Sex toys, exposed genitals, lewd texts, and crude comments were part of former “Today” co-host Matt Lauer's harassment repertoire, according to a Variety exposé.
NBC fired Lauer Wednesday after a female colleague claimed he sexually harassed her for years, making him yet another rich and powerful man to be felled this year by accusations of harassment. Few details were available at the time the announcement was made, but by the afternoon more information about the 59-year-old’s alleged misdeeds came to light.
Variety’s report claimed Lauer, who is married with three children, sexually harassed multiple colleagues at NBC and gave one woman a sex toy as a gift along with an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her. In another incident, Lauer allegedly summoned a woman to his office, then dropped his pants and showed her his penis. He reprimanded her when she refused the advance, the report claimed.
Lauer allegedly grilled women about who they’d slept with, and asked male and female colleagues in the office to play the game “f-ck, marry or kill.”
None of the women were identified in the story, which followed a two-month investigation by Variety, with dozens of interviews with staffers. Several women told the magazine they complained about Lauer's behavior, but nothing came of it. Lauer reportedly made a $25 million salary at "Today," a show that averaged about 4 million viewers.
The exposé goes on to describe Lauer as a man obsessed with women's appearances and who would make lewd comments both in-person and over texts.
"He once said made a suggestive reference to a colleague’s performance in bed and compared it to how she was able to complete her job, according to witnesses to the exchange. For Lauer, work and sex were intertwined," the report said.
Two of the accusers told the magazine that Lauer had a button under his desk that allowed him to quickly lock the door from the inside, ensuring privacy for his alleged harassment. As of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Lauer had not commented on his firing or the sexual harassment claims.
Reuters contributed to this report.