Matt Lauer just wrapped up his divorce from Annette Roque, from whom he split after NBC fired him in November 2017 over a credible complaint of "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace." Now, nearly two years later, the former "Today" anchor is bracing for more sexual harassment claims to go public.
According to a new report from Page Six, multiple women believed to have fresh allegations of sexual misconduct against Lauer have spoken to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow for his new book, "Catch and Kill," which comes out on Oct. 15. "A number of women with new claims spoke with Ronan," a source told the New York Post, which cannot say how many women spoke on the record.
The New York Post also reports that ahead of the book's publication, Lauer has hired a team of lawyers. The paper claims the disgraced former morning-show star has been made aware of what's in the book and was given an opportunity to comment as well as fact-check.
Farrow's publisher, Little, Brown and Company, told the Post in a statement that it is "extremely proud of the important reporting in 'Catch and Kill,' which has been meticulously fact-checked and vetted."
According to Page Six, the woman whose complaint to NBC execs sparked the investigation that led to Lauer's firing also spoke to Farrow. As Page Six writes, "She has made the difficult decision to come forward and name herself in Farrow's explosive new book."
In the immediate aftermath of the scandal and in the midst of the rise of the #MeToo movement in late 2017 and 2018, the woman — whom Page Six has previously reported was a onetime assistant to former "Today" co-anchor Meredith Vieira who later became a producer on the show, though is not believed to work there now — did not want to be named and her lawyer fought hard to keep her identity secret.
In March, Page Six reported that that woman was shopping a book about what happened. Lauer's inappropriate behavior with this subordinate reportedly began during coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
After his firing, a handful of other anonymous woman came forward to media outlets with claims of sexual harassment and even assault, and former "Today" production assistant Addie Zinone later went public with her story of a month-long consensual but inappropriate affair with Lauer. That took place in 2000, she said, when she was in her early 20s and he was in his 40s.
Lauer said in a statement following his firing that "Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly."
In 2018, he said in a new statement, "I have made no public comments on the many false stories from anonymous or biased sources that have been reported about me over these past several months … I remained silent in an attempt to protect my family from further embarrassment and to restore a small degree of the privacy they have lost. But defending my family now requires me to speak up.
"I fully acknowledge that I acted inappropriately as a husband, father and principal at NBC. However I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive or abusive actions on my part, at any time, are absolutely false."