No Independent Investigation of How NBC Handled Matt Lauer Situation, Parent Company Says

October 18, 2019 Updated: October 18, 2019

NBCUniversal won’t have a third-party conduct a fresh investigation of how Matt Lauer allegedly sexually abused multiple NBC staffers, the company said.

Lauer was accused of what the network described in 2017 as sexual misconduct. Brooke Nevils, one of the women who accused Lauer, said recently that he raped her while they were covering the 2012 Sochi Olympics.

Lauer strenuously denied the claim, though he admitted to having sexual relations with Nevils.

NBC fired Lauer after the accusations first emerged. It conducted an internal investigation that it said uncovered no wrongdoing by the company.

“We found no evidence indicating that any NBC News or Today show leadership, News H.R. or others in positions of authority in the News Division received any complaints about Lauer’s workplace behavior prior to Nov. 27, 2017,” the network said in a summary of the report in May 2018.

There have been renewed calls for an investigation by a third-party, including from former NBC anchor Megyn Kelly, who on Oct. 16 appeared for her first on-air interview since she and the network parted ways early this year.

“There are questions as to whether they put dollars ahead of decency,” Kelly said. “About whether they were more interested in protecting their star anchor than they were in protecting the women of the company. There needs to be an outside investigation into this company. They investigated themselves, that doesn’t work.”

Former NBC “Today” show host Matt Lauer at an awards ceremony in New York City on Nov. 24, 2014. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Other former NBC employees, including Linda Vester and Addie Zinone, have also called for an outside investigation.

But NBCUniversal said that it would not have a fresh investigation conducted.

“There is no additional investigation being launched,” a spokeswoman, Hilary Smith, told the Hollywood Reporter. “We are very confident in the report that was conducted.”

“We fired Matt Lauer within 24 hours of learning what he did, and promptly launched a corporate investigation. Based on our investigative findings, we have swiftly taken appropriate actions to address the situation and improve workplace culture. It is also worth noting that this was a corporate investigation that was conducted by an almost entirely female team, none of whom are part of the News division,” Smith added.

Kelly, who worked for Fox News before joining NBC, reacted to the news on Twitter, writing: “CBS, FOX, NPR, NFL – all hired outside investigators. NBC again refuses to do so … as it claims it has ‘nothing to hide.’ RELEASE ALL LAUER ACCUSERS FROM THEIR NON-DISCLOSURES.”

The focus on NBC and actions by executives came after Ronan Farrow, a former journalist at the network, said in a new book that NBC crushed his reporting on Harvey Weinstein. Farrow left NBC and went to the New Yorker, which later published an extensive expose on Weinstein by Farrow.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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