Matt Lauer exposed himself to a Today show producer as the two made small talk during a company party, a new report claims.
The 2010 incident was featured in journalist Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill, which gives new details to the sexual abuse allegations against the disgraced former television anchor. As the New York Post’s Page Six reported, Farrow wrote that Lauer had exposed himself to Melissa Lonner, who worked as the show’s entertainment booker, as they spoke in private after a work event.
The report says that Lauer asked Lonner to leave a work event held at the NBC headquarters in Manhattan and join him in his office.
“Although Lonner thought it would be a professional meeting, Lauer closed the door, and as he made small talk about the cocktail party they had just attended, ‘he unzipped his pants and exposed his erect penis,’ the book says.”
Lonner rebuffed his advances, saying she didn’t want to be intimate with him “where everyone else has done it,” the report claimed. Lauer responded that he “figured she liked it dirty” but then grew angry and called her a “f*cking tease” and accused her of leading him on.
The book goes on to say that Lonner spoke about the incident to Lauer’s fellow anchor, Ann Curry. After the incident, Lonner was afraid that Lauer could use his power to damage her career and asked Curry not to mention her name. She then tried to find another job, but NBC executives told her that Lauer insisted that she stay.
Lonner ended up being fired in 2013, but was offered a six-figure settlement from NBC to sign a “release of rights” agreement that she believed was meant to keep her from talking about the incident.
The new story comes just days after another former NBC producer accused Lauer of raping her. Brooke Nevils said that Lauer forced himself on her while they were covering the Sochi Olympics in 2014. Lauer responded with a statement calling Nevils a “willing partner,” prompting her to speak out directly.
“There’s a Matt Lauer that millions of Americans watched on TV every morning for two decades. And there is the Matt Lauer who this morning attempted to bully a former colleague into silence,” she said in a statement, via Deadline.
She went on to call his letter a “case study in victim-blaming” and said she was not afraid regardless of his threats and bullying.