New York attorney general interviewed Megyn Kelly in probe of sexual harassment at NBC News: report

Prosecutors are reportedly investigating allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published May 7, 2020 9:48AM (EDT)

Megyn Kelly (Getty/Phillip Faraone)
Megyn Kelly (Getty/Phillip Faraone)

The New York attorney general's office launched an investigation last year into allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation at NBC News, according to a new report.

The probe focused on high-ranking executives and personalities, including outgoing NBC News chief Andy Lack and former MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Variety reported. Former "Today" co-host Megyn Kelly was among those who provided testimony in the investigation.

The investigation is "broad-scoped" and "at least a dozen" people have been questioned, sources told Variety.

The report came after Lack abruptly announced that he would step down months before his planned retirement, which was scheduled for after the 2020 election.

"We are not aware of any inquiry," a spokesman for NBCUniversal, the news outlet's parent company, told Variety. The report noted that it was unclear if the investigation remains ongoing. A source directly involved with the probe told the outlet that it may have been put on hold while the attorney general's office is closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Former NBC News anchor Linda Vester told the outlet that she spoke to the attorney general's office earlier this year after coming forward with sexual harassment allegations against former longtime "Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw, claims which he denies.

"They asked me to recount my original experience and wanted to know a lot about the retaliation after I told the Brokaw story and what I thought might be Andy Lack's involvement in it," she said.

Former production assistant Addie Zinone, who said her relationship with former "Today" host Matt Lauer had a "devastating and lasting effect" on her personal and professional life, told Variety she also spoke with investigators.

"The New York attorney general's office interviewed me about the culture at NBC News and my experience as a young production assistant, including my interactions with Matt Lauer in the newsroom," she said. "It's time to ask what top management at NBC and other outlets are doing to change the culture that allowed Lauer, along with numerous news anchors with questionable attitudes toward women, to stay in their positions for so long."

Another woman who told Variety she was sexually harassed by Matthews and then faced retaliation was also interviewed.

"I was interviewed over the phone for sexual harassment and retaliation," she told the outlet. "Everyone in that company knew about it, and they knew about it for years and it was horrible."

The attorney general's office has interviewed at least two women with sexual harassment allegations against Matthews, according to the report.

The probe came as former NBC News reporter Ronan Farrow accused NBC brass of making "multiple secret agreements" with women who brought allegations against Lauer before his firing in 2017, which the network denied. Farrow also alleged that network executives shut down his detailed reporting of the sexual assault allegations against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, which Lack denied.

Rich McHugh, who was Farrow's producer at NBC, told Fox News on Monday that he was "aware" of the probe.

"I'm aware of it. I've been looking into it for a story. It was the New York attorney general's office civil division," he said. "So we're not sure if it could lead into anything criminal, but I do know that they've been looking into this and interviewing employees over a number of months."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aggregate Andy Lack Chris Matthews Linda Vester Matt Lauer Megyn Kelly Nbc News Politics Ronan Farrow Tom Brokaw