It seems like every day there is some depressing news about another high-powered celeb and a sexual harassment scandal. This time, it’s Matt Lauer’s name in the news and he has been fired from his position as host from The Today Show. The news was released this morning that NBC has decided to let the long time host go. The news came a shock to fans of the show and the details of his firing are scandalous. Over the course of today, the details have started to emerge. Variety conducted a two month long investigation into the sexual harassment allegations.
Three women have come forward to talk with Variety about their accusations and several of their friends, family members and coworkers have backed up their stories. The women wished to remain unnamed in fear of potential professional repercussions. Lauer, boasting a $25 million a year annual salary, was let go due to a very detailed and very graphic complaint from a current NBC employee about inappropriate sexual conduct from Lauer that started on a trip at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and then continued on for several months.
NBC said in a statement that this the first complaint about his behavior in over 20 years and acknowledged that it may not be the last. NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said, “We were also presented with reason to believe that this may not have been an isolated incident.”
This statement has been contradicted by the women interviewed by Variety. The woman claimed that they complained to the network but that the complaints fell on deaf ears. The claim it was to keep Lauer happy thanks to the advertising money that he brought to the network.
The accusations against him are pretty salacious. According to the article, Lauer gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. It included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which humiliated and embarrassed the woman. Another accusation is that he would ask different female employees to come to his office and then show him his penis. He would also ask female employees detailed questions about their sexual partners. He would make lewd comments to women or would text them sexually explicit messages.
It was reported that Lauer had a pattern of becoming intensely interested in a young, female producer and then show interest in her career. He would typically engage in this pattern usually at the Olympics. He would invite a female colleague over to his hotel room late at night while covering the Olympics in various countries over the years.
He behavior was no secret over the years. Some of the people interviewed for the article said that the management was well aware of his behavior but kept it under wraps. Rumors have circulated that even his wife was aware of his lewd behavior.
The article states that the employees were town on what to do about it. They all felt like if they complained about Lauer, they would that would face the wrath of Lauer and potential unemployment. Lauer would also pass on stories about cheating husbands or infidelities and it was reported that the situation around the studio became tense around the time of the Roger Ailes and Harvey Weinstein scandals because he had to keep up the conversation about sexual harassment even though he had a reputation for sexually harassing women.
The co-anchors of the show have been making their own statements about the situation and everyone of them appear to be shocked by the allegations. Savannah Gunthrie looked shaken as she announced the news this morning. Multiple celebrities have also tweeted out condemning Lauer and his actions. So far, he has not made his own statement regarding the firing and allegations.