Matt Lauer has been known over the years as the star of NBC’s The Today Show. However, on the morning of November 29, 2017 Lauer was officially fired from his position as co-anchor on the Today Show after allegations of sexual misconduct were made to executives. After NBC received a complaint from a colleague describing Lauer’s inappropriate sexual behavior in the work place, he was officially terminated.
In a statement issued by NBC, they explained that it was the first complaint about Lauer’s behavior they received in over 20 years since he has worked at NBC. However, they were provided with evidence to believe this may not have been the only occurrence of such behavior.
Since his termination, NBC has received many more complaints about Lauer’s inappropriate behavior. A former employee described how Lauer would call her into his office and lock the door by pressing a button under his desk. He would then ask her to unbutton her blouse and pull down her pants, so he could have intercourse with her. After this assault took place, she recalls having to be taken to the nurse because she had passed out.
Three other women came forward anonymously and also stated that Lauer sexually harassed them. One claimed that he gave her a sex toy as a present and a note explaining how he wanted to use it on her. Another stated that once she was brought into his office, he dropped his pants and showed her his penis and then chastised her for not engaging in sexual acts with him.
In response to Lauer’s termination, NBC News Chairman said in a statement, “Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender.”
The actions of NBC and the firing of Matt Lauer are important because it shows how sexual assault in the workplace will not be tolerated anymore and that it will be treated with the severity it requires. It shows how rich, powerful, white men will no longer be protected and absolved of their actions simply because of ‘who they are’. Instead, this represents a new era in which all people who take part in these types of disgusting actions will be held accountable for their crime, no matter the person.
Women deserve to feel comfortable and safe in their work environment and should not feel that they are being taken advantage of or sexualized in any way. As a society, it is time we view women as more than objects, but as actual human beings, that want to perform their job without experiencing this kind of harassment.
Anne Curry, who was fired from the Today show in 2012, said, “The women’s movement got us into the workplace, but it didn’t make us safe once we got there. And the battle lines are clear. We need to move this revolution forward and make our workplaces safer. Corporate America is quite clearly failing to do so, and unless it does something to change that, we need to keep doing more ourselves.”