NBC News Starts Internal Review of How It Handled Matt Lauer Harassment Allegations

NBC News, under intense scrutiny since it fired “Today” anchor Matt Lauer in the wake of revelations of incidents involving him and sexual harassment under its corporate aegis, said it would conduct an internal review of its handling of the matter.

“A team of the most experienced NBCUniversal Legal and Human Resources leaders have begun a thorough and timely review of what happened and what we can do to build a culture of greater transparency, openness and respect for each other,” said Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, in a memo to staffers Friday, “At the conclusion of the review we will share what we’ve learned, no matter how painful, and act on it.”

The NBCUniversal unit has been under a microscope since revealing earlier this week that it had terminated Lauer, who greeted viewers on “Today” for more than two decades, for what it said was “inappropriate sexual behavior.” NBC News on Wednesday disclosed that it had“received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” by Lauer. “It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards.” Variety in a report detailed multiple allegations of untoward behavior, citing three women who have identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer. Since that time, more allegations about the star anchor’s behavior have come to light. NBC News has confirmed two more women came forward since it terminated the TV journalist’s contract.

“This week we saw that when an employee comes forward to report misconduct, the system works. The complaint is quickly assessed and meaningful action is taken,” said Lack in the memo. “But we also learned that we must do a much better job of making people feel empowered to take that crucial first step of reporting bad behavior.” The allegations surrounding Lauer include incidents that took place several years ago, and suggest an ongoing pattern of behavior taking place over a longer period of time. “Many of you have asked what we are doing to learn as much as we can about the circumstances around Matt Lauer’s appalling behavior, why this was able to happen, and why it wasn’t reported sooner,” Lack acknowledged.

NBC News intends to bolster training about recognizing sexual harassment, Lack said, and also outlined avenues employees have to report it. The executive said NBC News would launch “an immediate effort to implement in-person training on sexual harassment awareness and appropriate behavior in the workplace,” in addition to online training it has already provided. He also said the unit would encourage ” leaders of every group to have smaller, more informal gatherings to further discuss this crucial issue now and on an ongoing basis.”

The techniques are similar to those utilized by another news outlet that faced allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace. Fox News Channel mandated a new round of training for employees in the wake of many lawsuits and disclosures alleging untoward sexually aggressive behavior at the company that surfaced after the ouster of former chief Roger Ailes. In recent months, Fox News has installed new human-resources executives, and in November, its corporate parent, 21st Century Fox, unveiled a workplace council set at Fox News to advise senior management on matters ranging from corporate environment and recruitment to advancement of women and minorities. The new council was set up in response to complaints from investors in 21st Century Fox.

Lack reminded NBC News staffers of the options they have at their disposal, including managers and human-resources executives as well as specially designated employee hotlines and email addresses manned by NBCUniversal and its corporate parent, Comcast.

“We also want to reinforce with our managers and leaders their responsibility to bring forward concerns about inappropriate workplace behavior they see or hear about,” Lack said. “It is always the right thing to do, and any concerns raised should be done without fear of retaliation, and with full assurance that they will be investigated.”


More TV

  • Harley Quinn DC Universe

    4 Things We Learned at TCA 2019: Day 1

    The 2019 Television Critics Association summer press tour kicked off on Tuesday with presentations from DC Universe, A+E Networks, and Nat Geo. DC Universe, the DC-branded streaming service, brought their adult animated series based on “Harley Quinn,” while A+E brought along a range of projects from across their portfolio. It was also announced that A+E [...]

  • The Boys Amazon Prime

    TV News Roundup: Amazon Drops 'The Boys' Final Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, USA releases the trailer for the second season of “The Purge” and Amazon drops the final trailer before “The Boys” launches.  RENEWALS Viceland has renewed the pro wrestling docu-series “Dark Side of the Ring” for a second season. The upcoming season will feature 10 hour-long episodes chronicling the lives of wrestlers inside [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    WGA West Unveils Candidates for Election That Reflects Discord Over Agency Campaign

    The WGA West has unveiled the slate of candidates for officer posts and board seats in the election that reflects the divisions among members over the guild’s handling of the campaign to reform its rules governing talent agents. Scribes Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”) and William Schmidt (“Yellowstone”) are set to challenge David Goodman for the president’s [...]

  • The Code CBS

    'The Code' Canceled After One Season on CBS

    Freshman military drama “The Code” is officially done at CBS. The news comes just one day after the show’s season finale, which will now serve as the show’s series finale. “Thank you to all you wonderful people who watched [‘The Code’],” series star Dana Delany wrote on Twitter. “Last night was our finale and sadly, [...]

  • Matt Tolmach'Venom' film premiere, Arrivals, Los

    Amazon to Develop Human IPO Series With Matt Tolmach Producing

    Amazon is developing a series inspired by the true story of a man who sold shares of himself to investors, Variety has learned. In a competitive situation, Amazon has landed the project, titled “JNNA.” It is described as a half-hour comedy about the next big investment craze — humans. It is inspired by Mike Merrill, [...]

  • Olympics

    NBCUniversal Projects More Than $1.2 Billion in Ad Sales for 2020 Olympics

    NBCUniversal projected it would sell more than $1.2 billion in advertising for its 17 days of broadcasts of the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo, citing the event as a rare opportunity for Madison Avenue to reach big audiences without the worry of politics getting in the way of a commercial message. The Olympics is “one of [...]

  • R Kelly Sexual Assult Accusations Mugshot

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Follow Up, Jeffrey Epstein Docuseries in the Works at Lifetime

    Lifetime is working on a follow up to the hit docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” and a new docuseries about Jeffrey Epstein. Rob Sharenow, president of programming for A+E Networks, made the announcements at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Tuesday. “The Aftermath” will be a four-part series featuring interviews with new survivors, psychologists, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content