As the co-host of NBC’s “Today,” Matt Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. On another day, he summoned a different female employee to his office, and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis. He would sometimes quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, offering to trade names. And he loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: “fuck, marry or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.
Variety spoke with nearly a dozen current and former employees who recall their experiences with the veteran NBC News anchor.
“There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” says a former producer. “He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.”
Lauer’s NBC office came equipped with a button under his desk that allowed him to lock the door. Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh writes:
This afforded him the assurance of privacy. It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him, according to two women who were sexually harassed by Lauer.
Earlier today at a media conference in New York, NBC News anchor Megyn Kelly said former Fox News CEO, the late Roger Ailes, used a similar tactic, locking his office door during meetings she had with him. “I’ll never forget, him locking that door,” said Kelly, who accused Ailes of repeated sexual harassment early in her Fox News career.