The ex-host of the network’s Today show was fired from the company he had worked at for over 20 years, after one woman made an allegation of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace against him.
NBC bosses reportedly told staff they feared the case was not an isolated one. The allegation was followed by a string of other claims against him from current and former NBC staff.
But an old interview from 2009 featuring Sandra Bullock being interviewed by the anchor has surfaced online, where Lauer says: ‘I’ve seen you naked.’
‘The major thing that’s changed since you were here last: I have now seen you naked,” Lauer begins the interview with, speaking to the actress about her film The Proposal.
‘And I am so sorry about that,’ Bullock replies. ‘Why are you looking down?’
‘It’s now my screensaver,’ Lauer jokes. ‘…You’re naked for most of this movie.’
‘Except for a carefully placed… washcloth is what it is? Didn’t you tell me one time you were never going to do that?’ asked Lauer.
‘I said I would never do a sex-nude scene,’ she says. ‘But for comedy? I’m okay with that… I’m an actor. It’s not really me. It’s a character doing it…,’ Bullock replied.
The original claims of harassment, made to Variety, include the suggestion he once bought a female colleague a sex toy and gifted it to her with an explicit note detailing what he wanted to do to her, reprimanded a female colleague for not touching his penis, and quizzed female staff on the men they had slept with.
It was also claimed, due to his level of fame at NBC, he was allowed a button under his desk which would lock the door from the inside, offering him privacy and ensuring no one would be able to walk in unannounced. The women all asked to rename nameless for fear of professional repercussion.
Over 10 other people also spoke out, with many claiming Lauer would often make sexual comments verbally or over text messages.
‘There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,’ said a former producer.
Matt Lauer’s full statement
‘There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have cause others by words and actions. 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 characterized, 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.’
‘He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.’
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