Lauer, who reportedly earned $25 million a year, is out at NBC News due to an allegation of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Initial reporting indicates that a junior employee filed a sexual harassment complaint based on an incident at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and subsequent incidents. On the Today show this morning, Lauer’s now-former coworkers expressed shock:
But CNN Money says Lauer’s coworkers knew “multiple” outlets were reporting stories about his misconduct. And Lauer’s attitude toward women has been called into question in the past. During a 2012 interview with Anne Hathaway, he asked her what “lesson” she had learned after paparazzi snagged an upskirt photo. He had greeted her by noting that everyone had “seen a lot of her lately.”
Ann Curry, his former co-host, has long blamed her firing from the Today show on Lauer. “Curry felt that the boys’ club atmosphere behind the scenes at Today undermined her from the start, and she told friends that her final months were a form of professional torture,” Brian Stelter reported in his 2013 book, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV. According to Stelter, Lauer worked with NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke to fire Curry:
According to a source with direct knowledge of the conversation, Burke told Lauer, “We need to sign you so we can do Ann.” Burke, who had to be keenly aware of Lauer’s discomfort with Curry, was basically scratching her off his list of reservations. (As a top NBC executive said to me after the fact, “Matt’s decision guided everything else.”) Burke even offered Lauer a signing bonus of several million dollars, according to the same person, to decide swiftly.
One can only wonder how many other careers Lauer has ruined.