By now you’ve heard that Matt Lauer was summarily drop-kicked from the Today show Wednesday morning after NBC executives learned of his “inappropriate sexual behavior.” As it turns out, completely coincidentally, multiple outlets had been working on stories about Lauer’s long-term harassment of women at NBC.
On Wednesday afternoon, Variety published a piece that spilled the tea on exactly what that inappropriate behavior entailed, and it is scalding.
Here is how the damn piece begins:
As the co-host of NBC’s Today, Matt Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. It included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified.
On another day, he summoned a different female employee to his office, and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis. After the employee declined to do anything, visibly shaken, he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.
He would sometimes quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, offering to trade names. And he loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: “f—, marry, or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.
But the piece that has me and just about everyone I know (basically, GMG staffers) fucked up? Lauer’s reported James Bond-villain-esque office that Variety reports allowed him to carry out a fair amount of this nasty behavior.
His office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up. This afforded him the assurance of privacy. It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him, according to two women who were sexually harassed by Lauer.
A button that allows you to ... hold up. Hold the entirety of fucks up.
What sort of work request do you send that allows you to do that? How did that not raise any red flags at NBC? How was this not an HR violation? Did he soundproof his office, too? Did sex toys drop from the ceiling at the pull of a lever under his chair?
I. Have. So. Many. Questions.
As our enigmatic software engineer, Victor Amos, who stays coming with references that will blow your damn mind, observed: “His office prolly looked like the courthouse in Nothing but Trouble.” He supplied a video to help us picture it:
On Wednesday morning, Savannah Guthrie, Lauer’s co-host on the Today show, maintained that the allegations—and Lauer’s firing—came as a shock. Shit, not to the contractor that set up Lauer’s little trapping button, it didn’t.