NBCUniversal released findings from their months-long Matt Lauer investigation on Wednesday, May 9. The report claims executives did not receive complaints about the veteran journalist’s behavior before November 2017.
According to the company, a woman complained about Lauer to NBC News management on November 27, 2017, and one day later, the anchor admitted that he engaged in sexual activity with her. This violated company standards, so he was fired.
“Within the two weeks after Lauer’s termination was announced publicly by NBC News on November 29, 2017, the Company received information about three additional women, who each alleged that Lauer had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace with them in 2000, 2001 and 2007, respectively,” an internal memo published on Wednesday reads. NBCUniversal launched an investigation as a result.
Sixty-eight people, including current and former Today hosts and NBC News management, were interviewed during the investigation, which was handled by two outside law firms and the company’s general counsel. The report claims they found “no evidence” indicating that anyone in a position of authority received complaints about Lauer’s behavior prior to November 27, 2017.
The report continues: “All four women who came forward confirmed that they did not tell their direct manager or anyone else in a position of authority about their sexual encounters with Lauer. Current and former members of NBC News and Today Show leadership, as well as News HR, stated that they had never received a complaint about inappropriate workplace behavior by Lauer, and we did not find any contrary evidence. We were also unable to establish that any of those interviewed, including NBC News and Today Show leadership, News HR and others in positions of authority in the News Division, knew that Lauer had engaged in sexual activity with other employees.”
NBC News chairman Andy Lack addressed the investigation’s findings and laid out next steps for a safer work environment in an internal memo to employees. “Like many of you, I am immensely proud of NBC News, its history, and the work we do,” he wrote. “But — stepping back from the investigation — that history also includes a time when people were not comfortable coming forward to voice complaints about repugnant behavior. That is not acceptable.”
He continued: “We cannot change the past. What we can do is learn from it, and try to make it right. We have already begun to turn the page to establish a safer and more respectful environment. That requires strong, specific steps in a sustained manner to transform the culture.”
Despite the new findings, Ann Curry told The Washington Post in an article published on April 26 that she warned NBC’s management team about her former Today show colleague after a female coworker reported Lauer’s sexual harassment to her in 2012. However, an NBC spokesman claimed they had no record of Curry’s complaint.
Lauer was fired in late November 2017 after a colleague reported him for sexual misconduct in the workplace. The former Today show cohost broke his silence on April 26 in a statement to the Post: “I fully acknowledge that I acted inappropriately as a husband, father and principal at NBC. However I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive or abusive actions on my part, at any time, are absolutely false.”
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