Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Sexual assault survivors and activists from UltraViolet, a leading national women's organization, organized a rally and press conference outside of NBC News Headquarters last month, calling on the network to take immediate action to address abuses of power at the company. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

On Eve of NBC-Hosted Debate, Sanders, Warren, Harris, and Booker Join Call for Network to Allow Outside Probe of Sexual Violence

"Donald Trump has been credibly accused of sexual harassment and sexual abuse by dozens of women. We, as a party, have to offer voters a clear and unquestionable difference come November when it comes to these important issues."

Julia Conley

Expressing concern that the Democratic Party has not clearly aligned itself with survivors rather than corporate entities which protect and enable people accused of abuse, four presidential candidates on Monday called on NBC and its parent company Comcast to commit to an independent investigation into the network's "toxic culture"—including reports of sexual violence—before Wednesday's Democratic primary debate.  

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) demanded of Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez that the party's leadership pressure NBC into opening a thorough probe into "the toxic culture that enabled abusers and silenced survivors."

"Everyone on the side of survivors has a role to play in using their influence to push Comcast and NBC to do the right thing. The DNC has leverage as a critical media partner in the 2020 election and they owe it to survivors to use it."
—Shaunna Thomas, UltraViolet

"Donald Trump has been credibly accused of sexual harassment and sexual abuse by dozens of women," the senators wrote. "We, as a party, have to offer voters a clear and unquestionable difference come November when it comes to these important issues. We cannot do that when we prop up and support companies that have systematically covered up numerous incidents of sexual violence with no accountability or changes of leadership."

The letter was coordinated by women's advocacy group UltraViolet, which has for weeks demanded an outside investigation into NBC leadership's alleged cover-up of longtime anchor Matt Lauer's sexual misconduct and other credible claims of the company's toxic culture.

The group applauded the lawmakers for adding their voices to the call for justice for survivors at NBC.

Last month, UltraViolet held a rally and press conference outside NBC's headquarters in New York and delivered to the company more than 20,000 petitions calling for the firing of top network executives; safety for accusers at the network through anonymous reporting channels and protection from retaliation; and an independent investigation into NBC's decision not to air reports about at least three powerful accused sexual abusers in order to cover up accusations against Lauer. 

The group said that the candidates' letter signifies that Sanders, Warren, Booker, and Harris support current and former NBC employees who "have courageously put their livelihoods on the line to demand change and accountability."

"UltraViolet and our 1.2 million members have their backs, and we are proud to say that Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Senator Elizabeth Warren have their backs too," said Shaunna Thomas, executive director of UltraViolet. "Everyone on the side of survivors has a role to play in using their influence to push Comcast and NBC to do the right thing. The DNC has leverage as a critical media partner in the 2020 election and they owe it to survivors to use it."

Former NBC producer Rich McHugh, who worked with journalist Ronan Farrow on reporting about Harvey Weinstein's alleged serial sexual abuse which the network refused to air in 2017, echoed the call on social media.

"NBC employees are still upset, angry, and fearful, and yet part of the solution is simple: independent investigation," McHugh wrote.

The company has claimed that its own internal investigation into sexual misconduct at the company following Lauer's firing in 2017 was sufficient, particularly because female lawyers led the probe, according to HuffPost journalist Emily Peck. 

"Yet there is clearly something wrong with a work environment reluctant to hold management accountable," wrote the senators. "That's what allowed the behavior of powerful abusers inside the company to go unchecked."

"Comcast should have and needs to do more to shift the work culture and pursue significant structural changes in order to prevent future harassment and abuse at NBC and MSNBC," they added. "Until that happens, employees are at risk."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo