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Multiple Women Reportedly Accuse Matt Lauer of Sexual Harassment
Matt Lauer has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. A new Variety investigation details a series of allegations against Lauer during his time at NBC’s Today, from “dozens of interviews with current and former staffers” at NBC. Three women identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment, all of whom wished to remain anonymous for fear of professional repercussions.
On one occasion, Lauer allegedly gave a female colleague a sex toy as a gift, along with “an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified.” A different employee alleged that Lauer summoned her to his office and exposed his penis to her, then, when she declined to do anything, “reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.”
Lauer allegedly quizzed female colleague about their sex lives and sexual partners, and regularly played the game “Fuck, Marry, or Kill” with colleagues of both genders, “in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.”
The Variety report also claims that Lauer’s office was in a secluded area of 30 Rockefeller Center, and that “he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up,” affording him a large degree of privacy. Several women stated that they had complained to NBC executives about Lauer, and that nothing had been done. NBC declined to comment to Variety.
“There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” a former producer told Variety. “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.”
Lauer was fired Wednesday morning following an allegation of “inappropriate sexual behavior.” According to sources quoted in Variety’s report, the cause of his dismissal was a complaint from a current NBC employee about inappropriate conduct that “started on a trip at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued for several months.”
Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb opened NBC’s Today this morning by announcing Lauer’s firing, following “a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual harassment in the workplace.” Their on-air statement noted that “while it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Lauer, who has been on Today since 1997, has not yet responded publicly to the allegations.