- Former “Today” show producer Melissa Lonner spoke with Ronan Farrow for his new book “Catch and Kill.”
- In the book, Farrow details an incident where Matt Lauer called Lonner into his office and then exposed himself to her. When she declined his advances, she said Lauer called her a “tease.”
- She said she was fired from the network several years later, but offered a six-figure payment that she believes was to prevent her from speaking out about Lauer in the press.
- Lauer and NBC deny Lonner’s account.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Yet another sexual misconduct allegation against Matt Lauer has been revealed in Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill.”
The book, which was released Tuesday, started making headlines last week when outlets that received an advanced copy of the book read for the first time about the rape allegation that led to Lauer’s firing form NBC in 2017. Previously, specific details of the allegation had not been reported, and NBC classified it only as “inappropriate sexual behaviour.”
Farrow also details another sexual misconduct claim against Lauer in the book, involving former “Today” producer Melissa Lonner.
A ‘Today’ show producer alleges Lauer exposed himself to her in his office
Lonner detailed how Lauer had called her into his office one night, “unzipped his pants, and exposed his erect penis” to her.
According to Farrow, Lonner “remembered reeling in response to Lauer’s advance, laughing nervously, trying to extricate herself by cracking a joke about not wanting to be intimate in an office where: ‘everyone else has done it.'”
“Lonner recalled Lauer saying that he knew she wanted it, and, in response to the joke about his office dalliances, that he figured she liked it dirty, and that the encounter would ‘be a first for you.’ Then, by her account, he became angry, saying, ‘Melissa, you’re a f—— tease. This is not good, You led me on,'” Farrow writes in the book.
Lonner’s account was backed up by former “Today” co-host Ann Curry, who first told the story to Farrow after running into him at a New York City restaurant.
Lonner said Lauer didn’t talk to her for weeks and she feared losing her job, so she started looking for a new position and was hired by CNN. But at the last minute, she said several NBC News executives intervened and told her that Lauer wanted her to stay, so she did.
Then several years later, just as her contract was about to expire, she said she was fired and not given a reason why.
Lonner said her lawyer noted that her firing coincided with the statue of limitations expiring on her ability to report Lauer’s harassment. And her agent said he’d “never seen” the kind of contract NBC sent over for Lonner to sign before she left.
The agreement included a six-figure sum in exchange for her signing a release of rights, which Lonner believed “was to prevent her from talking to the press,” according to Farrow.
Reps for Lauer and NBC are denying Lonner’s account
Insider reached out to both NBC News and Lauer’s representatives for comment. Libby Locke, Lauer’s attorney, released the following statement:
“Ronan Farrow continues his attempt to monetise the MeToo movement, using salacious allegations as promotional trinkets to sell his book. Matt never exposed himself to anyone. This ridiculous story has been shopped around for years. Many allegations that are being circulated were never raised during any fact-checking process. And despite repeated requests for an advance copy of this book, we have not been provided one, while many media outlets have. Matt will have more to say at an appropriate time, but he will not take part in the marketing circus for this book.”
Dana Klinghoffer, vice president of communications for NBC News, directed Insider to a part of a note NBC News President Noah Oppenheim sent staffers on Monday, addressing the latest allegation.
“Farrow says she disclosed her allegation to Ann Curry in 2010, and asked her not to share it. Curry says she then told two executives – both of whom are no longer with the company – that Lauer ‘had a problem with women.’ By her own account, Curry relayed no specific complaint, nor did she say Lauer’s ‘problem’ regarded any specific workplace misconduct. NBCU was able to speak with one of those former executives during the 2018 review and she denied having been told even this. At the time of the employee’s exit, three years later, she still had made no complaint about Lauer, was paid 22 weeks of severance based on her years of service, and was asked to sign a separation agreement that was standard for departing employees at the time. The standard separation agreement included a routine confidentiality clause that was designed to protect proprietary company information. It was not drafted to prevent an employee from reporting misconduct, and it has never been used that way. (This employee made a complaint to management about Lauer, for the first time, after his 2017 firing.)”
- Read more:
- MSNBC’s Chris Hayes sent a powerful message to NBC executives over allegations they quashed Ronan Farrow’s reporting into Harvey Weinstein
- The woman accusing Matt Lauer of rape said she was terrified of his control over her career. An abuse expert says it happens all the time.
- Brooke Nevils slams Matt Lauer’s open letter denying her rape allegations as ‘a case study in victim blaming’
- Matt Lauer responds to rape allegations in an open letter: ‘My silence has been a mistake’
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.