So you’ve all probably heard about the firing of Matt Lauer from his position with NBC News as co-host of the “Today” show.
Initially, all we were hearing was that there was some kind of sexual misconduct with a staffer in 2014, and that after investigation, management determined that it wasn’t an isolated incident.
So, yeah. The creeper had to go.
Variety.com covered some of Lauer’s misdeeds in more detail, and I have to say… they’re doozies.
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.
At what point in time and in what world would this ever be considered ok?
Variety apparently conducted a two-month long investigation, with dozens of interviews of past and present staffers. Out of all that, they’ve identified three women, with corroboration by friends and colleagues, who were harassed by Lauer on the job. At present, the women have asked to remain anonymous, out of fear of professional repercussions.
And that is a shame.
Another lovely feature of NBC with Matt Lauer aboard:
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—, marry, or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.
Today’s announcement of Lauer’s firing was due to a detailed complaint by a colleague, who went to NBC bosses Monday, with complaints of behavior that began in 2014 while on a trip at the Sochi Olympics, and apparently carried on for several more months.
In making the announcement of his firing, NBC News chairman Andy Lack says this was the first complaint of Lauer’s behavior in his 20 years with the network, but that may not be the case.
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 tenure at “Today,” the morning news show was No. 1 in the ratings, and executives were eager to keep him happy.
It is the current climate of zero tolerance for sexual misconduct in the media that prompted NBC executives to act.
Lauer’s preoccupation with sex and the bodies of women he worked with was a problem, but one everybody just swept under the rug.
He had some consensual affairs that were the stuff of office gossip, as well as one-nighters with star-struck groupies while on the road.
And yes, he’s a married man.
He even had his office rigged for maximum creep effect.
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.
According to sources, the sexual harassment extended to when Lauer traveled on assignment for NBC. Several employees recall how he paid intense attention to a young woman on his staff that he found attractive, focusing intently on her career ambitions. And he asked the same producer to his hotel room to deliver him a pillow, according to sources with knowledge of the interaction.
In an interesting twist, Lauer’s booker, Matt Zimmerman, was fired earlier this month for sexual harassment.
And former MSNBC jerk, Keith Olbermann piled on, as well.
Sheesh, this is what I get for arranging to not have to look at twitter all morning 😉
Matt Lauer was remorsely vindictive and tyrannical to everyone at NBC News and management repeatedly enabled him and buried the issue.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) November 29, 2017
Lauer is not just a creep. He’s a hypocritical creep.
When the stories about Fox News’ own sexual harassment problems were hot, Lauer actually covered the stories with a straight face.
He also interviewed Bill O’Reilly with a straight face.
In September, Lauer asked Fox News star anchor Bill O’Reilly if he’d ever sent lewd text messages to colleagues. “Think about those … women and what they did,” Lauer said. “They came forward and filed complaints against the biggest star at the network they worked at. Think about how intimidating that must have been. Doesn’t that tell you how strongly they felt about you?”
Hhmmm… Maybe you can answer your own question, Matt.