Sexual misconduct allegations knock powerful media men to the ground
Powerful media men are falling from their perches: First Roger Ailes, then Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose, and now “beloved icon” (as gushed his female co-host) Matt Lauer.
The NBC Today Show co-host is the latest cocksure anchor to get fired for alleged “inappropriate sexual behaviour,” or — if you will, treating women like stuffed animals in a penny arcade.
After receiving “a detailed complaint from a colleague,” NBC News leaped-frogged over suspension and swiftly terminated their “beloved” Lauer.
In what’s become standard –nonetheless a bit melodramatic — protocol, the network notified employees of Lauer’s demise in an e-mail moments before Today went to air on Wednesday at 7 a.m.
“We just learned this moments ago, just this morning. As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this and I can tell you right now that we do not know more than what I have shared with you,” said Today co-host Savannah Guthrie, her voice cracking.
“But we will be covering this story, as reporters, as journalists. I’m sure we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come. And we promise that we will share that with you.”
On the high-heels of CBS Morning Show hosts Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King — who reported on the alleged bad behaviour of their colleague Charlie Rose — Guthrie and Today co-host Hoda Kotbe promised to cover the Lauer story as reporters … regardless of where the cringeworthy allegations lead them.
“For the moment all we can say is that we are heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner and he is beloved by many, many people here. And I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell,” Guthrie said, choking back tears.
(Really, really ladies, you mean to tell that neither Guthrie, nor O’Donnell who used to work at NBC, knew about Lauer’s alleged depravity during their time working at NBC.)
In a statement to employees, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack explained:
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace by Matt Lauer … As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. While it is the first complaint about his behaviour in the over 20 years he has been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Sources told The New York Post’s Page Six that Lauer allegedly sexually assaulted a female NBC staffer during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
But it’s hard to fathom that NBC’s top brass (boys) didn’t know about Lauer’s alleged scoundrel-like behaviour over the course of his 20-year employment. In 2016, Lauer signed a new $20 million two-year contract with the network.
News networks have become the bad news they used to report on. After years of looking the other way, it’s heartening to see the networks finally — er — man up and clean house. Yet, top news organizations need to do much more to change the workplace culture that has fostered an environment for men like Lauer and Rose to thrive and rise to the top.