On Monday, author Sil Lai Abrams explained how her rape accusation against music mogul Russell Simmons and sexual assault charge against then – “Extra” host A.J. Calloway were allegedly killed off by NBC in 2018.
Abrams says Simmons, who has since moved to Bali, raped her in 1994. Mr. Calloway, who no longer works at “Extra” — which “airs in major markets on NBC owned-and-operated stations,” according to The Hollywood Reporter — allegedly sexually assaulted the author in 2006. Both Simmons and Calloway have denied the allegations.
According to Abrams, her #MeToo claims were set to be covered by MSNBC host Joy Reid before the interview was killed off by NBC higher-ups in the same fashion journalist Ronan Farrow’s reporting on Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was apparently buried.
“I have been struck by the company’s (NBC) insistence that Ronan didn’t have the Harvey Weinstein story in the bag,” Abrams writes at The Daily Beast. “I don’t believe a word of what it says because in 2018, the network killed my #MeToo story that was being reported by MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid. Incredibly, a year after NBC botched Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein, they had the audacity to do it again.”
Abrams says she was put through “a thorough vetting process” and an on-camera interview with Reid was taped on January 7, 2018, which was scheduled to air six days later. She assumed they would go forward with the taped interview and publish an accompanying #MeToo piece written by Reid for New York magazine. Neither, however, would hit the press.
The day before the interview was set to air, Abrams was asked to contact Reid.
“When we spoke a few hours later, she informed me that Russell Simmons’ attorney had gone ballistic and NBC was not going to air the segment, and the New York magazine story was also on hold since they were paired,” Abrams said. “She assured me the story wasn’t dead, but that NBC simply needed more vetting done in order to feel comfortable with moving forward.”
“Over the next several months, NBC put me through an elaborate and bizarre vetting process,” Abrams continues. “I provided legal documentation, hospital bills, and over a dozen corroborating witnesses. Still, they stonewalled. I asked Joy repeatedly if NBC was going to do to her what it did to Ronan, and she said that she didn’t think so.”
In mid-February, Reid allegedly emailed Abrams:
“So basically the story got caught up in a couple of vices: the struggle to get comments from the principles (now mostly alleviated), threats from Russell’s lawyer that spooked NBC,” Joy told me via email. “So now NBC… is demanding that I do all of this additional reporting to meet a legal and standards review.”
“Still not clear why NBC is demanding more corroboration regarding A.J. [arrest] … his lawyer already confirmed the case, but I know this isn’t about you,” Abrams replied to the MSNBC host.
“My team and I, my PA and senior producer helping me with the story met with the standards department rep today just to figure out what the heck’s going on,” Reid explained to Abrams in a phone call two weeks later. “I just have to get my company to have the guts to do the story. I’ve never done a story that has this much evidence before. I have more evidence than the LA Times and The New York Times stories combined. So the whole thing is, if my company will trust the evidence that I’ve shown them, which is substantial, they will do the story.”
When Abrams asked if the network was going to kill her story due to legal threats from Simmons’ and Calloway’s attorneys, Reid allegedly told her: “We have enough that we have satisfied the standards side, but this is now in the hands of lawyers who have to determine the likelihood of a lawsuit by two people now, and what is the likelihood that we will prevail. … This has now gone up past the attorneys I deal with to the head of NBCUniversal’s lawyers. I’ve never been through anything like this.”
Abrams writes that the last time she spoke with Reid was on April 6, 2018, when Reid told her should take her story elsewhere. Senior management, Reid reportedly told her, had stopped responded to her inquiries about the story.
As reported last week by The Daily Wire, Fox News host Tucker Carlson suggested that former NBC host Megyn Kelly was canned from the network because she called for an outside investigation into internal claims of sexual misconduct by former “Today” host Matt Lauer and the handling of Farrow’s reporting on Weinstein.
“Last September, early September, you (Kelly) on your show, on the air on NBC, called for an independent investigation into these allegations,” Carlson said to Kelly, who appeared alongside the host on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday night.
Carlson ran a clip of Kelly from September 2, 2018. “There is a question about whether or not there should be an outside investigator to take a hard look at this,” she said. “To me, as a lawyer, it’s just always better to just send it outside, and then people can have more faith in it and if there’s nothing to hide, you have no worries about it,” Kelly added.
“People’s jaws hung open when you said that,” Carlson told Kelly. “There have been a couple of published accounts that say you were fired from NBC, a little more than a month later, for saying that.”
Kelly was ostensibly canned from NBC in October for discussing whether it’s “racist” or not for people to darken their faces for Halloween costumes.
Carlson then pointed out that MSNBC host Chris Hayes similarly questioned NBC’s handling of such allegations and reporting. “He (Hayes) is saying essentially what you said, which is he doesn’t trust the management at NBC News,” he said to Kelly. “Given your experience, do you think he’s in jeopardy of being fired?”
Tellingly, Kelly responded: “No comment to that.”