Disgraced NBC “Today” co-anchor Matt Lauer, fired by the network amid a storm of allegations of highly inappropriate sexual behavior, apparently had a secret button installed under his desk that could lock his office door remotely.
A Fox report points out the device could be used to convert an office space into a “secret sex lair,” and said an unnamed source at NBC confirmed that the button does, indeed, exist.
Variety first wrote about the gadget in its breaking bombshell that first outed Lauer’s lewd misconduct:
“His office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up. This afforded him the assurance of privacy.”
The insider at NBC also told Fox that the button in Lauer’s office wasn’t the only one at the network’s head office at Rockefeller Plaza. “Today” show’s executive producer reportedly also had one installed, but the Fox source said staff didn’t consider it a sexual misconduct enabler, but “an ego thing so the EP didn’t have to get out of his desk to close his door for a private conversation.”
But the device could also be used to facilitate inappropriate behavior.
According to the Variety piece, the secret button “allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him.”
And now this salacious detail is sparking a firestorm of social media commentary.
WELCOME TO THE FLIRTING CHAMBER i intone, pressing the button on my desk that makes the steel cage drop
— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) November 29, 2017
I absolutely mean it when I say that a very good jumping-off point for the next story here is who in the hell would sign off on a button to let somebody surreptitiously lock his door. That tick-tock, I would read.
— Linda Holmes (@nprmonkeysee) November 29, 2017
I have known lots of fancy tv types that had a button on their desk that would release a magnetic door stopper holding the door open, allowing them to close the door w/o getting up…BUT NEVER A SECRET BUTTON THAT LOCKED IT! YEESH!
— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) November 29, 2017
How does one even go about having installed a button on your desk that locks your door without needing to get up? Do you just do it? Do you come up with some weird excuse? Claim to be lazy?
— Ginger Gibson (@GingerGibson) November 29, 2017
In a statement read aloud at the start of Thursday’s broadcast of the “Today” show, Lauer apologized for what he called his “troubling flaws.”
Lauer, 59, said in his statement that some of the accusations against him were “untrue or mischaracterized” but that “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
Since then, at least two more women have come forward with similar complaints against Lauer, the “Today” show reported on Thursday.
“Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I‘m committed to beginning that effort,” Lauer said in the statement, which was read aloud by his former co-host Savannah Guthrie at the start of Thursday’s broadcast.
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