Prepare to be amused – or at the very least, not shocked – that an internal investigation by NBCUniversal has found no evidence of misconduct by the media giant in the Matt Lauer affair. This, despite repeated claims by Today show co-anchor Ann Curry that she reported Matt’s sexual improprieties to network authorities in 2012.
They Said, She Said
Strange as it may seem, NBCUniversal’s legal team didn’t even interview Curry, or so she told The New York Times: “I have not participated in any formal investigation by NBC on sexual harassment.” The network, on the other hand, says they did.
In looking at the timeline of events, one could surmise that something is not quite right here. Ms. Curry told The Washington Post that she wanted NBC officials to keep an eye on Mr. Lauer because there was talk that he harassed a staff member back in 2012. No word on whether they heeded her warning, but Curry was forced out of her co-anchor slot at NBC in 2012. Coincidence or cover up?
Meanwhile, since the holy mess regarding Lauer surfaced, additional allegations about aging NBC anchor Tom Brokaw have come to light. Brokaw has denied these charges. However, there is a sense that the ugly boil of sexual harassment was not lanced at NBC because of Andrew Lack, the chairman of the network. Whether justified or not, Mr. Lack and his long-standing friendship with Lauer has put the chairman in the hot seat. Did he permit a culture of sexual abuse to fester at NBC?
In two of the complaints against Matt Lauer, the accusers contend that NBC managers were aware of Matt’s little problem. The network’s legal team categorically denies this. “The former leaders with whom we spoke denied any such knowledge,” the report stated, “and we were unable to otherwise substantiate it.”
Of all the big-name sexual harassment cases that have surfaced since the advent of Harvey Weinstein, the one involving Matt Lauer has consistently been perceived as the most egregious. Perhaps this is because of the “locked door” Mr. Lauer was able to utilize to hold his victims hostage. The NBC internal investigation took issue with this particular point. They wrote, “The button is a commonly available feature in executive offices in multiple NBCUniversal facilities to provide an efficient way to close the door without getting up from the desk. The button releases a magnet that holds the door open. It does not lock the door from the inside.”
Honestly this sounds a little convenient, does it not? Of course NBC’s legal team would not find their own network guilty. After all, what do they have to gain by finding fault with NBC? Nothing but a bevy of potential legal actions. Therefore, their conclusions can and should be viewed as suspect. An organization investigating itself isn’t worth the paper on which it prints the findings.