Last Updated Nov 29, 2017 6:06 PM EST
New reports are accusing Matt Lauer of inappropriate sexual behavior toward multiple women, hours after NBC News announced he had been fired after a detailed complaint from a colleague.
In the statement announcing Lauer’s depature, NBC News chairman Andy Lack said the network acted after the first complaint against Lauer, but “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
According to The New York Times, the woman’s complaint involved sexual contact with Lauer that began at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. The alleged involvement continued when they returned to New York. She and her attorney met with NBC executives about the complaint Monday night.
Ten hours after the shocking announcement of his firing, The New York Times reported that two more women came forward Wednesday and told NBC News about alleged harassment by Lauer. One of those women told The New York Times that in 2001, Lauer summoned her to his office and had sex with her. She told the paper that she felt helpless and didn’t report the incident to Human Resources because she felt ashamed.
Representatives for Lauer did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment.
Variety, whose reporters tweeted they had been investigating Lauer for months and interviewed dozens of current and former employees, reported Wednesday that they had spoken to three women who said they were victims of sexual harassment by Lauer. Several women claimed that they had complained to network executives about his behavior in the past.
“Management sucks there,” a former reporter told Variety. “They protected the [expletive] out of Matt Lauer.”
According to the Variety report, some of the inappropriate behavior included mailing a sex toy to a female employee, playing a game called “[expletive], marry, or kill” about his co-hosts, and even exposing his penis to a co-worker and allegedly reprimanding her when she did not engage in a sexual act.
Former and current staffers told Variety that Lauer had several sexual relationships with employees, which they believed to be consensual, although one producer commented “that’s still a problem because of the power he held.”
Variety reported that Lauer had a secret button under his desk that allowed him to lock the office door from the inside. Two women who said they were sexual harassed by Lauer told Variety this “allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him.”
NBC News responded to the Variety report with a statement saying, “We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct.”
Lauer is the latest in a string of powerful men who have been fired in recent weeks over sexual misconduct allegations, and arguably the biggest household name. The list includes movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, comedian Louis C.K., actor Kevin Spacey and Charlie Rose, who was fired last week from “CBS This Morning.”
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