NBC News Hits Back Against Ronan Farrow’s ‘Catch and Kill’ Book

NBC News pushed back against the investigative journalist Ronan Farrow on Monday, denying his allegations that the network tried to conceal complaints about the former “Today” host Matt Lauer and obstruct Mr. Farrow’s reporting into the film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“We have no secrets and nothing to hide,” the NBC News president, Noah Oppenheim, wrote in an extensive memo, which was sent to employees of NBC News and MSNBC in response to reporting in Mr. Farrow’s new book, “Catch and Kill.”

Mr. Oppenheim, who is portrayed in the book as failing to understand the newsworthiness of Mr. Farrow’s investigation into sexual misconduct allegations involving Mr. Weinstein, described the reporting in it as a “smear” and a “conspiracy theory.”

Mr. Farrow has also blamed the NBC News chairman, Andrew Lack, for impeding his reporting on Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Farrow left the network in 2017 and later won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the story, which was published in The New Yorker.

The memo on Monday is NBC’s strongest and most specific response yet to Mr. Farrow, who has spent recent days promoting and defending his book, which is expected to be released on Tuesday.

“Farrow’s effort to defame NBC News is clearly motivated not by a pursuit of truth, but an axe to grind,” Mr. Oppenheim wrote. “It is built on a series of distortions, confused timelines and outright inaccuracies.”

The book contains new details about the circumstances of Mr. Lauer’s firing in November 2017, which followed a complaint of sexual misconduct against him. Mr. Farrow spoke to a woman, Brooke Nevils, who said that Mr. Lauer anally raped her in 2014, which Mr. Lauer has denied and characterized as a consensual encounter.

Mr. Farrow reported that Ms. Nevils had told several people at NBC about the episode long before Mr. Lauer was fired. NBC has said repeatedly that Mr. Lauer was fired within 24 hours of management learning of the first complaint against him.

On Monday, Mr. Oppenheim addressed Mr. Farrow’s finding that NBC used multiple paid settlements to silence employees who had reported Mr. Lauer’s behavior before November 2017.

“Not only is this false, the so-called evidence Farrow uses in his book to support the charge collapses under the slightest scrutiny,” Mr. Oppenheim wrote.

He wrote that NBC’s legal team found that the examples referenced by Mr. Farrow involved employees who had not complained to management and whose departure agreements were unrelated to Mr. Lauer “and completely routine.”

While noting that Mr. Lauer’s “abuses should never have happened,” Mr. Oppenheim added that the book “takes that undeniable fact and twists it into a lie.”

Appearing on “CBS This Morning” on Monday, Mr. Farrow said that his book “is an extraordinarily, meticulously fact-checked work of investigative journalism” and that he is “very confident” in his reporting.