On Wednesday, a report detailing sexual harassment allegations against terminated “Today” host Matt Lauer surfaced alleging NBC management reportedly protected the host out of concern for the ad revenue surrounding his show.
Several women approached network executives about Lauer's behavior — which allegedly reprimanding a female employee when she didn't reciprocate his sexual advance — but their complaints “fell on deaf ears,” according to Variety:
Several women told Variety they complained to executives at the network about Lauer’s behavior, which fell on deaf ears given the lucrative advertising surrounding “Today.” NBC declined to comment. For most of Lauer’s tenture at “Today,” the morning news show was No. 1 in the ratings, and executives were eager to keep him happy.
Variety interviewed dozens of current and former staffers, as well as three women whose accusations of sexual harassment were backed by friends and colleagues.
“They protected the shit out of Matt Lauer," a former reporter said of NBC management.
Variety's detailed report came just hours after “Today” host Savannah Guthrie announced that NBC fired Lauer over a particular allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior.
According to sources, Lauer's conduct included regularly inviting female NBC employees to his hotel while covering the Olympics over the years. One of Lauer's colleagues allegedly received a sex toy from him as well as an explicit note about how he desired to use it on her.
Because of Lauer's clout at the network, producers reportedly feared not reciprocating his sexual advances. Staffers also knew about Lauer's behavior, which brought awkward moments as Lauer discussed sexual harassment allegations dominating the news.
He regularly dismissed stories about cheating husbands and was able to because of his editorial power at the network.
Wednesday morning, NBC announced it had fired Lauer over an allegation that he sexually assaulted a female staffer during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.