One female claimed NBC “protected the sh*t out of Matt Lauer.”
NBC News has released its internal investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment and assault against former star Matt Lauer.
What a shock. The network found that management had absolutely no knowledge of his alleged behavior.
NBC fired Lauer in November after leadership “received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. NBC President Andrew Lack said the accusations “represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standard.”
The investigation team interviewed 68 people, including current and former employees. The team discovered that the four females “who came forward confirmed that they did not tell their direct manager or anyone else in a position of authority about their sexual encounters with Lauer.”
They also could not find anyone in leadership roles at NBC News, the Today Show, News HR, or News Division that new about the allegations against Lauer. Several of the people interviewed “expressed shock upon reading press reports regarding Lauer’s alleged behavior,” which included individuals who worked with him on a regular basis:
A number of individuals interviewed said that Lauer could be flirtatious, would frequently make jokes, some with sexual overtones, and would openly engage in sexually-oriented banter in the workplace. Several women also credibly described to the investigation team being the subject of what they believed was a sexual overture from Lauer in which he complimented them on their appearance in sexually suggestive ways. According to these women, Lauer did not pursue them further when they deflected or ignored the overture, and they did not experience any retaliation. All these women stated that they did not report this behavior to anyone in a position of authority.
Overall, the “team does not believe there is a current widespread or systemic pattern of behavior that violates Company policy or a current culture of harassment in the News Division.”
That’s quite odd because previous reports contradict this latest investigation. Variety published an article the day Lauer lost his job that stated its reporters spent two months investigating claims against Lauer:
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.
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.”
Oh, wait. There’s more:
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.
Did the investigation team not interview these females?
In April, The Washington Post reported that former Today co-host Ann Curry spoke to leadership about Lauer:
During her last year on the “Today” show, in 2012, Lauer’s co-host Ann Curry said she approached two members of NBC’s management team after an NBC female staffer told her she was “sexually harassed physically” by Lauer. “A woman approached me and asked me tearfully if I could help her,” Curry recalled recently, in her first public comments about the episode. “She was afraid of losing her job. . . . I believed her.”
The woman, she said, implored Curry not to reveal her name to anyone, and she obliged. But Curry specifically named Lauer as a person of concern. “I told management they had a problem and they needed to keep an eye on him and how he deals with women,” she said.
The NBC staffer confirmed to The Washington Post that she went to Curry with her complaint. She spoke on the condition of anonymity because she fears retaliation.
I am guessing the investigation team did not interview Curry.
An NBC spokesman told the WaPo that “the company has no record of her warning and added that there was no mention of it in Lauer’s personal file.”
Let’s go back to the Variety article from November (emphasis mine):
“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.”
Fox News spoke to a few current and former employees who were understandably upset over the findings of NBC’s investigation:
“This is a complete whitewash, a disgrace, and a disgustingly transparent defense of Andy Lack. [NBCUniversal CEO] Steve Burke should be ashamed of himself,” a current NBC staffer who works closely with “Today” told Fox News.
“I’ve just spoken to several women there who are furious,” a former NBC News executive told Fox News.
“This report is a total joke,” said a former on-air NBC News personality. “Someone has to say that.”
NBC higher ups investigated NBC higher ups & found that NBC higher ups had no knowledge of misconduct of one if its highest paid stars. https://t.co/8q2cDRMmsd
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) May 9, 2018
Now that NBC has investigated NBC and found no wrongdoing by NBC, NBC is relieved to put this whole ugly chapter at NBC to rest. https://t.co/RAorc1LuoQ
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) May 9, 2018
Last December, the network received backlash after it decided not to launch an independent investigation. LI’s Professor Jacobson spoke to Fox News:
Embattled NBC News execs are doubling down on their refusal to appoint an outside investigator into sexual misconduct at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, instead announcing a series of internal steps they themselves are overseeing….
Cornell University law professior and Legal Insurrection founder William Jacobson said Lack had no business overseeing the investigation.
“It’s hard to see how an internal investigation that reports to senior executives would be viewed as complete and transparent when the conduct, or lack of conduct, of senior executives, such as Andrew Lack, necessarily should an issue,” Jacobson told Fox News.
“Anything other than an independent outside investigation that reports to the NBC Universal Board of Directors would raise questions as to whether responsibility is being pushed down to lower corporate levels.”
The report said that “[T]he investigation team consulted with two outside law firms about this investigation” and the two “firms have concluded that the investigation team took appropriate investigative steps and that the factual findings and related conclusions in this report appear to have been carefully and thoughtfully drawn from evidence available.”DONATE
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