Variety reports that NBC News is opening an internal review of the handling of allegations against disgraced Today show host Matt Lauer:
“A team of the most experienced NBCUniversal Legal and Human Resources leaders have begun a thorough and timely review of what happened and what we can do to build a culture of greater transparency, openness and respect for each other,” said Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, in a memo to staffers Friday, “At the conclusion of the review we will share what we’ve learned, no matter how painful, and act on it.”
The NBCUniversal unit has been under a microscope since revealing earlier this week that it had terminated Lauer, who greeted viewers on “Today” for more than two decades, for what it said was “inappropriate sexual behavior.”…Since that time, more allegations about the star anchor’s behavior have come to light. NBC News has confirmed two more women came forward since it terminated the TV journalist’s contract.
If Andrew Lack really does share the results there is every reason to think they will be very painful indeed for NBC News and possibly for Lack himself. As Ed pointed out earlier this morning, there are now reports that “everybody and NBC knew.” To be more specific, sources told Page Six that former Today show executive producer Jeff Zucker and current NBC News chairman Andrew Lack knew:
The list of who knew about Lauer’s behavior before the scandal exploded Tuesday started at the top, sources said.
Previous NBC News chiefs Jeff Zucker and Steve Capus “got the complaints,’’ an NBC insider said.
Current NBC News President Noah Oppenheim and chairman Andy Lack “knew of the investigations into Matt’s behavior and tried to negotiate.”
This just seems like common sense. There’s almost no way Lauer could be talking to his co-host on a microphone the way we know he did without people around him having an idea what was going on with him. And there’s no way he was summoning women to his office and demanding sex as early as 2001 and word never got around. This is Harvey Weinstein all over again. Everyone knew but everyone also knew to keep their mouth shut.
As for Lauer’s demand that he be paid another $30 million on the way out the door, NBC is going to decline. CNN reports:
Lauer “will not be paid past his last day of work,” a senior NBC source told CNNMoney on Friday…
The senior NBC News source did not dispute that Lauer’s attorneys might hatch a plan to get him paid. But the source said the network will not agree to any payout…
Two people close to Lauer expressed doubt that he would play hardball with his former network. Given reports about his yearly salary over the past decade, he has likely already been paid well in excess of $100 million during his time at NBC. He has multiple properties and investments.
That’s a huge amount of money obviously but Lauer may now be facing a significant number of lawsuits that could whittle that amount down much quicker than he earned it. The question is whether those lawsuits will also be aimed at NBC for turning a blind eye to his behavior for two decades.