Matt Lauer could be prepared to go to battle with NBC over his $30 million golden parachute.
The fired Today show anchor is reportedly preparing legal action against the network for the remainder of his $20-million-per-year contract, which was set to extend through 2019. The New York Post‘s Page Six reported that Lauer’s legal team is poring over his contract and whether the claims that he acted in a sexually inappropriate manner would void the contract.
While Matt Lauer could be preparing action against NBC for the remainder of his contract, a source told Page Six that it’s not too likely he sees any of it.
“There is no way Matt is getting paid,” the source said. “There has been an irrevocable breach of Matt’s contract, there is a moral clause that says if he brings the company into disrepute — which he clearly has — NBC can terminate his employment immediately without pay and they do not have to pay out his contract.”
The report added that Matt Lauer met with top New York lawyer Eddie Burke, Jr., who has led a number of high-profile cases in the New York metro area. As People magazine noted, Burke is likely to lead a strong case against NBC’s reason for firing Matt Lauer.
In the end, it could be likely that Lauer will get some money, but not all of the $30 million he believes he is owed, the source hinted.
“‘Is it clear cut? It might make sense to fire him for cause rather than to eat the whole contract. They can make the argument that it’s for cause, but his lawyers won’t see it that way,” the source told the outlet. “So then they will try to negotiate a middle ground. But if any of the women take action against NBC, then that’s a factor. Insurance comes in to play, and then it becomes much more complicated.”
When NBC announced Lauer’s firing on Wednesday, the network cited a detailed complaint from a colleague who reportedly claimed that Lauer acted in a sexually inappropriate manner while the crew was on assignment at the Sochi Olympics. Since then, other women have reportedly come forward to claim that Lauer acted in a similar manner with them.
As Variety noted, one of the women who stepped forward to accuse Matt Lauer claimed that the Today show anchor dropped his pants while she was in his office, exposing himself to her.
While Matt Lauer has publicly apologized for his behavior, the now-former Today show anchor has not commented on reports that he may be filing a legal challenge regarding the $30 million left on his contract.