students at the now-bankrupt Corinthian Colleges. The Education Department has seized tax refunds and wages of the former students, who have been promised refunds of their tuition. Bloomberg 

- California colleagues. Sen. Dianne Feinstein endorsed Joe Biden for president yesterday. Feinstein chose Biden over her California colleague in the Senate, Sen. Kamala Harris. Time

- Libra in the House. Mark Zuckerberg will appear before the House Financial Services Committee, led by Rep. Maxine Waters, this month to testify about Facebook's cryptocurrency project, Libra. The committee also considered calling in Sheryl Sandberg, but as of now Zuckerberg will be the only one to appear. Libra's co-creator at Facebook is employee Morgan BellerBloomberg

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Julie Yoo joined Andreessen Horowitz as the firm’s newest general partner. Pernod Ricard USA named Kate Pomeroy VP, power brands; Regan Clarke VP, millennial brands; and Sona Bajaria VP, marketing. Mary Winston will no longer be interim CEO of Bed, Bath & Beyond after the company named a new permanent CEO; Winston was the only black woman currently leading a Fortune 500 company.


- Work, work, work, work. Rihanna is on the cover of Vogue, where she explains why she turned down the Super Bowl (it was over the NFL and its treatment of Colin Kaepernick) and talks about building her luxury house, Fenty, at LVMH. On being approached to start Fenty, now with a staff of 44: "I was like: You’ve never been afraid to do anything or try anything, regardless of the outcome. So I accepted, and we went full steam ahead." Vogue

- The path to Congress. Kimberly Teehee, the first delegate designated to represent the Cherokee Nation in the U.S. House of Representatives (Congress still has to make the seat official), tells Elle about her long career in public service. She says that with few Native Americans represented in popular culture, she grew up looking to elected and community leaders as role models. Elle

- Bias-check. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media developed GD-IQ: Spellcheck for Bias, a machine learning tool that analyzes a script and determine the percentages of characters’ “gender, race, LGBTQIA [and] disabilities." Disney has signed on as an early adopter of the tool, Davis said. Guardian

- A special relationship. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces scrutiny for his relationship with U.S. businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, who ran the tech company Innotech. Arcuri allegedly received favors benefitting her business while Johnson was London's mayor; Arcuri denies getting special treatment. Now Johnson could be summoned before the London Assembly. Guardian

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe. Share it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


Marie Yovanovitch, a career U.S. diplomat caught in the crosshairs of Trump Ukraine scandal Fortune

A British person explains the WAG wars New York Times

College scandal movie got early decision from Lifetime Bloomberg

The complex relationship between Latinas, race, and braids Refinery29


"We are in this together, we want to do this."

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