Another woman has come forward with allegations against Matt Lauer, but this time, she claims their encounters were consensual.
Former Today show production assistant Addie Collins details an alleged 2000 affair with Lauer in an article published by Variety on Thursday. Collins was 24 years old at the time, Lauer was 43 and had just tied the knot with Annette Roque two years prior.
"Even though my situation with Matt was consensual, I ultimately felt like a victim because of the power dynamic," Collins says. "He went after the most vulnerable and the least powerful -- and those were the production assistants and the interns."
According to Collins, Lauer began sending her flirty messages shortly after he found out she was leaving NBC for a local news job in West Virgina. Before she left, she says Lauer invited her to lunch, which she agreed to for "purely professional" reasons. She claims that the two then began an affair, and alleges that they would have sexual encounters in his dressing room at the Today show.
"The situation really took its toll on me," she writes. "I changed physically. I changed emotionally. Fear crept into my life. I became unsure of myself. Any confidence I had was gone. For him, it was a conquest."
She claims she and Lauer ended their affair after she left for her new job and alleges that he "ghosted" her after a reporter from the National Enquirer showed up at her house.
Collins then details the effect the alleged affair had on her career, discouraging her from continuing her local news job and changing her whole trajectory.
"I was in a depression," she shares. "This man who I’d held on a pedestal had made me feel like my looks and my body were my true assets. He made it clear that he wasn’t interested in my skills or my talent. It just shattered everything."
Ultimately, it was Lauer's power that made Collins feel so hopeless. "He lacked so much morality and reality, because he had people enabling him. I see the common threads and how he preyed on women, and I was one of them," she says.
"Although it wasn’t a crime in my case, it’s still not right," she concludes. "Matt took advantage of his power. It’s sickening. It breaks my heart that he did this for so long."
ET has reached out to Lauer's rep. NBC has declined to comment.
Addie Zinone tells ET that the decision to come forward took a lot of “painful soul searching.”
“I can't express how devastating this experience was for me having to carry this all of my professional life,” she says. “The media was coming for me, so instead of allowing someone else to write my narrative - after thoughtful, considered, painful soul searching and deep discussions - I decided to stop protecting him, blaming myself, and allowing fear to hold me hostage.”
Lauer was fired from the Today show last month for inappropriate sexual conduct, and since then, several more women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment. In a statement on Nov. 30, Lauer said that "some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed." He also apologized "for the pain I have caused others by words and actions."
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