The woman who first accused Today anchor Matt Lauer of “inappropriate sexual behavior” is “terrified” of being unmasked, her lawyer said Friday.
In an interview with Today correspondent Stephanie Gosk, attorney Ari Wilkenfeld said his client is living in a state of “constant fear that people are going to track her down and figure out who she is.”
“There’s a hunt underway to figure out who she is and I think that’s going to have a chilling effect on other women who are going to come forward and tell their stories,” Wilkenfeld said. He added that his client “feels badly for the many other women who are suspected of being her, who are also being hounded and harassed.”
“My client is terrified, and she does live in constant fear that people are going to track her down and figure out who she is.” -Attorney for Lauer accuser pic.twitter.com/sczks2TMlD— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 15, 2017
Wilkenfeld said his client is the mystery woman who filed a complaint alleging sexual misconduct the by veteran NBC host. Her account led network executives to terminate Lauer in November.
“It was difficult for her like it is for all victims of sexual harassment,” he continued. “It’s scary. And that’s why many women want to have those meeting and they want to close the door and never be heard from again.”
Wikenfeld also revealed what went on during the anonymous accuser’s meeting with NBC executives.
“She showed her face, she gave her name, she told her story. And at the conclusion of the interview, she was asked, ‘What do you want?’ And she said, ‘I want you guys to do the right thing and also, I’d like you to maintain my confidentiality,” he shared.
Though the accuser’s name has not been released, the lawyer said NBC has not lived up to the promises they made.
“I can say that NBC has a duty to maintain confidentiality, that means to maintain secrecy over her name and to hold to themselves the details of her story,” he said. “And they have not done a good job of doing that. They know exactly what they’ve done and they need to stop.”
“I can say that NBC has a duty to maintain confidentiality… and they have not done a good job of doing that. They know exactly what they’ve done, and they need to stop.” –Attorney for Matt Lauer accuser pic.twitter.com/hUdgEdXi6q— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 15, 2017
Since Lauer’s termination, NBC has confirmed that the alleged sexual misconduct with the anonymous woman began during the 2014 Sochi Olympics and continued after the trip.
An NBC spokesperson denied Wilkenfeld’s claim on Today, replying that “the network has protected the employee’s anonymity all along and will continue to do so.”
Wilkenfeld said he was proud of his client for sharing her story, and for the unique way she went about it.0comments
“She’s been incredibly brave and she’s helped protect the other women who work at NBC,” he said. “She’s also shined a light on the different ways other women can come forward.”
Since the initial source came forward with allegations against Lauer, several other women have accused the broadcaster of a variety of inappropriate sexual behaviors and his long history of sexual debauchery has been exposed.