“…he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.”
Early this morning, NBC fired Today anchor Matt Lauer after a colleague and her lawyer met with the big shots at the network and she gave them details of what Lauer allegedly did to her “that started on a trip at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued for several months.”
NBC President Andrew Lack said the network does not believe this was an isolated incident. Of course it wasn’t and Variety magazine provided more incidents of disgusting and disturbing behavior by Lauer.
The New York Times also reported that NBC News received at least two new complaints against Lauer after his firing.
Variety spent two months investigating these claims and had them corroborated by those close to the victims. These may make you puke (emphasis mine):
As the co-host of NBC’s “Today,” Matt Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. It included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified.
On another day, he summoned a different female employee to his office, and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis. After the employee declined to do anything, visibly shaken, he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.
AND WE WONDER WHY VICTIMS CHOOSE NOT TO SPEAK OUT. How reprehensible and evil to use sex as a weapon. There’s more:
Some producers told Variety they were conflicted about what to do around Lauer. They worried that their careers would be sidelined if they didn’t return his advances. “There is such shame with Matt Lauer not liking you,” the former employee added. “I did this special with him and we are traveling and I had a cold sore on my lip and I heard him say to Bryant Gumbel, ‘She has this really ugly cold sore on her lip,’ like that was something to be ashamed of. He was just really cruel.”
Then he liked to play crude games that treated females like sex objects:
He would sometimes quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, offering to trade names. And he loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: “f*ck, marry or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.
Ten current and former employees told Variety that Lauer had a fixation “on women, especially their bodies and looks.” He had a reputation of texting lewd messages and “once made a suggestive reference to a colleague’s performance in bed and compared it to how she was able to complete her job, according to witnesses to the exchange.” From Variety:
For Lauer, work and sex were intertwined.
“There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” says a former producer who knew first-hand of these encounters. “He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.”
Lauer, who was paranoid about being followed by tabloid reporters, grew more emboldened at 30 Rockefeller Center as his profile rose following Katie Couric’s departure from “Today” in 2006. His office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up. This afforded him the assurance of privacy. It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him, according to two women who were sexually harassed by Lauer.
Those on the Today show this morning acted shocked and appalled that Lauer did all of this. But sources told Variety that his behavior was well known on the set:
Lauer’s conduct was not a secret among other employees at “Today,” numerous sources say. At least one of the anchors would gossip about stories she had heard, spreading them among the staff. “Management sucks there,” says a former reporter, who asked not to be identified, speaking about executives who previously worked at the show. “They protected the shit out of Matt Lauer.”
According to producers, Lauer — who had considerable editorial clout over which stories would ultimately air on “Today”— would frequently dismiss stories about cheating husbands. However, in the wake of Roger Ailes and Harvey Weinstein, Lauer had to keep up with a national conversation about sexual harassment. It often made for awkward moments on TV for staff members who knew about Lauer’s private interactions.
The New York Times
The New York Times released an article that said NBC News received two new complaints against Lauer on Wednesday:
In 2001, the woman said, Mr. Lauer, who is married, asked her to his office to discuss a story during a workday. When she sat down, she said, he locked the door, which he could do by pressing a button while sitting at his desk. (People who worked at NBC said the button was a regular security measure installed for high-profile employees.)
The woman said Mr. Lauer asked her to unbutton her blouse, which she did. She said the anchor then stepped out from behind his desk, pulled down her pants, bent her over a chair and had intercourse with her. At some point, she said, she passed out with her pants pulled halfway down. She woke up on the floor of his office, and Mr. Lauer had his assistant take her to a nurse.
The woman told The Times that Mr. Lauer never made an advance toward her again and never mentioned what occurred in his office. She said she did not report the episode to NBC at the time because she believed she should have done more to stop Mr. Lauer. She left the network about a year later.
The article did not provide details of the second complaint.
The NYT said its reporters also met with the woman who made the initial complaint on Monday, “but she said she was not ready to discuss it publicly.”
Lack of Action
Protecting the powerful, right? Great, NBC News fired Lauer after a woman made a complaint on Monday. Thing is, IT IS NOT THE FIRST TIME NBC KNEW ABOUT IT. No wonder the president said they don’t think this is an isolated incident.
PROBABLY BECAUSE OTHER WOMEN COMPLAINED.
Several women told Variety they complained to executives at the network about Lauer’s behavior, which fell on deaf ears given the lucrative advertising surrounding “Today.” NBC declined to comment. For most of Lauer’s tenture at “Today,” the morning news show was No. 1 in the ratings, and executives were eager to keep him happy.
It’s not clear if NBC is paying Lauer through the end of his contract, which expires in 2018. Lauer couldn’t be reached for comment.
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