Matt Lauer was fired this morning over allegations that he had sexually harassed a female NBC employee during the Sochi Olympics. The reprisal was swift — at least, in part, NBC News chairmain Andy Lack revealed, because there indications it “may not have been an isolated incident.” Now, the gory details are trickling out.
The venerated newsman routinely propositioned female employees, according to a two-month investigation just published in Variety. Among the revelations in the disturbing report:
- Lauer had a switch under his office desk that allowed him to lock the door without getting up, allowing him to make inappropriate advances on female staffers without worrying about being walked in on. His office was also located in a “secluded area,” the report says.
- During one such encounter, he allegedly exposed himself to a female employee and lectured her when she refused to engage.
- Another female staffer said he gave her a sex toy along with a note detailing how he wanted to use it on her. None of the women wanted to speak on record for fear of professional reprisals.
- He also reportedly made comments about employees’ sexual prowess in reference to how they did their jobs.
But the employees say it was an open secret among staff at Today that he intermingled sex with work, and while the encounters were often consensual, they were also inappropriate due to his position of power. “There is such shame with Matt Lauer not liking you,” an unnamed former employee told Variety.
And though NBC said in a statement that the network had not received any complaints about Lauer before Monday, several women told Variety they reported his behavior to network executives, but no action was ever taken.
“Management sucks there,” the same former employee said, according to Variety. “They protected the shit out of Matt Lauer.”