He allegedly gave an employee a sex toy alongside an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, and invited female staffers to his hotel room while covering Winter Olympics in Sochi.
In a statement, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack said, "It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment." Lack claimed that it "is the first complaint about his [Lauer] behavior in the over twenty years he's been at NBC News," but he assured that the company was "also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."
"Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender. We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization - and do it in as transparent a manner as we can," Lack said.
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
According to Variety, which conducted "dozens" of interviews with current and former NBC staffers during a two-month investigation into Lauer's alleged behavior, at least three women came forward with sexual harassment allegations against the famed morning television figure. The three women asked to be kept anonymous, fearing professional repercussions.
The report claimed that despite being a married man, Lauer was "fixated on women, especially their bodies and looks," adding that he was known "for making lewd comments" both verbally or over text messages. "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 encounters said. "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."
It was also said that Lauer's office was located in a secluded area. In addition, he allegedly had a button under his desk that allow him to lock his door without having to get up, giving Lauer the privacy to sexually harass female staffers.
Lauer allegedly once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. In addition, he included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, leaving her mortified. Another allegation suggested that Lauer summoned a different female employee to his office, where he took off his pants and showed her his penis. As the employee declined to engage in a sexual act with him, Lauer reportedly reprimanded her for that.
The site further reported that Lauer "sometimes quiz female producers about who they'd slept with, offering to trade names." He allegedly loved to do a crass quiz game with both men and women asking them to pick "f**k, marry, or kill," before he would identify the female co-hosts who he'd most like to sleep with.
Lauer's alleged inappropriate sexual behavior also occurred in 2014, during which he covered the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. According to a source, this allegations led NBC to fire Lauer. During the time, Lauer allegedly invited female employees to his hotel room late at night.
An NBC insider told Page Six, "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."
The woman's lawyer, Ari Wilkenfeld, said they met with NBC officials on Monday evening. "My client and I met with representatives from NBC's Human Resources and Legal Department at 6 P.M. on Monday. Over the course of several hours, my client detailed egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct by Mr. Lauer," Wilkenfeld said in a statement.
"In fewer than 35 hours, NBC investigated and removed Mr. Lauer. Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly and responsibly, as all companies should when confronted with credible allegations about sexual misconduct in the workplace," he added. "While I am impressed by NBC's response to date, I am awed by the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than asking the company do the right thing. This is how the system should work."