NBC and Savannah Guthrie came under fire after Guthrie quickly disclosed how her husband worked for Johnny Depp’s legal team right before an interview with Depp’s lawyers, RadarOnline.com has learned.
The startling admission and “quick disclosure” came Wednesday morning as Guthrie was preparing to interview Camille Vasquez and Ben Chew on NBC’s Today program.
“A quick disclosure, my husband has done consulting work for the Depp legal team, but not in connection with this interview,” the 50-year-old NBC broadcaster told her audience just before introducing Depp’s powerhouse legal team.
“So with that aside, let me ask you, did you speak to your client right after the verdict?” she then asked Vasquez and Chew, charging straight into the interview.
But NBC and Guthrie’s clear conflict of interest hardly when unnoticed, because producers from other morning television programs quickly called out the network and the Today host for their “unforced error.”
“Just before Savannah Guthrie conducts her interview with Johnny Depp's lawyers, she discloses that her husband was a consultant for the Depp legal team,” Justin Baragona, formerly of Mediaite, wrote.
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Surprisingly, other rival producers gave Guthrie credit for the “quick disclosure” and argued that it would have been sketchier if she did not disclose her husband’s consulting work with Depp’s lawyers at all.
As RadarOnline.com reported, Guthrie also interviewed Amber Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft last week, but the Today host either forgot or willingly chose not to disclose her husband’s close connection to Depp’s legal team during that interview – something that also didn’t go unnoticed by Jezebel’s Caitlin Cruz.
“I know objectivity in journalism is a way to uphold the status quo, but I do think this is a cut-and-dry example of Interviews You Should Give to Your Colleagues,” Cruz wrote immediately after Guthrie’s interview with Vasquez and Chew. “Today has been covering the couple’s ongoing legal battles in the United Kingdom, and Gutherie actually got their engagement exclusive back in 2014.”
“In fact, I would argue Guthrie’s husband’s consultancy relationship, which is likely financial, deserves an on-air disclosure to viewers of one of the nation’s largest morning news programs,” Cruz continued, indicating Guthrie should have handed the interview off to a colleague. “There are so many anchors and reporters at Today; Guthrie did not have to be the anchor to take both of these interviews.”
Guthrie married her husband, Michael Feldman, in 2014.
Besides Feldman’s legal consultation work with high-profile personalities such as Depp, the 53-year-old public relations and communications consultant is also a former political advisor who served as former Al Gore's traveling chief of staff during the former vice president’s unsuccessful 2000 presidential run.