NBC Releases Findings of Matt Lauer Investigation

Matt Lauer at Rolling Stones exhibit
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for for The Rolling Stones

NBC has concluded its investigation after Matt Lauer was fired from the Today show in November due to alleged sexual misconduct in the workplace.

ET obtained the report on Wednesday, which says that the investigation team found four women's allegations that the 60-year-old anchor engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace to be credible, but that they also found credible the statements from those in leadership positions that they were unaware of his behavior.

“We found no evidence indicating that any NBC News or Today show leadership, News HR or others in positions of authority in the News Division received any complaints about Lauer’s workplace behavior prior to November 27, 2017,” the report reads. 

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."

However, the report also states that five years prior to one complainant's alleged sexual encounter with Lauer in 2001, she did tell her manager about an inappropriate interaction with Lauer where he allegedly "placed his hand on her thigh and made a sexually suggestive comment." The complainant claimed her manager "inquired about her well-being," and both agreed she would not be assigned to projects that would require her to travel with Lauer. According to the report, the manager recalled the conversation, but stated that she did not recall reporting the interaction to anyone. 

As for former Today show co-anchor Ann Curry's comments to The Washington Post last month that she approached management officials after a female staffer confided to her about allegedly being "sexually harassed physically" by Lauer, according to the report, “Curry confirmed that she did not disclose to anyone in management that she had received a specific complaint."

"Curry declined to share with the investigation team the identity of anyone in management with whom she spoke at the time or the identity of the woman who came to her with a complaint about Lauer," the report also reads. "The members of NBC News and Today show leadership at the time with whom we spoke denied having any such conversation with Curry.”

The investigation was led by NBCUniversal general counsel Kim Harris and included nearly 70 interviews with current and former employees, including members of Today show staff. The investigation also searched Lauer's email accounts as well as the accounts of NBC News and Today show leadership, and text messages on Lauer's work-issued phone.

"The investigation team does not believe that there is a widespread or systemic pattern of behavior that violates Company policy or a culture of harassment in the News Division," the report concludes. 

As for Lauer's behavior, according to the report, the newsman "frequently engaged in sexual banter or joking in open work environments with other employees present or in a position to overhear his comments," though the conduct "did not rise to the level of creating a hostile work environment, and no witnesses described it as such." However, the report says the behavior may have contributed to an atmosphere where some employees felt discouraged to complain to management. 

In a statement to The Washington Post last month, Lauer denied "any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive or abusive actions" in response to their story examining how NBC has handled multiple sexual misconduct scandals that have surfaced against several of the network's biggest news personalities.

"I have made no public comments on the many false stories from anonymous or biased sources that have been reported about me over these past several months," Lauer stated. "I remained silent in an attempt to protect my family from further embarrassment and to restore a small degree of the privacy they have lost. But defending my family now requires me to speak up."

"I fully acknowledge that I acted inappropriately as a husband, father and principal at NBC," the statement continued. "However I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive or abusive actions on my part, at any time, are absolutely false."

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