Hours after Today co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced Matt Lauer’s firing from NBC, three anonymous women have accused the former newsmanof sexual harassment, Variety reports.
The story — which Variety says it corroborated with dozens of current and former NBC employees — claims Lauer, 59 once brought a female employee into his office “and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis.” Lauer then allegedly “reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.”
He also reportedly gave a female colleague a sex toy as a present. Variety alleges that Lauer quizzed female producers about who they’d slept with and loved to play the game “f—, marry or kill” about his female co-hosts.
Two of the women who were allegedly sexually harassed by Lauer said the ex-anchor“had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up.” As a result, he supposedly brought multiple female employees into his office to “initiate inappropriate contact.”
Guthrie opened the Today show Wednesday with a statement from Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News, explaining that Lauer’s firing was the result of unwelcome actions: “On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Meanwhile, multiple current and former NBC employees who spoke to Variety said they complained to upper management about Lauer to no avail. “Management sucks there,” a former anonymous reporter told Variety about executives who previously worked at the show. “They protected the shit out of Matt Lauer.”
However, an NBC spokesperson told PEOPLE in a statement, “We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct.”
Lauer’s behavior supposedly continued on the road, and while traveling on assignment he allegedly asked a female producer who he allegedly found attractive to deliver a pillow to his hotel room.
A New York Times article published later Wednesday reported NBC had received two more complaints, one from a woman who alleged Lauer “summoned her to his office in 2001 and then had sex with her.”
His wife of 19 years, Dutch model Annette Roque, filed for divorce in 2006 but then withdrew the papers three weeks later.
“He regularly cheated on his wife,” one source tells PEOPLE. “Everyone knew. His wife lives in the Hamptons and he lives in the city, but we never heard he made unwanted moves.”
Now, another insider says, “His family is his focus at the moment.”