A new expose of NBC is claiming that the network is a “boys club” with a history of ignoring a culture of sexual misconduct. According to Esquire Magazine, several staffers confronted disgraced Today anchor Matt Lauer weeks before NBC fired him for sexual misconduct because various news organizations were investigating his behavior.
“We sat down with him, looked him in the eye, and said, ‘Is there anything you can think of that even you don’t consider to be harassment that might fall into this category?’ And every one of those times he said there’s nothing. On a couple of those occasions, he said, ‘I’ve been racking my brain.’ Those were his words,” said an NBC insider.
Media critic Ken Auletta says that the Lauer situation didn’t blindside NBC like the network claims, and NBC staffers say that all executives cared about was removing Lauer from all digital content and promotional materials once they terminated him.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 7, 2018
Addie Zinone, a former Today assistant who had an affair with Lauer, says that NBC executives “had to have known something,” because producers’ behavior made it obvious that they knew about Lauer’s extracurricular activities. And, public incidents like the 2008 Friars Club roast and Katie Couric’s comments on Watch What Happens Live demonstrate further that NBC was very aware of what Lauer was up to.
David Usborne, who wrote the Esquire piece, noted that some of the same NBC executives who acted shocked at Lauer were also in attendance at the Friars Club roast, which made it crystal clear that he had a wandering eye and a troubled marriage.
After an internal review earlier this year, NBC declared that management had no clue about Lauer’s actions. In-house counsel conducted the controversial review despite calls for an independent investigation. CBS had a different approach to claims at their network. They announced last week that high-powered outside attorneys would be leading an investigation.
Matt Lauer is back in the public eye. https://t.co/rkuaL1bgD7
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) August 7, 2018
In addition to the Lauer mess, NBC also passed on a piece by Ronan Farrow exposing Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct. The expose eventually won him a Pulitzer Prize and helped to spark the #MeToo movement, but NBC wanted nothing to do with it. The network also sat on the Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump making crude comments about women.
As for Lauer, he is slowly making his way back into the Hamptons social scene more than eight months after NBC fired him. Last weekend, he took part in the Paddle for Pink 3-mile paddleboard race at Havens Beach in Sag Harbor.
Matt Lauer kept a low-profile during the event that raised over $1.4 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and he did not take part in the awards ceremony.