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."