NBC News employees announced Wednesday that they have unionized amid claims that higher-ups at the news organization inappropriately handled claims of sexual assault brought to them by employees of the network.
Specifically, the editorial team of NBC News Digital has unionized with The NewsGuild of New York, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The staff of NBC New Digital released a letter announcing their decision Wednesday and reportedly asked executives for voluntary recognition. About 75 percent of NBC News’ digital employees voted to join NewsGuild, the letter said, per The Hollywood Reporter.
NBC News’ digital platforms include the websites for the network’s popular on-air programs, which include nbcnews.com, today.com, and msnbc.com, in addition to other NBC News digital outlets, like StayTuned, LeftField, and NBC News Now.
The employees say they had been driven to unionize following repeated calls for an internal investigation into how the network handled such claims, for which the network repeatedly refused to comply.
Recent weeks have highlighted serious questions as to how NBC News has handled incidents of sexual misconduct in the workplace as well as the opaque processes and procedures for reporting on and exposing powerful predators. NBC News repeatedly refused calls for an independent review on both counts despite numerous such requests from staff. This lack of transparency and NBC News’ troubling trend of passing on stories which investigate the powerful ultimately harm our credibility as journalists.
The statement also said that the journalists were proud to be part of the NBC News team, as it had what they called a “storied name” in journalism. The employees said they were unionizing in order to protect the legacy of the outlet and in order to make the newsroom a stronger and safer place for “all.”
The controversy ignited earlier in October with the publication of Catch and Kill, a book by former NBC News journalist Ronan Farrow about his coverage of the #MeToo movement. In the book, Farrow alleged that NBC News higher-ups told him to stop reporting on sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Farrow would eventually publish his findings in The New Yorker.
The reporting also brought to light new information about the allegations against former Today show anchor Matt Lauer, who was fired by the network in 2017 after sexual misconduct allegations. Farrow’s book revealed the identity of the woman who brought the allegations against Lauer. In the book, she claimed that Lauer had raped her during their time covering the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, the NBC News employees are not the only ones calling for an investigation into the company’s handling of the allegations. Former Megyn Kelly Today anchor Megyn Kelly has blasted the network over its handling of sexual assault accusations, also calling for an investigation.
In addition to the claims about the sexual assault investigations, the letter from the NBC Digital employees also cited a lack of diversity and inclusion, gender and race wage gaps, chronic understaffing, an increase in transparency, and desireable job protections as the reasons to unionize.