Matt Lauer seeking $30 million payout from NBC after 'Today' show firing
Matt Lauer is seeking a massive payout from NBC after being fired from the "Today" show this week.
Page Six reports that the ousted morning show anchor's lawyers are working to get the broadcast network to pay Lauer the remainder of his $20-million-a-year contract, which would've kept him at NBC through the end of 2018.
"They are currently looking at his contract and determining whether the claims against him, which clearly would affect any moral clause in his contract and his ensuing termination, would cut off his contractual rights to be paid through the end of his contract," a source close to Lauer told the outlet.
The likelihood of Lauer's lawyers getting their client such a substantial payout remains to be seen, however. Page Six quoted a television insider who said "there is no way Matt is getting paid."
"There has been an irrevocable breach in Matt's contract," the insider explained. "There is a moral clause that says if he brings the company into disrepute -- which he clearly has -- NBC can terminate his employment immediately without pay and they do not have to pay out his contract."
The revelations come one day after Lauer was spotted meeting up with Eddie Burke Jr., a well-known real estate and criminal lawyer, in East Hampton. It was his first time being seen since NBC News Chairman Andy Lack's announcement on Wednesday morning that he'd been fired from "Today." Lauer was seen handing Burke an envelope in a parking lot.
The move comes as NBC insiders continue to reveal new details about his ousting from the network. According to multiple sources, the complaint filed on Monday that led to Lauer's firing came from a woman who was engaged in an alleged affair with Lauer that began during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Their sexual relationship reportedly continued when the pair returned to New York, and elicit text messages sent to the unnamed staffer by Lauer were considered to be evidence of his inappropriate behavior.
Lauer, however, didn't find the relationship to be inappropriate, despite his seniority over the woman.
"In [Lauer's] mind, this has been a consensual affair," a source told People. "And a long-term one at that."
"He was totally devastated," the source continued. "He never thought it would get to this level. [He] was shocked and dumbfounded and completely bewildered by what happened. He never expected this. He had felt like he was invulnerable -- like Superman."
And it wasn't just Lauer who found his swift termination from the "Today" show to be unexpected. Those who worked closest with the 20-year "Today" veteran considered his behavior to tow on the right side of a fine line.
"People who worked with him found him to be flirtatious, but that doesn't mean he was necessarily inappropriate," the source told People.
In the days since Lauer's firing, multiple women have come forward with additional allegations of his sexual misconduct in two reports in Variety and the New York Times.
On Thursday, Lauer said he was "soul searching" as he apologized for his actions through a statement that was read on the "Today" show.
Watch the video below to hear his full statement:
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