Nearly six months after NBC fired Today show anchor Matt Lauer for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” the network released results of its internal investigation stemming from the misconduct allegations.
The report stated that the investigation turned up no evidence that leadership at NBC News, Today or human resources “received complaints” about Lauer’s “workplace behavior prior to November 27, 2017.”
The investigation led by NBCUniversal general counsel Kim Harris focused on Lauer’s behavior and complaints from four women who came forward last last year. It included interviews with close to 70 current and former employees, including former executives Steve Capus, who was president of NBC News when Ann Curry was fired in 2012, Jim Bell, who was Today’s executive producer during the same period, and Pat Fili-Krushel, who ran the news division prior to Lauer.
The report also found that the women who accused Lauer “confirmed they did not tell their direct manager or anyone else in a position of authority about their sexual encounters with Lauer. Current and former members of NBC News and Today Show leadership, as well as News HR, stated that they had never received a complaint about inappropriate workplace behavior by Lauer, and we did not find any contrary evidence.”
The investigation was 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.”
While most witnesses interviewed “stated that they had heard or read rumors about Lauer’s personal life, including tabloid stories about the troubled state of his marriage and the possibility of extramarital affairs,” most believed that the “rumored extramarital affairs were with women outside of the Company.”
In a separate note sent to employees Wednesday morning, NBC News chairman Andy Lack said that “the last few months have been extraordinarily difficult.”
“Like many of you, I am immensely proud of NBC News, its history, and the work we do,” he continued. “But – stepping back from the investigation – that history also includes a time when people were not comfortable coming forward to voice complaints about repugnant behavior. That is not acceptable. We cannot change the past. What we can do is learn from it, and try to make it right. We have already begun to turn the page to establish a safer and more respectful environment. That requires strong, specific steps in a sustained manner to transform the culture.”
The report does not line up with Lauer’s former co-host Ann Curry’s claim last month that she took a female colleague’s sexual harassment complaint on Lauer to two managers.
“I told management they had a problem and they needed to keep an eye on him and how he deals with women,” Curry told The Washington Post.
NBC executives previously stressed that there were no formal complaints against Lauer. Shortly after Lauer was fired, Lack promised a “culture assessment” and also instituted mandatory in-person training on workplace behavior and harassment prevention for all 2,000 employees of NBC News.
The investigation into Lauer’s behavior began in November after Lauer was fired for “inappropriate sexual behavior” stemming from an incident with a female staffer at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. After he was fired, more women accused Lauer of misconduct. At the time, he apologized but pushed back on some of the allegations. He issued a more strenuous denial last month.