Variety published a two-month long investigation on Wednesday, November 28, detailing multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Matt Lauer. In the piece, several women, who remained anonymous, claim the former Today show host committed acts of harassment or misconduct, including sending one woman a sex toy, dropping his pants in front of another and reprimanding her for not engaging in a sexual act with him, as well as quizzing others about who they’d slept with.
According to Variety, which detailed more than 10 separate accounts from current and former employees, Lauer made lewd comments verbally and in texts, and once referenced a colleague’s sexual performance in relation to her ability to do her job.
Lauer’s Today cohosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced the longtime anchor’s termination on Wednesday when they opened the morning show by reading an email from NBC News chairman Andy Lack. In the email, Lack said the network “received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. … 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.”
Guthrie added: “We are devastated. All we can say is we are heartbroken.”
Page Six reported that Lauer allegedly sexually harassed a female NBC colleague during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Sources claimed to Variety that this alleged incident was the cause of his dismissal, and that the inappropriate sexual conduct went on for months. According to Variety, the employee in question met with the human resources department at NBC on Monday night to give a detailed complaint about the alleged harassment.
“There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” a former producer, who knew first-hand of these alleged encounters, claimed to 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.”
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that at least two more women have come forward with claims against Lauer. According to the publication, one allegation came from a former NBC employee who claimed that Lauer invited her to his office in 2001 and then had sex with her. The outlet reported that the accuser chose not to come forward in fear of losing her job and because she felt ashamed by the alleged encounter.
Lauer has yet to comment on the allegations against him.