The “irrefutable evidence” provided to higher-ups at NBC pertaining to Matt Lauer’s alleged sexual harassment may have been a naked photo, according to a new report.
The woman who accused Lauer of the harassment said that she and Lauer had a sexual relationship while covering the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The accuser was still employed at NBC in November when she came forward the weekend after Thanksgiving.
A source told the New York Post that the “irrefutable evidence” that the woman gave higher-ups at the network is “speculated to be a naked photograph of Lauer.”
The accuser also said that “she wasn’t the only woman he’d done this to.”
The Post said that Lauer at first fought against the accusations but later admitted to his bosses that he’d had three “consensual” affairs during his 25 years at the “Today” show.
The source said that no one at the network knew what Lauer had been up to.
“Genuinely, nobody at NBC News had any idea at this stage that he was preying on younger staffers at ‘Today,’” the source said. “Nobody knew what Matt was doing with the interns and junior producers. It was appalling.”
The quick move from investigation to firing happened, according to another source, because of the accuser being represented by well-known lawyer Ari Wilkenfeld.
“She had a high-powered attorney from Washington, DC, and so everyone knew if NBC didn’t take swift action, they would have arranged for a sit-down interview with a competitor.”
Lauer publicly denied that he had sexually harassed colleagues and junior staffers at the network, but soon after the firing he released a statement.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry,” he said, reported Variety.
“As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.”
He added, “Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”