When NBC announced the firing of long-time Today anchor Matt Lauer on Wednesday morning, network executives said that the complaint filed against Lauer on Monday evening was the first of its kind. However, reports now say that network executives knew of Lauer's "inappropriate sexual behavior" long before he was terminated.
Current and former staffers told The New York Post's Page Six that Today was a "total boys' club" and that Lauer's behavior was tolerated by not only upper management, but his direct co-workers as well.
"Women did complain about his behavior, and there were a lot of closed-door meetings before it was all brushed under the carpet," the source added.
Another insider shared that women did report instances of sexual harassment against Lauer, but that the reports fell on deaf ears. "Some women did report it and were scared at the repercussions it would have on their careers. They complained, and nothing was done," the source said.
One staffer told the Post that Lauer's "sexual conquests were general office fodder. There was constant innuendo in the office about which woman had just had sex with Matt and which one would be next."
Another female staffer said, "All the women on-air knew … Al Roker knew. They feared Matt."
High-ranking officials like NBC News chiefs Jeff Zucker and Steve Capus "got the complaints," an NBC insider said, and NBC News President Noah Oppenheim and chairman Andy Lack reportedly "knew of the investigations into Matt's behavior and tried to negotiate."
"The show was a total boys' club, even despite it having a very large female staff," one source said.
"There was a boys' club mentality in the control room and in the hallways, and any complaints about that were dismissed," the source said. "It was always made out that these affairs were consensual, a joke about how many women had slept with Matt or had affairs with him. It was never suggested that the women were victims."
Lauer was fired from his long-time position as Today's lead anchor earlier this week after a colleague filed a "detailed complaint" against him concerning "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace." Hours later, two more women alleged sexual harassment against Lauer to NBC and Variety published a report detailing multiple women's allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
In his announcement detailing Lauer's firing, Lack wrote that the claim gave the network "reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."
On Friday, Lack sent a company-wide memo describing Lauer's behavior as "appalling" and promising a "thorough and timely review of what happened."
He also announced that the News Division of NBC will be "launching an immediate effort to implement in-person training on sexual harassment awareness and appropriate behavior in the workplace."