NBC has received at least two more complaints of sexual impropriety regarding Matt Lauer, including a former employee who said he summoned her to his office about 16 years ago and then had sex with her, The New York Times reported.
The newspaper detailed just one of them, from an unidentified women who had given the same account to the newspaper, explaining she felt helpless because she didn’t want to lose her job, and did not report the encounter at the time out of shame.
The newspaper corroborated the account with her ex-husband and friend to whom she said she talked about the incident five years ago.
A woman who complained on Monday prompted NBC to take action, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack said in a statement read on air Wednesday morning by a shaken Savannah Guthrie; Guthrie had learned of Lauer’s Tuesday night firing only moments before Wednesday’s live broadcast.
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” Lack said in his statement, adding, “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.”
That Monday information came from a woman who said her involvement with Lauer began while they were in Sochi, Russia, for the Winter Olympics in 2014, New York Times confirmed. Their involvement continued after they returned to New York. That woman met with NYT reporters earlier Monday. NBC News management was aware NYT and Variety were working on reports about Lauer, which began publishing not long after NBC News announced Lauer’s firing.
One woman described an encounter with him where he made inappropriate comments to her shortly after she started as a Today producer in the ’90s. She also traveled with him for a story and in multiple instances, he asked her inappropriate questions including whether or not she has cheated on her husband. When they were heading to the airport, he moved closer to her in the car and she moved away out of discomfort and he reacting by saying, “You’re no fun.”
She then described an incident when she was meeting with him in his office which turned into a sexual encounter with her waking up on the floor of his office. She was taken to the nurse. She did not report the incident to NBC because she felt she could have done more to stop Lauer. She ended leaving a year later.
It was also said that the on-set environment was a “boys’ club” and that jokes about women’s appearances were common. A former producer recalled a director making inappropriate comments about a woman’s chest as well as comments that could be heard by multiple people on an audio feed. There were also instances of employees playing a lewd game where they chose which female guests or staff members they would prefer to marry, kill or have sex with
The firing of Lauer, who has been a fixture in people’s morning routines for more than 20 years, shared headlines Wednesday with those about President Donald Trump having retweeted anti-Muslim hate videos from a woman who has been previously convicted of a hate crime in the UK and belongs to a far right political group in that country.