After Today host Matt Lauer was fired on Tuesday, November 28th, over accusations of sexual misconduct, NBC has received more complaints against him. One account claims that Lauer sexually assaulted an NBC employee in his office, and the woman subsequently sought medical treatment.
The employee — who chose to remain nameless — told The New York Times that Lauer summoned her to his office in 2001, at which time he told her to unbutton her blouse, bent her over a chair, and proceeded to sexually assault her. She said she passed out from the trauma of the encounter, and had to be taken to the on-site nurse (Rockefeller Center has an on-site medical staff). The victim said she felt helpless at the time and declined to report the incident to authorities or higher-ups because she was afraid of losing her job.
NBC officials confirmed that at least two more employees have made accusations against Lauer following the initial complaint against him. The network also confirmed that the initial report filed against Lauer accused him of inappropriate sexual advances during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Variety has since reported that Lauer’s victims included at least three NBC staffers, and sources in the piece allege that Lauer routinely made sexual comments to and about his female coworkers, on one occasion comparing a colleague’s work performance to her sexual abilities. The article also details accusations that Lauer gave a sex toy to a female colleague and exposed himself to another without her consent.
Lauer issued a statement on November 30th apologizing for the pain he has caused, which was read on Today by his former cohosts. Lauer said that some of the allegations against him were not true or misrepresented, but added “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
At the end of the day, it’s not enough that Lauer feels ashamed; he needs to be held accountable as well. Sadly, Lauer is just one of many men in recent weeks who have been accused of sexual misconduct and failed to accept full responsibility.
Men like Lauer need to do better, and until they do, we will stand by their victims — no matter what.