A former NBC employee has accused Matt Lauer of locking her in his office and sexually assaulting her during the work day
- NBC reportedly received two new complaints about Matt Lauer, the former "Today" show co-host who was fired on Wednesday.
- One of the complaints is from a woman who said Lauer invited her to his office in 2001, locked the door from the inside, then sexually assaulted her.
- Multiple current and former NBC staffers also told Variety that Lauer had engaged in rampant sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior during his decades at the network.
A former NBC employee filed a complaint to the network on Wednesday, accusing longtime "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer had summoned her to his office in 2001, locked the door, and sexually assaulted her, The New York Times reported.
The woman told the Times that after Lauer locked the door, using a button under his desk, he asked her to unbutton her blouse, which she did, then pulled down her pants, bent her over a chair, and assaulted her. She said she eventually passed out, woke up on the floor of Lauer's office, and was taken to a nurse by Lauer's assistant.
The former employee told the Times that Lauer had made inappropriate comments to her since she began working as a producer on "Today" in the late 1990s, including asking her whether she had ever cheated on her husband. She said Lauer also once sat uncomfortably close to her in a car while the pair were traveling for a story, then said, "You're no fun" when she moved away.
The woman told the Times that she did not report the assault earlier because she felt helpless and ashamed, she believed she could have done more to stop the assault, and she feared losing her job. She added that Lauer never spoke of the alleged assault, nor made another advance toward her after it occurred. She left NBC roughly a year after the incident.
Multiple women come forward
The allegation was one of two new complaints lodged with NBC against Lauer on Wednesday, after he was fired over an initial complaint from an employee alleging "inappropriate sexual behavior" from Lauer.
NBC News chairman Andy Lack said in a statement on Wednesday morning that the network had reviewed the woman's complaint and had "reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."
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Lack reportedly told NBC staff in a subsequent meeting that the initial complaint stemmed from encounters Lauer and the woman had in Sochi, Russia, during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Lack reportedly said the pair's involvement continued after they returned to New York, two people briefed on the meeting told the Times.
Details from the women's complaints are similar to others reported in a Variety investigation on Wednesday. The outlet published multiple allegations from current and former NBC employees alleging Lauer had engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior during his time at the network.
Two women told Variety that Lauer had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock the door from the inside, which he sometimes used after inviting in women. NBC staffers have since said that many high-level executives at the network had the same buttons in their offices.
NBC insiders also told Variety that Lauer regularly invited women to his hotel room during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
According to Variety, Lauer also allegedly gifted a sex toy to one female colleague, accompanied by a note about how he wanted to use it on her. He was also accused of exposing himself to another female employee after summoning her to his office, then reprimanding her for not participating in a sexual act.
The current and former staffers told Variety that Lauer would frequently partake in crude behavior, including quizzing female employees about who they had slept with, and playing the game "f---, marry, kill," in which he would name female co-hosts he wanted to sleep with.
Several staffers told Variety they had complained about Lauer's behavior to network executives, who they say ignored them.
Lauer issued a statement on Thursday morning, apologizing to the people he hurt.
"There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions," he said. "Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed."
- Matt Lauer reportedly gave a colleague a sex toy and exposed himself to a female staffer at the 'Today' show
- The 'Today' show cast mocked workplace sexual harassment in a cringeworthy 2012 segment in which Matt Lauer pretended to be a victim
- Watch a shaken Savannah Guthrie announce Matt Lauer's firing on the 'Today' show