On an October 25 broadcast of The Rachel Maddow Show featuring Catch and Kill author Ronan Farrow, NBC announced that the network will release employees who have been victims of sexual misconduct at the network from confidentiality agreements provided that they individually ask to be released.
The move is likely in response to Farrow’s allegations that network executives knew about rampant sexual assault and harassment at NBC and not only did little to rectify the problem, but also further penalized victims for coming forward. In a statement that aired on Maddow’s show, NBC said:
“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.”
Linda Vester, who claims NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw sexually harassed her in the 1990s, counters that the network’s response will not correct the problem:
“NBC Universal’s statement is not enough. The company should not make any former employee, specifically women, go begging on their hands and knees back to NBC to be released from an NDA. Women have already been through hell with this company,” Vester said in a statement to Variety. “Here’s what NBC should do: issue a blanket statement simply releasing from NDA’s all current and former NBC News/MSNBC employees who have information regarding sexual misconduct, retaliation, silencing or coverups.”
Vester also pointed out that the very existence of these NDAs are part of the problem, which is not limited to the epidemic of inappropriate and harmful behavior but extends to the culture of secrecy around such behavior that allows it to continue unreported and unchecked.