It has been reported that NBC News fired one of its leading news anchors, Matt Lauer, the co-host of "Today." This news comes in the aftermath of disturbing sexual harassment allegations. The news Lauer's termination was first announced by co-host Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Wednesday morning.
The Variety reports that Matt Lauer is accused of inappropriately exposing himself to female employees in his office. He has also been accused of reprimanding female employees for not engaging in sexual acts. Moreover, he would also reportedly make crude remarks to women and would send them explicit gifts. Overall, the Variety reports of an alleged pattern of consistent sexual harassment toward female employees at NBC.
This report is claimed by Variety to be the result of a two-month investigation into Lauer's behavior at NBC. In fact, Variety spoke with three women, all of whom identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer. Their stories have all been corroborated by friends and colleagues who were reportedly told at the time of the misconduct. The women asked Variety to remain unnamed, fearing punishment by their superiors.
Moreover, Variety reports that despite being married, Lauer was very fixated on other women, particularly their bodies and looks, which they apparently can verify with more than 10 accounts from current and former employees. It appears that it may have been well known at NBC that Lauer was known for making lewd comments, both verbally and over text messages, about female employees.
Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera seems to be casting a critical eye the entire situation, and in fact appears to be defending his friend Matt Lauer. Geraldo's comments came in a series of tweets made late Wednesday afternoon.
Geraldo Rivera's first tweet begins by suggesting that recent news about Matt Lauer compromises the reputation of a "great guy," who is "highly skilled and empathetic with guests and a real gentleman to me and my family." He then asserted that "news is a flirty business and it seems [the] current epidemic of sexual harassment allegations may be criminalizing courtship and conflating it with predation."
It seems at first glance that Geraldo might be claiming that Matt Lauer's actions were merely "flirty," although he may be claiming that recent sexual assault allegations, in general, may be conflating flirtation and legitimate sexual harassment and assault.
Rivera’s tweet also references Garrison Keillor, a man who was fired from Minnesota Public Radio Wednesday after reports of inappropriate behavior emerged.
Next, Geraldo claims that a "jerk is a jerk in dating." He then writes that "sexual harassment should be confined to situations where a superior imposes himself on [a] subordinate who feels unable to complain because of power of [the] perp[etrator] or feared consequences to the victim's employment. [Accusations] shouldn't be used to get even with bad bosses or hated ex's."
Is he suggesting that the female employees at NBC were, in fact, able to complain and that their situation shouldn't be considered "harassment" because they were not in a position to lose their jobs? This could very well be the case, or he could simply be claiming that, in general, this is a standard that should be met in order for a situation to justly be called "sexual harassment."
Then, Geraldo shared with his Twitter followers a comment that he allegedly heard from women in the media, who joked that morning shows should be all-female format. "That should be unacceptably retro as the other way around," he claimed, responding to the women's suggestion.
Lastly, in the aftermath of recent allegations, Geraldo put forward some standards. First, he claims that allegations should be made in a timely fashion — for instance within five years. Second, he thinks that they should have corroboration, such as witnesses or electronic and/or written communications. Third, he claims that in instances of a monetary settlement, chances are that "victims" are motivated by more than mere justice. In these instances, Geraldo suggests that it is less likely that the alleged victim should be believed.
One hour later, Geraldo then posted another controversial position, claiming that media criticism of his statements stems from the belief that "any thought or opinion but 'hang em high' have no room in the public discourse. He then pointed out that many newsroom courtships have led to happy marriages.
Many who work at NBC, including co-host Savannah Guthrie, are very saddened by the information and are mourning the loss of their friend and co-host. The New York Times writes that when Savannah Guthrie announced the news on "Today" on Wednesday morning, she seemed to be on the verge of tears. And so did Al Roker, who had only learned of the news shortly before going on air. He seemed visibly shaken while giving his weather report.
Page Six reports that the inappropriate sexual behavior reportedly took place throughout 2014. It also took place at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. An NBC staffer filed the complaint on Monday, and sources tell People that it was "serious enough that he was terminated." The accuser writes that inappropriate sexual behavior took place throughout the workplace in 2014.
Earlier it was reported that Katie Couric, who co-hosted the NBC morning show for a total of nine years, appeared on Andy Cohen's "Watch What Happens Live" in 2012. In this appearance, she revealed that Matt Lauer had the "annoying" habit of "pinching" her butt.
In recent news, Kathie Lee Gifford gave a powerful response after Matt Lauer's termination.