NBC Cleared in Matt Lauer Harassment Investigation

11 May, 2018, 03:59 | Author: Donna Miller
  • I did not want my rape spoken about over breakfast cereal on the Today show' Mc Gowan said

"Within the two weeks after Lauer's termination was announced publicly by NBC News on November 29, 2017, the company received information about three additional women, who each alleged that Lauer had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace with them in 2000, 2001 and 2007, respectively". Some suggested it damages the report's credibility. The group, which is focused on improving workplace environments for women in the media industry, added, "No one is going to be fully candid when speaking to management for fear of losing their jobs".

The review by lawyers means "that care was taken at every step - to avoid liability", said Jennifer Drobac, an Indiana University professor and expert in employment law.

The report said the first formal complaint about Lauer was made by an unidentified employee on November 22. There was no mention of a former NBC News employee's accusation last month that former "Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw made unwanted advances on her, which he has denied. Observers worry that this investigation will lack the apolitical nature of those done by outside law firms - many of which lead to the dismissal of top executives at companies with troubled sex harassment cultures.

The anchor, who worked with the network for 23 years, was sacked last November based on allegations of sexual harassment and "sexually inappropriate behavior". That article led to more women coming forward, and then it sparked a movement called #MeToo where victims from all industries began to speak out about the misconduct of men in power.

The women who accused Lauer, the report stated, "confirmed that they did not tell their direct manager or anyone else in a position of authority about their sexual encounters with Lauer". Several women also credibly described to the investigation team being the subject of what they believed was a sexual overture from Lauer in which he complimented them on their appearance in sexually suggestive ways.

The report countered a claim by former "Today" anchor Ann Curry, who said she reported Lauer's misconduct in 2012.

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In a note to employees, however, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack acknowledged employees at NBC News may have worked in an environment they felt was not conducive to reporting incidents of harassment.

Curry was not immediately available to clarify that on Wednesday. "I told management they had a problem and they needed to keep an eye on him and how he deals with women", she said.

NBC also addressed Lauer's now-infamous "button", a device under his desk that allowed him to close his office door without standing up. But the women said they deflected Lauer's comments, and he did not pursue them.

"We were also unable to establish that any of those interviewed, including NBC News and Today Show leadership, News HR and others in positions of authority in the News Division, knew that Lauer had engaged in sexual activity with other employees", the report continued.

Lauer admitted to the allegation in an interview with NBC's legal and human-resources staff on November 28, the report said.

The seven-page document, titled "NBC News Workplace Investigation", which covers the network's news division as well as MSNBC, was commissioned by Steve Burke, CEO of NBCU; on November 30 of past year, he instructed NBCU General Counsel Kim Harris to, as the document puts it, "assemble and supervise a team of experienced lawyers and HR professionals from outside the News Division" to dig into the Lauer scandal, to attempt to uncover other incidents of "inappropriate workplace behavior" and to determine if "employees in the News Division are comfortable reporting concerns about workplace behavior, and if not, why not".

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