On Wednesday, NBC announced its dismissal of Today Show co-anchor Matt Lauer following a report of “inappropriate sexual behavior” by its star host.
Of the men who’ve been fired due to recent sexual misconduct allegations, Lauer is arguably the biggest name. For more than 20 years, NBC broadcast his image as a chummy dad into the homes of millions of Americans just starting their day. But that persona all but disappeared on Wednesday as Lauer’s Today Show co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced his termination.
At the time, NBC said that the report of misconduct against Lauer was the first it had received about his behavior, but the network said it had reason to believe it was not an isolated incident.
Indeed, as Wednesday wore on, more allegations against Lauer emerged. Here’s what the ex-anchor has been accused of to date:
- Lauer allegedly summoned a now-former NBC employee to his office in 2001 and proceeded to sexually assault her, according to The New York Times. The alleged victim, who filed a complaint with NBC on Wednesday, told The Times that she hadn’t previously reported the encounter out of fear of losing her job and “because she felt ashamed.”
- Lauer had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up. He allegedly used it to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact, knowing nobody could walk in on him, reports Variety. (The button was reportedly a security measure available to high-profile employees at NBC, according to the Times.)
- Lauer allegedly gave a female colleague a sex toy as a gift, along with an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, according to Variety, which says it’d been chasing the Lauer story for months.
- Lauer allegedly showed a female employee his penis in his office and reprimanded her for “not engaging in a sexual act,” Variety reports.
- Lauer allegedly quizzed female producers on a regular basis about who they’d slept with and would insist on playing the crude game “fuck, marry, kill” with male and female colleagues, identifying which female Today Show co-hosts he’d “most like to sleep with,” the Variety story says.
- Lauer allegedly invited female NBC employees to his hotel room late at night while covering the Olympics in various cities, according to Variety.
- Lauer allegedly had a fixation on women’s bodies and looks, becoming “known for making lewd comments verbally or over text messages,” per Variety. Page Six also reports that Lauer has been accused of “sending lewd messages and revealing pictures to women including a young intern.”
- Lauer allegedly sent a text to an NBC employee during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, which the woman saved. The message reportedly “showed incontrovertible proof of inappropriate sexual behavior on [Lauer’s] part,” according to Page Six, and expedited his firing.
Lauer and his representatives did not respond to the specific allegations on Wednesday, but the anchor—who had been among television’s highest-paid—issued a lengthy statement on Thursday, expressing “sorrow and regret for the pain” he caused.
“To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. 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. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
Several women told Variety that they had complained to NBC executives about Lauer’s behavior in the past, but that the complaints “fell on deaf ears.” For its part, a spokesperson for NBC denied any previous knowledge of these complaints. The spokesperson said, “We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct.”