In the wake of Matt Lauer's Today show firing following allegations that he sexually harassed a colleague, a new report has emerged about Matt's accuser. According to Page Six, the 59-year-old TV star "sexually assaulted a female NBC staffer during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014." An insider told the outlet that the alleged victim alerted NBC of the incident on Monday, Nov. 27.
"This happened so quickly. She didn’t go to the media, she made a complaint to NBC’s human resources, and her evidence was so compelling that Matt was fired on Tuesday night. The victim says she has evidence that this has also happened to other women, but so far we don’t have evidence of that," the source revealed.
Matt with his Today co-stars in Sochi in 2014. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Page Six additionally reported that Matt's firing came amid rumors of several major news outlets working on stories exposing the Today anchor's alleged sexual misconducts. After the news broke on Wednesday, Nov. 29, the accuser's lawyer released a statement to the New York Times. "My client and I met with representatives from NBC’s Human Resources and Legal Departments at 6 p.m. on Monday for an interview that lasted several hours. Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly, as all companies should when confronted with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace," Ari Wilkenfeld, a civil rights lawyer with the firm Wilkenfeld, Herendeen & Atkinson, said.
"While I am encouraged by NBC’s response to date, I am in awe of the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than the company do the right thing," he continued. Wilkenfeld confirmed that Matt's victim is not ready to publicly come forward at this time.
On Wednesday morning, Matt's co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie, opened the Today show alongside Hoda Kotb with the news of Matt's firing. "This is a sad morning for us at Today show and at NBC News. Just moments ago, NBC chairman Andy Lack sent the following note to our organization: 'On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment. While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,'" Savannah read.
"'Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender,'" she continued. "'We are deeply saddened by this turn of events but we will face it together as a news organization — and do it in as transparent a matter as we can.'"
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
After reading the statement, Savannah addressed the situation with tears. "We learned this moments ago, just this morning. As you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this. I will tell you, we do not know more than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story, as reporters, as journalists. I'm sure we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come, and we promise we will share that with you," she said. “I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend, and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here. And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell."
Unfortunately, it appears that Matt has been treating his co-stars with disrespect for years, and since the accuser came forward, more issues are coming to light. For example, in 2012 Katie Couric blatantly told Andy Cohen that Matt pinched her butt repeatedly on WWHL. Then an off-air video was leaked to TMZ showing Matt telling Meredith Vieira, “pretty sweater. Keep bending over like that. It’s a nice view.”
This story is still developing.