NBC Investigation into Matt Lauer’s Firing Finds NBC Innocent, Pats NBC on Back
Stop being so pleased with yourself, NBC
After a lengthy self-investigation, according to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC has reportedly turned up no evidence that leadership at NBC News, Today, or human resources “received complaints” about Matt Lauer’s “workplace behavior prior to November 27, 2017.” Congratulations guys, we were all rooting for you *eye roll*. The investigation was led by NBC Universal general counsel Kim Harris and focused on Lauer’s alleged sexual harassment of four women, who came forward as part of the #MeToo movement to call Lauer out publicly. The story resulted in Lauer’s firing from NBC News last November.
The investigation featured interviews with close to 70 current and former employees, including former executives Steve Capus, who was president of NBC News when Ann Curry was fired in 2012, Today executive producer Jim Bell, and former news division chairman Pat Fili-Krushel. According to the report, the four women “confirmed that they did not tell their direct manager or anyone else in a position of authority about their sexual encounters with Lauer. Current and former members of NBC News and Today show leadership, as well as News HR, stated that they had never received a complaint about inappropriate workplace behavior by Lauer, and the investigation did not find any contrary evidence.”
This seems specious, considering Anne Curry’s account of her time at Today before she was unceremoniously fired in 2012. Curry told The Washington Post that a female colleague sought her out when she was at the Today show telling her she was “sexually harassed physically” by Lauer. Curry took the woman’s complaint to two managers at NBC, saying “I told management they had a problem and they needed to keep an eye on him and how he deals with women.”
But what about that creepy button that allegedly locked the women in Lauer’s office like some sort of Bond villain knock-off? The report dives into ButtonGate, claiming “according to the NBCUniversal facilities team, the button is a commonly available feature in executive offices in multiple NBCUniversal facilities to provide an efficient way to close the door without getting up from the desk. The button releases a magnet that holds the door open. It does not lock the door from the inside.” Cool cool cool.
NBC News chairman Andy Lack promised a thorough “culture assessment” while also promising mandatory in-person training on workplace behavior and harassment prevention for all 2,000 employees of NBC News. But how seriously can we take these assurances when NBC wouldn’t even commit to hiring an outside party to investigate the claims? This choice plays more like NBC covering their ass than it does an authentic choice to look inward and change the way they do business. Hopefully, any changes implemented will have a real and lasting effect on the company and its employees. We remain skeptical.
(via Hollywood Reporter, image: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
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