The man many blamed for running cover for disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, was quietly removed last week from his position of power and reassigned to a vague new job at the network.
It’s been more than five years since Oppenheim famously killed Ronan Farrow’s reporting on the notorious sexual predator, prompting Farrow to take his reporting to The New Yorker. Ultimately, Farrow was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his work, and the #MeToo movement was born.
Rich McHugh, Farrow’s supervising producer at NBC, told Fox News Digital that Oppenheim was “Weinstein’s best PR person.”
Noah Oppenheim’s “e-mail memo” he released today about what happened within NBC is flatly untrue. I know because I have witnessed their coverup and lies firsthand.https://t.co/Paqqofna2a
— Rich McHugh (@RichMcHugh) October 14, 2019
McHugh ultimately resigned from NBC News “because they ordered me to stop reporting on Harvey Weinstein, and I did not believe that they had been truthful with me or Ronan Farrow, the correspondent with whom I worked for almost a year on what would become one of the defining stories of our time,” he wrote in a 2019 Vanity Fair piece.
“In response, NBC told the Times that ‘the assertion that NBC News tried to kill the Weinstein story’ was ‘an outright lie,'” he said at the time. “Andy Lack, the chairman of news, issued an 11-page memo dismissing it as ‘unfounded intimations and accusations.’ Noah Oppenheim, the president of news, said that I was ‘never told to stop in the way he’s implying.'”
“They not only intervened to shut down our investigation of Weinstein, they even refused to allow me to follow up on our work after Weinstein’s history of sexual assault became front-page news,” McHugh wrote.
In 2020, actress Rose McGowan, an outspoken leader in the #MeToo movement, stated on Farrow’s “Catch and Kill” podcast: “Andy Lack and Noah Oppenheim, you are bad, bad humans.”
“I knew NBC was going to fall before you did… Andy Lack and Noah Oppenheim, you are bad, bad humans.” @rosemcgowan on the TV executives who killed the Weinstein story, and a wider media culture that shields abusive men. Listen to a new #CatchAndKill Pod: https://t.co/KhQ5XF3hb1 pic.twitter.com/ktrHzoN4MV
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) March 5, 2020
Oppenheim’s exit was buried in the seventh paragraph of an NBC News press release announcing New York Times journalist Rebecca Blumenstein’s top new position at the outlet:
[Chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group Cesar] Conde said that Noah Oppenheim, who has led NBC News as President since February 2017, will continue to work closely with NBCU in a new capacity, developing scripts and longform productions in partnership with NBCUniversal. An accomplished author, screenwriter and producer, Oppenheim launched NBC News Studios, a premium longform unit of the news division, in 2020. As a screenwriter, he wrote the critically acclaimed film, Jackie, which was awarded Best Screenplay at the 73rd Venice Film Festival. He also co-wrote The Maze Runner, launching a trilogy that has grossed nearly a billion dollars worldwide.
“We are grateful for Noah’s leadership during such an important time, both for us and our profession, and look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role,” Conde said.
Blumenstein will be taking on much of Oppenheim’s responsibilities going forward.
According to Fox News Digital, “NBC News insiders have felt that he’s had one foot out the door since he was passed over for the chairman role when Lack retired in 2020.”
Rather than promote Oppenheim to the role of chairman, Conde was brought in, and it is to him that Blumenstein will directly report.
An NBC insider told Fox News that Oppenheim would have been fired earlier, but the network was trying to “save face.”
“Noah Oppenheim had very little authority and it wasn’t clear what he did day to day, so this restructuring does little other than remove him after he deeply embarrassed NBC News with how he handled the Harvey Weinstein story,” the source said. “NBC delayed his firing by two years to let him save face. I would be very surprised if any of his screen projects are produced or even optioned by NBCUniversal.”
On the latest #CatchAndKill Podcast, @RichMcHugh remembers watching me play a tape of Harvey Weinstein confessing to sexual assault for the President of NBC News, Noah Oppenheim. And tomorrow: the untold story behind that tape. Subscribe here: https://t.co/649mmaAsyW pic.twitter.com/kjwLTDSlNT
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) December 9, 2019
Oppenheim continued to argue that Farrow had “an axe to grind” against NBC, but, as Fox News Digital notes, the dismissed former president was the executive in charge of “Today” for two years during the Matt Lauer sexual harassment scandal.
Rather than appoint an independent investigator to determine who at the network knew about Lauer’s misconduct, NBC went with in-house general counsel Kim Harris, who came to the hard-to-believe conclusion that Oppenheim, Lack, and other NBC execs were “completely oblivious” to what Lauer was doing.
“The results of the NBC review were mocked by media watchdogs and NBC employees alike,” Fox News Digital reports.
Online, few tears are being shed for Oppenheim’s departure.
“Oppenheim really tried to suppress the Harvey Weinstein story from coming out,” wrote one Twitter user. “Good to see he’s gone.”
Oppenheim really tried to suppress the Harvey Weinstein story from coming out. Good to see he's gone. https://t.co/THsg7Gj5i9
— Andrew Vargha (@andrew_vargha) January 11, 2023
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