Matt Lauer Was ‘In Denial’ Up Until Firing From ‘Today’ Over Sexual Harassment Claims
Matt Lauer was “in denial” up until his firing from the “Today” show, according to a new report.
The New York Post said the 60-year-old “fought to the bitter end,” allegedly lying about his liaisons as he was being investigated after a junior staffer told his bosses that they had an affair during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“She told them she had a sexual relationship with Matt during the Sochi Olympics in 2014, and it continued when they returned to New York,” a source told the Post. “She was a very junior staff member at the time so there was a clear issue of balance of power.”
Soon after the accusation, which a source said included “irrefutable evidence” of inappropriate sexual conduct, Lauer was fired from his co-host role at the NBC show.
Lauer had worked for NBC for 25 years.
Until he was fired, he was “repeatedly telling top bosses he had nothing to confess or feel ashamed about,” the Post claimed, citing anonymous sources.
Even before the staffer came forward, though, Lauer was being investigated by Variety magazine, the New York Times, and the Enquirer, according to the report.
Variety reported soon after the firing that besides the staffer’s account, other women had revealed allegations against Lauer.
One woman claimed he exposed himself to her in his office, while another said he harassed her through a gift and explicit note.
Variety said its accounts were backed by a two-month investigation including dozens of interviews.
The three women who spoke to Variety who identified themselves as victims said they previously alerted management at NBC to Lauer’s alleged harassment but nothing was done.
The latest complaint, regarding the affair at the Olympics, was different because of the burgeoning “Me Too” movement, according to Variety.
The Post said that the difference this time was a high-powered lawyer representing the staffer who accused Lauer of inappropriate sexual conduct at the Olympics.
A source told the Post, “She had a high-powered attorney from Washington, DC, and so everyone knew if NBC didn’t take swift action, they would have arranged for a sit-down interview with a competitor.”
Lauer admitted no wrongdoing in a public statement after his firing, but did say, “Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”