NBC’s firing of network veteran Matt Lauer has shaken the media community. The sudden dismissal came without prior notice and without details other than a mention of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
Now an unnamed inside source from NBC has come forward to shed light on Lauer’s firing, asserting the incident in question took place during the former “Today” co-host’s coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
An insider told Page Six how the alleged victim handled the situation with network officials.
“This happened so quickly. She didn’t go to the media, she made a complaint to NBC’s human resources, and her evidence was so compelling that Matt was fired on Tuesday night. The victim says she has evidence that this has also happened to other women, but so far we don’t have evidence of that.”
Another source said the decision to fire Lauer was made by NBC News chairman Andy Lack.
In a statement by Lack that was read on-air by “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie, the chairman called this the first such complaint against Lauer “in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News.” But he also admitted “this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News. On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. pic.twitter.com/1A3UAZpvPb
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 29, 2017
Accordingly, news outlets had been investigating Lauer’s alleged sexual misconduct for weeks. According to CNN, the New York Times was in the process of looking into Lauer, as were Ramin Setoodeh and Elizabeth Wagmeister of Variety.
Wagmeister and Setoodeh claim NBC was aware of their work, and suggest that’s partly why the network decided to pull the plug on Lauer.
At @Variety, @RaminSetoodeh & I had been working on a Matt Lauer story for months and NBC was aware. There are multiple women we've spoken to with far-ranging accusations against Lauer. The power of journalism has never been more evident with this cultural change.
— Elizabeth Wagmeister (@EWagmeister) November 29, 2017
NBC was aware that Variety was working on a bombshell story about sexual harassment allegations against Matt Lauer.
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) November 29, 2017
This marks the second time NBC has come under scrutiny during the barrage of sexual abuse allegations. NBC News reporter Ronan Farrow said last month that the network passed on his bombshell report on Harvey Weinstein. Farrow’s piece was ultimately picked up by the New Yorker.
Andy Lack was reportedly part of the decision-making process that refused Farrow’s Weinstein investigations, a fact President Trump may have been alluding to in a cryptic tweet Wednesday morning.
The accumulation of scandals may prove damaging in the long-term to the news giant.