When Today Show anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced to the world on November 29th that NBC had fired Matt Lauer for alleged sexual misconduct, it came as a shock to almost everyone, but not the disgraced anchor. Apparently Lauer knew his time at the network was coming to an end six days before they terminated him.
“This is going to be my last parade,” Lauer said to a co-worker while hosting the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 23rd.
Lauer appeared on just two more episodes of the morning show before losing his job after NBC executives received a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
Prior to his firing, the 60-year-old did everything he could to save his job, including lying to NBC Chairman Andy lack and President Noah Oppenheimer several times when they asked him about rumored affairs.
Every time they asked him, Lauer would respond, “I am racking my brains, but I can’t think of anything.”
When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke six weeks before Lauer’s termination, Variety magazine was already investigating him, but no one knew what they had on the father of three.
The New York Times was also calling around – saying they were doing a piece on Today Show culture – while The Enquirer was asking questions about settlements paid to women Lauer had had affairs with.
An inside source says that NBC News had no idea that Lauer was preying on interns and junior staff members, and it wasn’t until his first accuser came forward the weekend after Thanksgiving that his colleagues found out about the allegations.
Then things started to happen quickly. A hastily-arranged meeting between the accuser’s lawyers and NBC human resources took place on Monday, November 27th at 6 pm, and she told them she had a sexual relationship with Lauer at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and it continued when they got back to New York.
Since she was a very junior staff member, balance of power was clearly an issue.
The accuser provided “irrefutable evidence,” thought to be a naked photo of Lauer, and she claimed there were more women Lauer had done this to.
The following afternoon Lauer lawyered up and they sat through a meeting with HR executives and reps from NBC’s legal department.
When they brought up the Sochi accusations, Lauer was defensive at first, but he did admit to three consensual affairs during his 25 years at the network.
But, as they provided the evidence, Lauer became quiet and his demeanor changed. However, they didn’t make a decision about his future during the meeting.
Instead, Lack, a good friend of Lauer’s, went to the former anchor’s apartment later and fired him in person. Lack was furious and called Lauer’s behavior “reprehensible.”
Lauer remained quiet.
Kotb and Guthrie received news of the firing at 4 a.m. the next morning on their way to work, and both were shocked and in tears.
When they announced the news a couple of hours later at the beginning of the Today Show, it prompted at least two more women to come forward with allegations against Matt Lauer.