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Why Is Late Night Sidestepping the Harvey Weinstein Reports?

After a New Yorker exposé detailed allegations of rape, late night largely avoids the scandal.

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After a New Yorker investigation detailed the accounts on Tuesday of three different women who say they were forcibly raped by film producer Harvey Weinstein, the New York Times notes that late-night shows including The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers’ Late Night barely addressed the controversy at all.

Vanity Fair reports that others, like Stephen Colbert, have struggled to strike a balance “between humor and earnestness” in the days since initial reports detailed only allegations of sexual harassment. And, perhaps most explosively, the reporter who broke the piece alleges that NBC did everything they could to try and squash the story. 

“Farrow and his producer had been working this for 10 months. They had eight interviews on camera, with a mix of silhouette and not-silhouette—so eight women speaking,” an anonymous insider told the Daily Beast. “They had an NYPD audio tape, and they had enough for a story. And NBC did everything they could to delay it, complicate it, and ultimately Noah [Oppenheim] killed it. NBC shut it down.”

From a public-facing perspective, it’s clear that this late night coverage differs from how comedians handled sexual harassment accusations against other media titans like Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes, causing conservative talk shows like Fox & Friends to slam the comedy shows over the last few days, including Saturday Night Live, who initially wrote Weinstein jokes but reportedly scrapped them because they didn’t land in dress rehearsal.

The notable exceptions to this came before the additional reports, when John Oliver dedicated most of his monologue on Sunday to slamming the media mogul, and Jimmy Kimmel, who spent a significant amount of time Monday night tearing down Weinstein.