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NBC News releases former employees from confidentiality agreements if they were harassed

Former NBC News employees who signed nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) and allege they were victims of sexual harassment at the network are free to speak publicly about their claims without legal ramifications, NBCUniversal announced.

“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.

NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News.

The statement came out late Friday, just minutes before MSNBC host Rachel Maddow interviewed former MSNBC host and Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Ronan Farrow about his new book, “Catch and Kill.” Farrow in the best-seller reports that NBC has nondisclosure agreements with at least seven women who alleged sexual harassment or discrimination while at the network, including former employees alleging sexual misconduct by former “Today” host Matt Lauer.

NBC told Farrow in the book that the NDAs were standard in severance agreements and were not intended to silence the women from speaking publicly about their experiences.

“The fact that they are ending that and releasing these women is significant,” Farrow said of NBC late Friday. “It should be a model for other companies.”

Maddow, however, criticized NBC News for not publishing Farrow’s explosive reporting on film producer Harvey Weinstein while the journalist worked at the network. 

The “amount of consternation this has caused among the rank-and-file people who work here would be almost impossible for me to overstate,” she said.

Farrow’s reporting on Weinstein, which was published by The New Yorker, helped launch the “Me Too” movement in 2017 and earned the journalist a Pulitzer the following year.

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