2020 Democrats seek investigation into 'toxic culture' at NBC ahead of debate

Four Democratic presidential candidates wrote a letter calling on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to ensure that NBC and its parent company Comcast conduct an independent investigation into the network’s “toxic culture” after it was roiled by allegations of sexual assault.

The letter signed by Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) comes ahead of the Democratic primary debate on Wednesday to be broadcast by MSNBC and The Washington Post.

The Democrats, in a letter directed to DNC Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s ‘wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE, also demanded NBC investigate accusations of “a cover-up” by the network’s management and “a work environment reluctant to hold management accountable.”


“We, the undersigned candidates, are very concerned about the message it would send to sexual assault survivors if our next debate is sponsored by MSNBC without clear commitments from Comcast, the parent company of NBC and MSNBC, to conduct an independent investigation into the toxic culture that enabled abusers and silenced survivors,” they wrote. 

“It is critical that the Democratic National Committee make clear that they support survivors of sexual harassment and abuse by ensuring that Comcast and NBC News take steps to clean up the toxic culture that exists across their networks,” they added. 

The four candidates are among 10 who are set to appear in Wednesday’s debate in Atlanta. 

The senators’ joint letter follows women’s advocacy group UltraViolet’s push last month for the DNC to cancel the upcoming primary debate at MSNBC and the Post. 

The letter signed by the 2020 candidates does not ask the DNC to cancel the debate. 


An official for the DNC said the committee had not received the letter as of Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. The person declined to comment further.

An official for NBC was not immediately available for comment.  

The letter comes following the release of a book by journalist Ronan Farrow, which details allegations of sexual harassment and assault within the network, including an allegation that former anchor Matt LauerMatthew (Matt) Todd LauerComcast shareholders reject proposals for outside sexual harassment investigation at NBC Ronan Farrow fires back at Matt Lauer ‘shoddy journalism’ accusation: ‘Just wrong’ Megyn Kelly calls independent Tara Reade interview the ‘wave of the future’ MORE raped an NBC employee. 

NBC has strongly defended the actions it has taken after the accusations were brought to its attention, including over Lauer, though it has not launched an outside investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.  

Lauer denies the rape allegation saying the sexual relations with the employee had been consensual.

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