The woman whose sexual misconduct allegations against Matt Lauer led to his firing from NBC News in November is afraid her identity will be revealed, her attorney Ari Wilkenfeld said on the Today show on Friday, December 15.
“My client is terrified and she does live in constant fear that people are going to track her down and figure out who she is,” Wilkenfeld said. “She doesn’t want to be known. She feels terrified for herself, and she feels badly for the many other women who are suspected of being her, who are also being hounded and harassed by people who are just trying to get the details of who the woman is.”
The lawyer is worried that the network hasn’t done enough to protect his client’s identity. “NBC has a duty to maintain confidentiality. That means to maintain secrecy over her name and to hold to themselves the details of her story,” he said. “And they have not done a good job of doing that. They know exactly what they’ve done, and they need to stop. There’s a hunt underway to figure out who she is, and I think that’s going to have a chilling effect on other women who might want to come forward and tell their stories.”
In response to Wilkenfeld’s comments, an NBC News spokesperson said “the network has protected the employee’s anonymity all along and will continue to do so.”
Lauer, 59, was fired by NBC News chairman Andrew Lack on November 28 after Wilkenfeld’s client, a fellow employee, claimed that the Today veteran engaged in inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Additional allegations of sexual harassment were later published by The New York Times and Variety.
The journalist admitted that there was “enough truth” in some of the claims and issued an apology. “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” he said in a statement to Us Weekly on November 30. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry.”