Hey, there's no hostile work environment here — NBC Lauer probe

Hey, there's no hostile work environment here — NBC Lauer probe

The former NBC News reporter who accused Brokaw of misconduct, Linda Vester, wrote in The Washington Post on Wednesday that NBC should have gone outside the company for its investigation.

A scathing Variety report previous year laid out accusations against Lauer that ranged from gifting sex toys to exposing his penis.

Those who were interviewed said they were unaware that Lauer "had engaged in sexual activity with other employees". The company found his behavior to be in violation of company standards and fired him. It has been almost six months since Lauer was sacked for "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace", and since then the network has conducted interviews with almost 70 current and former employees. In November, an employee filed a formal complaint to NBC News about his "inappropriate sexual behavior" and three other women also came forward with similar allegations.

In response to the report, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack said he wanted to enact change and offered a seven-point plan to offer a safer and more respectful environment for the future. "But that history also includes a time when people were not comfortable coming forward to voice complaints about repugnant behavior. That is not acceptable", Lack said in a memo.

"We can not change the past", Lack said. "What we can do is learn from it, and try to make it right", Lack said. "That requires strong, specific steps in a sustained manner to transform the culture".

CORNISH: So this report is essentially saying that there is not a cultural problem at NBC when it comes to abuse.

Numerous NBC staffers, both on and off the record, have said that "everyone knew" about Matt Lauer's "sexual harassment lair".

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"5 months in the past I used to be terminated by NBC after admitting to previous relationships with co-workers", he stated.

Whether the world outside NBCUniversal sees the matter as closed will likely be a matter for debate. Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose and other powerful people have been ousted from important roles after allegations of their behavior toward women were made public. NPR, you may recall, hired an outside law firm. NBCUniversal launched an investigation as a result. About a week later, NBC News determined that Lauer's conduct violated company policy and fired the former Today Show host. Throughout that interview, the complainant alleged that Matt Lauer had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct within the office together with her on a number of events in 2014.

CORNISH: What else did you find striking about this report? "Overall, the availability of evidence was impacted by the passage of time". That brings up another question: what will NBC's internal investigation conclude about Tom Brokaw?

Ann Curry has stated in the press that, in 2012, a woman came to her claiming that Lauer had sexually harassed her and that Curry then told management at the time that they should be concerned about Lauer's behavior toward women.

Within the first paragraphs of the report, the investigation crew states that Lauer "admitted to participating in sexual exercise" with the nameless lady whose allegations prompted his firing. Curry declined to comment on NBC's recent release.

Another controversial aspect of Lauer's story was the button that allegedly allowed him to lock the office door from his desk. "The former leaders with whom we spoke denied any such knowledge, however, and we were unable to otherwise substantiate it", the report said. "The button releases a magnet that holds the door open", the report said.

"We found no evidence indicating that any NBC News or Today Show leadership, News HR or others in positions of authority in the News Division received any complaints about Lauer's workplace behavior prior to November 27, 2017", the report stated. "Information HR instantly reported the matter to a senior employment lawyer at NBCUniversal (the "Firm"), the company guardian of the Information Division".

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