Veteran NBC News lead anchor Matt Lauer [photo], was fired from NBC News early Wednesday
Matt Lauer’s high-paying two decades plus tenure at NBC News came to an end Wednesday, over alleged inappropriate sexual behavior that began at the 2014 Winter Olympics and continued afterwards.
The network ousted Lauer after a colleague filed a “detailed” complaint about him Monday night, which NBC described as “a clear violation of our company’s standards.”
MSNBC later reported the incident happened during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and continued after the games in Russia ended.
“As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment,” NBC News chief Andrew Lack wrote in a terse staff memo.
However that the action did not seem to mollify those at the receiving end, as some of the women said their complaints to executives at the network fas ignored. One exasperated former colleague said ‘Management sucks there. They protected the s*** out of Matt Lauer’.
An exposé’ by Variety magazine who spoke with 10 past and present workers at the NBC, paints a landscape of corporate ‘tacit complicity’ while Lauer rolled out a vast array of sexual misconduct against female staffers, including the woman who claims that she was sexually assaulted by the show’s long-time anchor beginning in 2014 at the Sochi Olympics.
That particular victim accompanied by her attorneys kicked off the end of the saga after she shared her account with the human resources and legal departments of NBC News on Monday night.
Stunned: ‘ToDay’ Co-host Savannah Guthrie was accompanied by Hoda Kotb, while making the emotion laden announcement, Wednesday morning
‘Today’ co-host Savannah Guthrie delivered the news that Matt Lauer, her co-anchor for the last five years, had been terminated by NBC News over inappropriate sexual behavior.
“We just learned this moments ago,” an emotional Guthrie said after reading a statement from NBC News boss Andrew Lack informing staff of the Lauer firing.
“As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated, and we are still processing all of this,” she continued. “I will tell you, right now we do not know more than what I just shared with you.”
In place of Lauer was Hoda Kotb who normally co-hosts the fourth hour of “Today” with Kathie Lee Gifford, sitting with Guthrie as she announced: “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Matt Lauer posed with the ‘Today’ show family back in January as he celebrated his 20th anniversary as anchor on the show
Those interviewed for the Variety piece said it was at the OIympic Games where Lauer made moves on a number of female staff members.
Variety reporter Ramin Setoodeh notes that ‘Lauer would invite women employed by NBC late at night to his hotel room while covering the Olympics in various cities over the years,’
‘He later told colleagues how his wife had accompanied him to the London Olympics because she didn’t trust him to travel alone.’
The woman who got the sex toy said she was ‘mortified,’ by the gift which was accompanied by ‘an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her.’
Another staffer was described as ‘visibly shaken’ after the anchor allegedly flashed her in his office. Worse, when she did not do anything, Lauer reportedly ‘reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.’
A heavily pregnant Annette Lauer [left], filed for divorce in Sept 2006 citing cruel and inhumane treatment from Matt, only to withdraw her lawsuit three weeks later.on his own admission, Annette accompanied Matt to the London Olympics because she didn’t trust him to travel alone.’
Two of the women revealed that Lauer had a device under his desk that allowed him to lock the door to his office, ‘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,’ they said.
‘There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,’ said one producer.
‘He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.’
NBC statement on Lauer sacking, Wednesday morning
After the Monday night meeting between the victim and NBC brass, an investigation begun on Tuesday. The decision was made to terminate his employment on Tuesday evening. The swift turnaround time in reaching the decision to fire Lauer who was supposed to co-host the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center that night, appeared to have caught his colleagues off guard.
“I will tell you, right now we do not know more than what I just shared with you,” a choked-up Savannah Guthrie said, flanked by co-host Hoda Kotb at the opening of “Today.”
However CNN reports that, ‘Lauer understood why he was being fired and said he was sorry’, Lack told staff
Lauer was fired from NBC News early Wednesday over inappropriate sexual behavior during the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia
Lauer’s accuser New york Times reported, isn’t ready to go public about the incident. Her attorney Ari Wilkenfeld, said they met with NBC officials for “several hours” Monday night.
“Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly, as all companies should, when confronted with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace”.
“While I am encouraged by NBC’s response to date, I am in awe of the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than the company do the right thing.” Wilkenfeld said Wednesday.
A Variety reporter also tweeted that the trade magazine has been working on a piece about misconduct by Lauer.
Mr. Lauer is one of several of NBC News’s top-rated stars to lose his job in recent years.
A few weeks back the network fired Matt Zimmerman, who was in charge of booking for “Today” and other programs, for “inappropriate conduct.” Mark Halperin lost his job with NBC over allegations of improper sexual conduct filed against him from his days at rival ABC, a decade ago.
Matt Lauer and Natalie Morales denied rumors of an affair but she left the services of NBC
The 59-year-old Lauer, who was under contract through 2018, was one of NBC New’s highest-paid talents, at a reported annual salary at $20 million.
He started filling in at the show 25 years ago while still working with the local affiliate WNBC. He was tapped to co-host the veteran morning show 20 years ago with the departure of Bryant Gumbel left.
His tenure featured major interviews like Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2006, but was also marred by the well-documented departure of co-host Ann Curry in 2012. The two reportedly clashed, forcing Curry out at the network.
Rumors swirled in 2016 that Lauer and fellow “Today” host Natalie Morales had an affair, which prompted her to move to “Access Hollywood” in Los Angeles. Lauer denied those suggestions to several media outlets.
The New York Times in 2013 reported that Ann Curry, a former “Today” co-host, cited Lauer, along with a “boys’ club’’ atmosphere behind the scenes at the show, for undermining her on the set. Curry was finally forced to quit that year.
Matt Lauer was criticized for going harder at candidate Hillary Clinton than he did with her opponent Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential elections
Lauer has had his critics in recent years. His interview of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the presidential campaign was widely criticized for giving candidate Clinton far rougher treatment than he gave Trump.
The larger than life screen personality’s wife, Annette, once accused the Lauer of “cruel and inhumane” behavior against her in a 2006 divorce filing.
The divorce papers, which accused Lauer of “extreme anger and hostility,” were pulled within three weeks and the couple reconciled, In Touch Weekly reported.