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HC Wake-Up Call: Matt Lauer Had Secret Relationship With a ‘TODAY’ Staffer, NYPD Begins Investigating Allegations Against Russell Simmons & the Debut of Chips Ahoy! & Nutter Butter Cereal

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Matt Lauer Had an Affair With ‘TODAY’ Production Assistant

A former production assistant at TODAY has spoken about her secret relationship with a newly married Matt Lauer in the early 2000s, Variety reports. Addie Collins Zinone began at NBC in 1999 as an intern, eventually becoming a production assistant and growing close to the show’s anchors. Lauer, however, didn’t show any interest in her until she was preparing to leave the show for another job. In July 2000, he invited her to lunch and Zinone, hoping to ask him for professional advice, found herself hit on instead. Zinone, then 24, began a month-long, consensual relationship with Lauer, then in his 40s. 

Zinone shared instant messages from Lauer at the time, in which the former TODAY anchor complimented her on her looks and openly tried to flirt. She also admitted to having a “consensual exchange” with Lauer in his office. 

“This man who I’d held on a pedestal had made me feel like my looks and my body were my true assets,” she said. “He made it clear that he wasn’t interested in my skills or my talent. It just shattered everything…I had no idea there were other women out there…He felt like he was untouchable. He lacked so much morality and reality, because he had people enabling him. I see the common threads and how he preyed on women, and I was one of them.”

NYPD Opens Investigation on Russell Simmons and Rape Allegations

CNN reports that the NYPD has begun an investigation into Russell Simmons and multiple women accusing him of sexual misconduct, including rape. Earlier this week, nine women shared allegations of sexual harassment and assault against music producer Simmons, and four mentioned rape in their claims. These reports follow an accusation made in November against Simmons and movie producer Brett Ratner. 

Simmons has denied the claims, saying in a statement, “I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power. I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described.”

Simmons also took to Instagram to defend himself, saying “NotMe.”

Chips Ahoy & Nutter Butter Cereals Are Coming to Walmart

TBH, the best part about being an adult is disobeying your mom’s longtime role of no cookies for breakfast and having those cookies whenever you please. Now, Walmart will soon stock Chips Ahoy! and Nutter Butter cereals, meaning that you can totally get away with having cookies before lunch! With the Chips Ahoy! type applying its classic cookie recipe to cereal puffs and Nutter Butter including a coating made with real peanut butter, this news has made me ridiculously excited for breakfast again. Cereal brand Post will debut the new flavors on Dec. 26 online and in stores. 

What to look out for…

Today is the ending date of the 2018 Open Enrollment Period for health insurance, so if you haven’t already, look into your options and what kind of health care fits your needs best. 

Kristen Perrone is a Siena College Class of 2018 alumna. She studied English during her time at Siena.