Another explosive Matt Lauer allegation from Ronan Farrow's new book is out: Catch and Kill, released Tuesday, includes an accusation regarding Melissa Lonner, who was a producer for Today in 2010 and allegedly told then-Today anchor Ann Curry that Lauer invited her to his office after a work event and exposed himself to her, Deadline reports. Lonner, who did not talk to Farrow for the book, allegedly told multiple co-workers she made a joke about not wanting to get intimate in Lauer's office, but that he continued propositioning her until he got angry and said, "Melissa, you're a [expletive] tease. This is not good. You led me on." The Hollywood Reporter notes that Lonner did tweet "#MeToo" in 2017, and Curry retweeted that. Curry did speak to Farrow, and describes Lonner "melting" in front of her "in pain" when she told her what had happened.
Farrow says Curry told two senior executives at NBC, and advised them to do something about Lauer because he had "a problem with women," but nothing was done until Lauer was fired in 2017. As for Lonner, Farrow reports she was fired shortly before her contract ended, given a six-figure payout, and made to sign a nondisclosure agreement. The reactions from NBC and Lauer:
- NBC News President Noah Oppenheim wrote a memo to staffers Monday that did not use Lonner's name, but said she left the company three years after the incident, was paid 22 weeks of severance, and was asked to sign a standard separation agreement with a routine confidentiality clause that was "not drafted to prevent an employee from reporting misconduct, and ... has never been used that way." He said this employee made a complaint about Lauer to NBC for the first time in 2017, after he was fired. He also said Curry, "by her own account," did not pass along any specific workplace conduct to executives.
- Lauer's lawyer says: "In 25 years at NBC, Matt Lauer did not have a single complaint brought to his attention until November 28, 2017. NBC has already stated this for the record after an internal investigation. Ronan Farrow continues his attempt to monetize the MeToo movement, using salacious allegations as promotional trinkets to sell his book. Matt never exposed himself to anyone. This ridiculous story has been shopped around for years."
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