In the days since Matt Lauer’s November 28th firing from NBC News, even more women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against him. In a November 30th interview with Entertainment Tonight, Lauer’s ex-wife, Nancy Alspaugh, spoke on the claims, and ultimately came to his defense.
Alspaugh, a writer and producer, was married to the former Today host from 1981 to 1988. When asked about Lauer’s dismissal, she said,
She continued to defend Lauer’s character, calling him “incredibly nice, incredibly charming, and incredibly willing to help anybody.” Alspaugh said that she never saw her former husband as someone who would abuse his power and position.
Alspaugh went on to question the validity of all the current claims against Lauer, adding, “there’s a family involved here,” referring to Lauer’s three children with wife Annette Roque.
Due process is of course important when severe allegations are made against an individual. Respecting the rights of the accused and their family while the truth is being ascertained is crucial in a free and just society. However, it’s critical that we believe victims when they come forward — otherwise we are supporting a culture of shame and silence. So many women never come forward after being sexually abused because they fear they will be blamed or discredited.
Those who accuse powerful, high-profile men of sexual misconduct often have more to lose than to gain by coming forward. We must believe and support these women if we want to reshape society and create work environments that are safe and comfortable for everyone.
Lauer’s current wife, Annette Roque, has yet to speak out on the situation.