Nov 29, 2017

Read the sexual harassment allegations against Matt Lauer

Erica Pandey, author of @Work

Lauer on set in New York. Photo: Richard Drew / AP

Over the course of a two-month investigation, Variety talked to three women with stories of sexual harassment perpetrated by Matt Lauer at NBC. One woman said Lauer exposed himself to her and reprimanded her for refusing to engage in a sexual act. Another said he gifted her a sex toy with a lewd note.

The big picture: Several women told Variety that NBC has not adequately addressed past complaints about Lauer's behavior. NBC declined to comment, and Lauer could not be reached for comment.

Background: In an email to NBC staff Wednesday morning, NBC News chairman Andy Lack said the network is terminating Lauer's contract after an employee came forward with an allegation of sexual misconduct. Lack's email said that while this was the only complaint against Lauer in his 20-year career at NBC, the network has "reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."

From Variety's report:

  • "The cause of his dismissal, according to sources, was a detailed complaint from another current NBC employee about inappropriate sexual conduct from Lauer that started on a trip at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued for several months."
  • Lauer's secluded office had a button under his desk with which he could lock the door without standing up. Two women who he allegedly harassed said he would use this mechanism to initiate inappropriate content with female colleagues.
  • "There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that's still a problem because of the power he held," says a former producer who knew first-hand of these encounters told Variety.
  • Lauer "would sometimes quiz female producers about who they'd slept with, offering to trade names.
  • He "loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: "fuck, marry or kill," in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he'd most like to sleep with."

Go deeper

48 mins ago - Technology

Trump and Zuckerberg share phone call amid social media furor

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the week that President Trump took on social media, Axios has learned that he had a call Friday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that was described by both sides as productive.

Why it matters: With the White House and Twitter at war, Facebook has managed to keep diplomatic relations with the world's most powerful social-media devotee.

Twitter, Google lead chorus of brands backing George Floyd protests

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter and Google are among the dozens of brands over the past 24 hours that have taken public stances in favor of Americans protesting racial equality. Some companies have changed their logos in solidarity with the movement, while others have pledged money in support of efforts to address social injustice.

Why it matters: The pressure that companies feel to speak out on issues has increased during the Trump era, as businesses have sought to fill a trust void left by the government. Now, some of the biggest companies are quickly taking a public stand on the protests, pressuring all other brands to do the same.

NYPD commissioner: "I'm extremely proud" of officers' response to protests

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in February. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a public statement Sunday that he is "extremely proud" of the New York City Police Department's response to protests over the death of George Floyd Saturday night, writing: "What we saw in New York City last night and the night before was not about peaceful protest of any kind."

Why it matters: New York City residents captured several instances of police officers using excessive force against demonstrators. In one video, two NYPD SUVs are seen ramming into protesters who were blocking a road and throwing traffic cones at the vehicles.