Explosive accusations regarding Matt Lauer’s alleged behavior has emerged, detailed in a new report by Variety.
In a lengthy expose put together by the publication over the course of a two-month investigation, summarizes the accounts of several unnamed sources including the alleged victims, colleagues and “Today” show producers.
One startling accusation claims that the former “Today Show” host once purchased a sex toy for a female employee, then wrote her a note expressing the way he wanted to use it on her. Another victim recalled an incident where Lauer called her into his office, only to expose his penis and then reprimand her after said refused to engage in a sexual act.
Lauer would also reportedly quiz female producers, grilling them on who they slept with, “offering to trade names,” Variety writes. Later would also play obscene games with his colleagues in office, including labeling who he would “fuck, marry, or kill.” The location of Lauer’s office was also positioned in a secluded area in Rockefeller Center and included a button in his desk which would lock the door immediately when pressed.
On Wednesday morning “Today” hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb broke the news on-air after NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack sent an internal memo to employees, informing them of the Lauer investigation.
An unnamed woman accused Lauer of inappropriate behavior during the 2014 Sochi games in Russia which continued on for several months. The woman is said to have reported her experiences with Lauer during a Monday meeting with human resources. After the meeting and the detailed review into the accusations, Lauer was fired on Tuesday evening.
Several people who were interviewed by Variety say that Lauer’s behavior was known among senior executives at NBC, but the weight of his influence prompted inaction. According to the report, executives were most concerned with the advertising pull of the program and were content to keep Lauer satisfied. His alleged victims were discouraged from coming forward due to Lauer’s pull in the media industry, fearing for the future of their careers.
Another source said that Lauer was known for being occupied with women and their bodies, and also gained notorious power after Katie Couric‘s departure from the show in 2006.
“There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” a former producer told the outlet. “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.”
Many are also calling attention to the irony of Lauer covering the parade of high-profile men and women accused of sexual harassment and assault over the last few months.
Read the full report here.