Matt Lauer allegedly had a sexual relationship with a “well-respected” NBC personality, according to an exclusive report by Page Six. The unnamed woman told the publication that the relationship represented a “clear imbalance of power” and that she was made to sign a nondisclosure agreement, or NDA, when she left the network.
One corroborative source told the New York Post that “Matt had influence over everyone’s career—one word and your career would be sunk,” the unnamed person, who apparently confirmed the relationship, said. “I know there was a clear imbalance of power in this woman’s relationship with Matt.”
It is unclear if the woman in the Page Six article is the same one that Ronan Farrow describes in his new book Catch and Kill, where he wrote about how Lauer repeatedly harassed a fellow on-air star who was also made to sign an NDA agreement.
In Farrow’s book, the co-star, who is also unnamed, says that a separate NBC executive also propositioned her and made lewd comments about her when she was on-air.
“I was like meat on a hook,” the woman told Farrow. “I would walk into work with a knot in my stomach. I would come home and cry.”
The woman says that when she turned Lauer and the other man down, she was punished. “My career took a sharp nosedive,” she said.
The woman described in the Page Six report says she did not go to NBC human-resources officials with her complaint, but that she did tell co-workers who have corroborated her complaint.
Lauer has stringently denied claims of coerced sexual relationships, saying instead that all of his encounters were consensual.
NBC responded harshly to Farrow’s book, insisting that it did not cover up for Lauer. NBC News President Noah Oppenheim–himself under pressure over essays he wrote while a student at Harvard, wrote a staff memo Monday. “Farrow’s effort to defame NBC News is clearly motivated not by a pursuit of truth, but an axe to grind,” he wrote. “It is built on a series of distortions, confused timelines, and outright inaccuracies.”
“I feel absolutely terrible that these three employees were subjected to Matt Lauer’s horrific behavior, but the facts do not support Farrow’s allegation of a ‘cover-up,’ and he offers no further evidence,” Oppenheim went on to say. “There is no way we have found that NBC's current leadership could have been aware of his misdeeds in the past.”
The network has not said whether it will seek legal action against Farrow’s allegations.