NBC execs continue to claim ignorance on Matt Lauer with internal ‘review’, but no one’s buying it

NBC executives are continuing to claim ignorance over Matt Lauer’s behavior, but no one seems to be buying it.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 22: Co-host Matt Lauer appears on NBC’s “Today” at the NBC’s TODAY Show on August 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Still reeling from the explosive reports of sexual assault by former Today host Matt Lauer, NBC executives have launched an internal investigation into what went wrong.

A memo from NBC News Chairman Andy Lack was sent to NBC staffers and was obtained by TVNewser. Lack called the internal review a “cultural assessment” and said he wants to figure out why no one had come forward sooner with the allegations against Lauer.

Lack’s letter began:

In the aftermath of Matt Lauer’s reprehensible conduct and his resulting dismissal, NBCU has – as you know – begun a review to determine why this was able to happen, why it wasn’t reported sooner, and what we can do to make employees feel more empowered to report unacceptable behavior.

 

Lack gave an update of the review, stating that at least 40 employees will be interviewed in relation to the Lauer case. He also noted that all employees will need to take mandatory classes on “workplace behavior.”

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Critics of the NBC Chairman and his deputy Noah Oppenheim have called the efforts to “clean up” the network hogwash.

NBC pres. Jeff Zucker, Chairman and COO Andy Lack and ‘Today’ producer Jonathan Wald at NBC’s Party for the Television Critics Association at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pasadena, Ca. 7/20/01. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

“It’s hard to see how an internal investigation that reports to senior executives would be viewed as complete and transparent when the conduct, or lack of conduct, of senior executives, such as Andrew Lack, necessarily should an issue,” Legal Insurrection founder William Jacobson told Fox News.

While NBC execs appeared blindsided according to their memo, it had been reported that Lauer had developed quite a reputation at the network and his behavior was possibly another “open secret,” much like Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein scandal.

“Anything other than an independent outside investigation that reports to the NBC Universal Board of Directors would raise questions as to whether responsibility is being pushed down to lower corporate levels,” Jacobson said.

As Fox News pointed out, a Vanity Fair piece last week claimed that NBC staffers were beginning to believe that their bosses Lack and Oppenheim knew nothing of Lauer’s behavior.

But one NBC source told Fox that’s not true, and said there is “widespread disbelief” about their claims of ignorance and that the two bosses are “losing the newsroom.”

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A second NBC source told Fox that the Vanity Fair piece was “insulting our intelligence.”

More from Fox News:

Numerous media outlets have reported in the last two weeks that “everybody knew” at NBC about Lauer’s pervy tendencies. “Everybody” would seem to include Lack and Oppenheim, who both have close ties to Lauer going back years. Lack — who appointed Lauer co-host of “Today” in 1997 — is such close friends with Lauer that the two have reportedly even vacationed together. Oppenheim has spent most of his career at NBC, including a stint as a “Today” senior producer, working very closely with Lauer, and also a stint as the executive overseeing “Today” when he was, at least nominally, Lauer’s boss.

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