Matt Lauer had an affair with a famous and well-respected television broadcaster, a new report claims of the disgraced Today show host.
The New York Post’s Page Six reported that Lauer had a secret affair with the woman, which insiders said was troubling as it was a “clear imbalance of power” in the relationship. The woman, who was not named in the report, signed a nondisclosure agreement with NBC as she left the network, the report went on to say.
A source told the outlet that the relationship was seen as controversial not only because Lauer was married at the time but because he had incredible power over the woman’s career.
“Matt had influence over everyone’s career — one word and your career would be sunk. I know there was a clear imbalance of power in this woman’s relationship with Matt,” the source said.
The allegations of sexual misconduct against Matt Lauer, which led to his firing from the Today show back in 2017, have come back to the forefront after being featured in investigative journalist Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill. The book also focused on allegations from a former producer who said that Lauer exposed himself to her while in his office during a company event.
The producer, Melissa Lonner, worked as the show’s entertainment booker at the time and reportedly spoke to anchor Ann Curry afterward to tell her about the unwanted encounter. The report claimed that Lauer asked Lonner to leave the event and go into his office, where he propositioned her.
“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 said that Lauer called her a “f*cking tease” and accused her of leading him on when she refused his advances, and said that Lauer later exerted his power over her career. When Lonner tried to leave the network for another job, she said that NBC executives told her that Lauer insisted she stay.
Lonner would end up being fired in 2013, three years after the incident, but was offered a six-figure settlement with NBC to sign a “release of rights” agreement that she believes was meant to keep her quiet about the incident with Lauer.
For his part, Matt Lauer has denied wrongdoing and said that the relationships he carried on with colleagues were consensual.