Matt Lauer Denied Sexual Misconduct Claims Just Two Weeks Ago, NBC Says
An eerie bit of foreshadowing took place at NBC’s Rockefeller Center office just two weeks ago, when top network executives confront Lauer allegations of sexually assault in the past. He denied such allegations. He lied.
Just a few weeks ago, it’s believed that NBC’s top news executives asked the former “Today” co-host Matt Lauer about reports claiming that he had sexually harassed colleagues. But, during that confrontation, Lauer repeatedly denied them, saying they were fabricated and “just part of a trend,” according to people at the network.
The executives — which included the chairman and president of NBC News — were tipped by NBC employees who had received media and legal inquiries about Lauer’s alleged misconduct, according to a network executive. When the NBC managers confronted Lauer about the reports, he responded by saying he was “racking his brain and couldn’t think of anything at all,” said the executive, who was not authorized to speak for the record.
Well, suffice to say he’s brain has now been “fully racked.”
In addition to asking Lauer about the rumored allegations, the network searched its human-resources and legal archives to see if there were any complaints or settlements involving Lauer, the network executive said. Reportedly, they had found none, although Lauer has been the subject of tabloid rumors about infidelity for years. Also, with the mounting accusations of sexual misconduct involving Lauer, it appears he may had paid off a at least two women to quote “keep quiet,” not reporting any complaints to HR.
Despite his swift fall from on-high, NBC News sources said Friday that Lauer will still be entitled to some of his $25-million-a-year contract earnings, even though he effectively was fired this Tuesday, when Lack informed him he was no longer with the broadcast.
Lauer, 59, was fired Wednesday, roughly 36 hours after NBC News received its first formal harassment complaint from a network employee. He became the latest in a long line of prominent men in the news media, politics and entertainment whose careers have crashed during the past two months because of accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior.
(Feature image, courtesy of NBC)