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NBC: Matt Lauer Misconduct Happened at Sochi Olympics

'New York Times' and 'Variety' were working on investigative pieces before he was fired
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2017 12:47 PM CST

(Newser) – The surprise announcement Wednesday morning that Matt Lauer had been fired effective immediately by NBC for "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace" will almost certainly not be the last damning story to emerge about him. Brian Stelter of CNN reports that the New York Times has been working on an investigative piece about Lauer for weeks. And it's not alone: Variety reporter Ramin Setoodeh tweeted that he and fellow reporter Elizabeth Wagmeister have been investigating "serious sexual harassment allegations against Lauer" involving "multiple victims" for two months.

  • NBC aware: Wagmeister tweets that the network was aware of its reporting. "There are multiple women we've spoken to with far-ranging accusations against Lauer," she writes. In regard to the firing, NBC says it acted after receiving a "detailed complaint from a colleague" on Monday night, but did not provide details.
  • Olympics accusation: The New York Post reports that the allegation that led to Lauer's firing came from a female NBC staffer who went to HR on Monday and said that Lauer had sexually assaulted her during the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia in 2014. People and MSNBC also cited an alleged incident in Sochi, though without details. NBC later confirmed that the misconduct started in Sochi, and continued afterward, reports the AP.

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  • The woman: Attorney Ari Wilkenfeld says he and the unidentified woman met with NBC officials about 6pm Monday, and the meeting lasted several hours, reports the New York Times. The woman also met with the newspaper, but she was not ready to come forward publicly. Wilkenfeld says he is "in awe" that she had the courage to be the first to come forward against Lauer and did so "without making any demands other than the company do the right thing."
  • Emotional show: The Today staff learned the news not too long before going live. Watch Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announce it here. Before delivering the weather, Al Roker said he, too, was struggling to "process" the news about his longtime friend, per People.
  • Boys' club: Emily Stewart at Vox says the news makes it hard not to think of Ann Curry, Tamron Hall, and Natalie Morales, female anchors who didn't last at NBC in what was reported to be a "boys' club" atmosphere under Lauer.
  • 'Misleading' speed: At the Atlantic, Megan Garber writes that the fast action by the network—allegation on Monday, firing on Tuesday—is "misleading." NBC doesn't have a great track record of late, being accused of everything from burying the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape to passing on Ronan Farrow's expose on Harvey Weinstein.
  • Megyn Kelly: The new NBC show host, who has called out former colleagues at Fox News over harassment, says the Lauer allegations "hit close to home" for her. "I’ve known Matt for a long time, and he has been a friend, and kind, and supportive to me in my transition to NBC," she says, per USA Today. "And I see the anguish on my colleagues' faces. But when this happens, we don't see the pain on the faces of those who found the courage to come forward."
  • Kathie Lee, others: People rounds up other reaction, including from Rose McGowan, who has emerged as a leading voice on sexual misconduct. "Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Matt Lauer," she tweeted. Today co-host Kathie Lee Gifford, however, is ready to forgive, per the Cut. During her NBC show on Wednesday she said, "I texted him this morning and said 'I adore you and no person is perfect in this world.'"
  • Trump: President Trump weighed in, too.
(Read more Matt Lauer stories.)

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