Variety unveiled an exclusive report this afternoon claiming to detail the incidents at the heart of NBC ‘Today’ Host Matt Lauer’s sudden termination after over a decade on the Today Show.
The report is lengthy, and details common practices for Lauer that crossed lines, as he took advantage of his powerful position and got away with what can only be described as morally inappropriate behavior.
Included in the Variety report are allegations that Lauer gave a colleague a sex toy as a present, and if your immediate thought is that it was a joke, Lauer included with the gift an “explicit” note that explained how he’d like to use the toy on her.
And that’s just the tame part of the allegations. Lauer went so far as to expose himself to female employees, and scold them if they didn’t partake:
On another day, he summoned a different female employee to his office, and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis. After the employee declined to do anything, visibly shaken, he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.
He would sometimes quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, offering to trade names. And he loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: “f—, marry, or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.
Variety has been investigating these reports for months and claim to have “dozens of interviews” with both current and former employees, at least three of which say they were direct victims of sexual harassment by Lauer. Perhaps most disturbing, and a key reason why more women have not come forward until now, the accusers claim they did take their complaints to NBC’s human resources department, and those complaints fell on deaf ears.
His office was also a harassment trap of sorts, complete with an elaborate remote locking door:
His office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up. 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, according to two women who were sexually harassed by Lauer.
Lauer’s wife famously split from the host over a decade ago, amid rumors of several affairs. The pattern of abuse continued on the road, according to Variety:
According to sources, the sexual harassment extended to when Lauer traveled on assignment for NBC. Several employees recall how he paid intense attention to a young woman on his staff that he found attractive, focusing intently on her career ambitions. And he asked the same producer to his hotel room to deliver him a pillow, according to sources with knowledge of the interaction.
This was part of a pattern. According to multiple accounts, independently corroborated by Variety, 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.
Really disturbing stuff and puts yet another reason to the forefront as to why the Mike Pence rule is so important. First, to avoid temptation, second, to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and protect oneself from false allegations.
Read the rest of the report HERE.