This morning’s news of Matt Lauer’s abrupt dismissal from NBC was shocking enough — even in the midst of the ever-increasing slew of sexual harassment, assault, and impropriety allegations rocking the political, entertainment and news industries.
While the initial accounts were rather vague (though hinted at something fairly sinister given the speed with which one of NBC’s top talents was given the heave-ho), later in the day we learned some of the gory details regarding other accusations of Lauer’s lecherousness, compliments of Variety.
Later still, we were treated to this cahreepy video of Lauer leering at former co-host Meredith Viera and casually, coldly commanding her to continue bending over so he could enjoy the view. (Have I mentioned how creepy this is?!)
Naively, I thought we’d probably seen/heard the worst of it. But oh no – it’s far, far worse. Far uglier than I’d imagined. Tonight, the New York Times is reporting that since this morning’s news broke, NBC has received at least two more complaints regarding Lauer, one involving a sexual assault which occurred in 2001. The account, which the Times made a point to corroborate with independent sources, including the accuser’s ex-husband, is chilling:
On Wednesday, NBC received at least two more complaints related to Mr. Lauer, according to a person briefed on the network’s handling of the matter. One complaint came from a former employee who said Mr. Lauer had summoned her to his office in 2001, locked the door and sexually assaulted her. She provided her account to The New York Times but declined to let her name be used.
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.
Um…that’s beyond disturbing. And the more of these stories which surface, the harder it is to believe that NBC was in the dark about their “star.”