NBC tried to downplay ties between ousted Today host Matt Lauer, disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein and NBC News president Noah Oppenheim by hiring a “Wikipedia whitewasher,” Ronan Farrow has claimed.
In his first interview about his new guide Catch and Kill, which chronicles the story behind Farrow’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct and comparable claims towards Lauer, Farrow informed The Hollywood Reporter that NBC used a number of techniques to distance itself from Lauer and Weinstein within the wake of separate misconduct scandals engulfing each in late 2017.
This included, in accordance with The Hollywood Reporter article published Wednesday, “employing a Wikipedia whitewasher to ‘unbraid references to Oppenheim, Weinstein and Lauer’ after the allegations became public.” This, amongst different techniques similar to paying off accusers in trade for signing a nondisclosure settlement, Farrow mentioned, “is not an appropriate corporate practice when you are a news outlet.”
“Wikipedia whitewashing,” or “wikiwashing,” refers back to the follow of sanitizing Wikipedia entries—which will be publicly edited—to 1’s profit. This might embody omitting info which may hurt public notion of an organization, as Farrow accuses NBC of doing, or emphasizing optimistic attributes.
The use of professional, paid editors appearing within the pursuits of shoppers has additionally been scrutinized prior to now. In 2013, Wikipedia banned 250 faux accounts that had been discovered to belong to operatives of public relations agency Wiki-PR and used to edit pages belonging to the agency’s shoppers in a good method.
In 2014, Wikipedia launched a new policy meaning paid editors should declare they’re being paid to make edits and disclose their employer and consumer—typically the topic of the web page being edited.
In 2015, the movie star public relations agency Sunshine Sachs admitted it had violated the brand new coverage by making edits to pages of its shoppers, together with Naomi Campbell, with out divulging the potential conflicts of curiosity.
Farrow’s new guide Catch and Kill incorporates allegations that Lauer raped an NBC News colleague whereas protecting the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
In an interview detailed within the guide, Brooke Nevils claimed that Lauer raped her anally. “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils mentioned, in accordance with Variety. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
Lauer was fired in November 2017 after Nevils filed a proper grievance with NBC. NBC has mentioned it wasn’t conscious of allegations towards Lauer earlier than Nevils’ formal grievance, however Farrow claims in any other case.
NBC News didn’t return a request for remark.