On the heels of Matt Lauer’s firing from NBC News “Today” after allegations of “inappropriate sexual behavior,” more detailed reports on Lauer are surfacing.
The cause of his dismissal, according to sources, was a “detailed complaint” from another current NBC employee a Monday night about inappropriate sexual conduct from Lauer that started on a trip at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued for several months.
A New Variety Report Features Several Accusations Of Sexual Misconduct By Matt Lauer, Details A Door-Locking Button Under His Desk (Getty Image)
A Variety “Exclusive” reported on Wednesday the co-host of NBC’s “Today,” Matt Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. According to the report, the present included an explicit note about how Lauer wanted to use it on her, which reportedly left Lauer’s colleague mortified.
According to Variety, on a separate occasion, Lauer summoned a different female employee to his office, upon which he dropped his pants, showing the employee his penis. The employee said after she declined to adhere to Lauer’s advances, he appeared visibly shaken and reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.
Lauer would, at times quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, offering to trade names. According to the Variety exclusive, Lauer “loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: “f—, marry, or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.”
The accounts of Lauer’s behavior at NBC News reportedly are the result of a two-month investigation by Variety, with dozens of interviews with current and former staffers.
Variety interviewed three women who identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer. The allegations by the three women were corroborated by friends or colleagues that the women confided in at the time. The women have asked to remain anonymous [for now], fearing professional repercussions.
On Wednesday, NBC News announced that Lauer was fired from “Today.” It was a shocking move for a co-host who was widely considered by many as the cornerstone of the network’s news division, with a $25 million annual salary.
Lauer met with human resources at NBC on Monday night. In a statement, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack called this the first complaint about Lauer’s behavior in over 20 years and acknowledged that it might not be the last: “We were also presented with a reason to believe that this may not have been an isolated incident,” Lack said.
Several women told Variety they complained to executives at the network about Lauer’s behavior, which seemingly was brushed aside, merely falling on deaf ears given the lucrative advertising surrounding “Today.” During Lauer’s tenure at “Today,” the morning news show was No. 1 in the ratings, and executives were eager to keep him happy.
Variety said it is not clear if NBC will pay Lauer through the end of his contract, which expires in 2018.
According to insiders, NBC was forced to act quickly after the detailed complaint against Lauer.
Amid the severity of the accusations and the national dialogue around sexual harassment, ultimately ending the careers of Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and other prominent men; Lauer has joined the walk of shame—with a plethora of questions about the future of “Today,” a troubling portrait as mounting allegations against Lauer emerge.
For more than two decades, while the cameras were rolling, Lauer had positioned himself as the above reproach father and husband. If the allegations are true, behind the scenes, Lauer’s indiscretions paint him as an entirely different person.
Lauer was fixated on women, especially their bodies and looks, according to more than ten accounts from former and current employees. Despite his marriage, Lauer was known for making lewd comments verbally or over text messages. Lauer’s actions led observers of his actions to think that his work and sex were intertwined.
Variety reports that Lauer once made a suggestive reference to a colleague’s performance in bed comparing it to how she was able to complete her job, according to witnesses to the exchange.
“There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” says a former producer who knew first-hand of these encounters. “He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people because he’s married. He’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.”
Paranoid about tabloid reporters following him, Lauer appeared more confident at 30 Rockefeller Center following Katie Couric’s departure from “Today” in 2006. His office was described as a secluded space, with a button under his desk, which allowed Lauer to lock his door from the inside without leaving his chair.
Variety reports Lauer welcomed female employees and initiated inappropriate contact knowing no one could walk in on him, according to two women who were harassed by Lauer. With the sexual harassment extending to Lauer’s travels while on assignment for NBC, several employees recall Lauer’s behavior.
The employees alleged that Lauer paid immense attention to young women on his staff that he found attractive, focusing intently on the woman’s career ambitions. He asked the same producer to his hotel room to deliver him a pillow, according to sources with knowledge of the interaction.
According to multiple accounts, independently corroborated by Variety, Lauer had a habit of inviting women employed by NBC late at night to his hotel room while covering the Olympics in various cities over the years. He told colleagues that his wife accompanied him to the London Olympics because she didn’t trust him to travel alone.
After Lauer’s longtime booker Matt Zimmerman was fired over sexual harassment complaints—the spotlight intensified on Lauer. Lauer had promoted Zimmerman to a high executive position and offered him a powerful perch.
Secrets have a way of getting out, and Lauer’s conduct was not a secret among other employees at “Today,” numerous sources say. At least one of the anchors allegedly gossiped about things she had heard, spreading the gossip among the staff.
“Management sucks there,” a former reporter said, who asked not to be identified, speaking about executives who previously worked at the show. “They protected the s— out of Matt Lauer.”
Concerned about their careers and backlash if they reported Lauer or did not reciprocate his advances, some producers told Variety they were conflicted on what to do about the behavior.
In the wake of Roger Ailes and Harvey Weinstein, Lauer was pressed on reporting national conversation about sexual harassment. Having considerable editorial decision over which stories would ultimately air on “Today” — It often made for awkward moments on TV for staff members who knew about Lauer’s private interactions when he opted not to speak on the subject matter that mirrored his behavior.
In a September interview, Lauer sat down with Fox News star anchor Bill O’Reilly, who was fired from Fox News in April amid sexual harassment allegations. Lauer grilled O’Reilly in the interview—asking him for a response to allegations against him, and the culture at Fox News.
“You were probably the last guy in the world that they wanted to fire because you were the guy that the ratings and the revenues were built on,” Lauer said. “You carried that network on your shoulders for a lotta years. Doesn’t it seem safe to assume that the people at Fox News were given the piece of information, or given some evidence, that simply made it impossible for you to stay on at Fox News?”
In a climate tainted with sexual harassment allegations, and inappropriate sexual conduct as in the case of Matt Lauer, and many other prominent names, the “Today” anchor’s September interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is particularly disturbing in light of Lauer’s firing for alleged inappropriate sexual conduct.
By LeNora Millen 11-29-17
Variety and NBC News contributed to this report
RollOut the Carpet: for the 2018 Stellar Awards
SUMMARY OF 2018 STELLAR AWARDS TOP NOMINEES
The Woman Who Brought Us “Don’t Make Me Over” Sybil
Classy and truly a woman of excellence, Sybil brings light to fading world. It was a pleasure to have an opportunity to have met an angel.
The beautiful and talented Songstress Sybil sat down for an exclusive interview with Exposure Magazine CEO & Founder of @MsTam Lawrence- during the Women’s Gathering in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 9th 2018.
Sharing her take on walking in your purpose. Sybil drops some golden nuggets on the audience, “Trust the process and believe in you!” Sybil graced the stage with her heartfelt presence–singing her hit single, “Don’t make me over.”
Tam Lawrence: Sybil have you ever been in a dark place? If so, how did you break-through?
Sybil: [to read more about how Sybil spilled the good tea– pick up a copy of Exposure Magazine’s March issue being released on 3/15/2018
Facebook: @MsTam Lawrence
‘Black Panther’ was the first movie filmed at Tyler Perry Studios’ new stages
‘Black Panther’ was the first movie filmed at Tyler Perry Studios’ new stages
The filmmaker recently took to social media this week to reveal the little-known fact that parts of the blockbuster was shot at one of the new stages at his studio located in The Peach City. In fact, he said the Marvel flick was the first to be filmed there.
From his Instragram account, Perry wrote: “Welcome to Wakanda! You wanna talk about black history! These are the new stages at Tyler Perry Studios. And guess what the first film to shoot on one of the stages was?!”
Several locations around the metro area were home to “Black Panther” settings, including the High Museumin Midtown and the rock quarry at the Vulcan Materials Co. in Stockbridge. An official from the Henry County city said several scenes of Wakanda, the fictional African nation in the film, were shot at the quarry.
About $84 million of “Black Panther’s” reported $200 million budget was spent in Georgia. The funds went toward rental equipment and grips; lumber, hardware and supplies; lodging and transportation, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
It also employed more than 3,000 Georgians during the shoot, which began in August 2016 and wrapped in November 2017, according to the state economic development department.
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