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- A Variety investigation published Wednesday details allegations of sexual misconduct against the longtime NBC host Matt Lauer from multiple current and former colleagues.
- Lauer gave female colleagues inappropriate gifts, exposed himself, and quizzed them on who they had slept with in the office, the report says.
- NBC fired Lauer on Wednesday after the network received a complaint of “inappropriate sexual behavior.”
A Variety investigation published Wednesday details allegations that the longtime “Today” show host Matt Lauer sexually harassed at least three colleagues and engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior during his time at NBC.
The report, which Variety said was based on “dozens of interviews with current and former staffers,” says Lauer gifted a sex toy to one female colleague, accompanied by a note about how he wanted to use it on her.
It also says he exposed himself to another female employee after summoning her to his office, then reprimanded her for not participating in a sexual act.
NBC fired Lauer on Wednesday morning after receiving a complaint from an employee alleging “inappropriate sexual behavior.” NBC News’ chairman, Andy Lack, said in a statement that the network had reviewed the complaint and had “reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
The Variety report says Lauer would often partake in crude behavior, including quizzing female employees about who they had slept with and playing the game “f—, marry, kill” in which he would name female cohosts he wanted to sleep with.
Lauer would often comment on women’s bodies and looks and was known to send lewd text messages, Variety reported, citing “more than 10 accounts from current and former employees.”
“There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” one former producer told Variety. “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.”
Other former employees said they were unsure of how to handle Lauer and feared they could jeopardize their careers if they did not return Lauer’s advances, the report says.
“There is such shame with Matt Lauer not liking you,” one former staffer told Variety. “I did this special with him, and we are traveling, and I had a cold sore on my lip, and I heard him say to Bryant Gumbel, ‘She has this really ugly cold sore on her lip,’ like that was something to be ashamed of. He was just really cruel.”
Several staffers told Variety they complained to network executives about Lauer’s behavior but were ignored. Variety said that NBC declined to comment and that Lauer couldn’t be reached for comment.