Nearly five months after the “Today” show’s Matt Lauer was fired by NBC over allegations of sexual misconduct, his former co-host Ann Curry says management was told about his behaviour as early as 2012.
In a report published by the Washington Post this week, Curry says she herself told two members of the broadcaster’s management team about Lauer after an unnamed female staffer approached her for help, telling Curry that Lauer had physically “sexually harassed” her.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, confirmed the story to the Post.
“A woman approached me and asked me tearfully if I could help her,” Curry recalls, noting the woman asked her not give her name to management. “She was afraid of losing her job … I believed her.”
“I told management they had a problem and they needed to keep an eye on him and how he deals with women,” she says, adding there was “pervasive verbal sexual harassment at NBC” during her time there. Curry officially left “Today” and the network in 2012 due to falling ratings, but sources speculated she and co-host Lauer lacked chemistry and he forced her out.
Lauer has admitted to “acting inappropriately” but has said that accusations of “coercive, aggressive or abusive actions” against him are “absolutely false.”
Curry says the process of reporting workplace harassment and followup isn’t just an NBC problem.
“This is one of the problems when we talk about corporations with an HR department being under the leadership of someone who might or might not be accused. How are they going to complain about it if they are accusing someone who is overseeing the department that is supposed to protect them?” she asks. “Do you have a system that allows those who feel they have been victimized to air their complaints without fear they will lose their jobs? I don’t know a company that does.”
The newspaper reached out to NBC for comment; the network says it has no record of Curry’s report or a note in Lauer’s personnel files. However, NBC noted that current NBC News chairman Andy Lack was not at the company at the time.