A former and longtime colleague close to former “Today” show host Matt Lauer said that the longtime anchor likely won’t attempt a comeback.
“I think he’ll retire. He should anyway. He had made his money and said all he wanted to do is be with the kids and golf,” the person, who was not identified, told People magazine.
Lauer was terminated from the Today show by NBC News amid allegations of sexual misconduct. The 59-year-old host also released an apology statement, which was read aloud on Today last week.
“He wanted to run away and live with the money he had made and be with his family. This is definitely not the way he wanted to go out, but I don’t think he feels the need to be on air like some people, doing specials. I think he’ll have a quiet life and go golfing a ton,” the colleague told People.
NBC announced last Wednesday that it received a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior” on Monday.
Lauer said Thursday, “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.”
His colleague added that Lauer “loves his kids. When you see him as a dad to those kids, he is a solid father with no holes in that record.”
The New York Times and other outlets last week reported that one female employee claimed that he locked the door in his office and sexually assaulted her until she passed out. The alleged incident took place in 2001 and involved an unnamed, married woman who was in her 40s at the time. She said that Lauer was at his desk and she sat down before he locked the door by pressing a button at his desk. He allegedly asked her to unbutton her blouse and then assaulted her.
NBC’s Stephanie Gosk revealed to Megyn Kelly last Thursday that there might be as many as eight female accusers.
“We have reached out to New York City Police; we have reached out to police departments in Long Island. We know of no open criminal investigation against Matt Lauer,” Gosk said. “Because they are anonymous, we don’t know if any of the people who spoke to Variety also spoke to The New York Times. We don’t know if any of them are the same women,” she added.
But the source claimed in the People report he wasn’t a “predator but a player,” while adding that he was professional, worked hard, and was a leader while working for NBC.
“This is the head of the show, and he was doing good deeds behind the doors,” the source added. “People would say, ‘Go to Matt.’ He would pay off people’s bills. His driver passed, and he paid for all his funeral bills so the family wouldn’t have to.” The person also said that he bought a laptop for a crew member’s wife who had a tumor.
“He had so much good. He was careless, reckless, distasteful, but it’s not what we’re reading,” the source added.
The person also said that Lauer also considered retiring.
“I told him, ‘I don’t have to know the truth here, but that doesn’t separate who you were to so many of us so often while we knew you,’” the source said. They added that every time his contract was up for renewal, he wanted to walk away.
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