ShareThis Page
Movies/TV

NBC says no culture of harassment in its news division

| Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 11:36 a.m.
In this April 21, 2016, file photo, Matt Lauer, co-host of the NBC 'Today' television program, appears on set in Rockefeller Plaza, in New York.  NBC has concluded in an internal investigation ordered after Lauer's firing that it does not believe there is a culture of sexual harassment in its news division. The network says that more needs to be done to ensure employees know how to report complaints about misconduct and not fear retaliation. To that end, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said Wednesday, May 9, 2018,  that he's creating a way for employees to make such complaints to a figure outside the company. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
In this April 21, 2016, file photo, Matt Lauer, co-host of the NBC 'Today' television program, appears on set in Rockefeller Plaza, in New York. NBC has concluded in an internal investigation ordered after Lauer's firing that it does not believe there is a culture of sexual harassment in its news division. The network says that more needs to be done to ensure employees know how to report complaints about misconduct and not fear retaliation. To that end, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said Wednesday, May 9, 2018, that he's creating a way for employees to make such complaints to a figure outside the company. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK — NBC News' internal investigation following Matt Lauer's firing says it doesn't believe there is a culture of sexual harassment at the division and that current management wasn't aware of Lauer's behavior until the complaint that doomed him.

But the network says more needs to be done to ensure its more than 2,000 employees can complain about bad behavior and not fear retaliation. To that end, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack says employees will be able to discuss this with people outside the company.

“We cannot change the past,” Lack said. “What we can do is learn from it, and try to make it right.”

NBC Universal was criticized for turning to its general counsel, Kim Harris, to conduct the investigation and not allow outsiders to examine the culture. Harris' report was primarily concerned with Lauer, and no specific complaints about others were discussed. There was no mention of a former NBC News employee's accusation last month that former “Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw made unwanted advances on her, which he has denied.

NBC said the work of its all-female investigative team was reviewed and approved by two outside firms.

Lauer, the former “Today” show host, was fired in November after it was found he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with another NBC employee. Three additional women subsequently made complaints about Lauer.

Investigators found no evidence that anyone “in position of authority” at NBC News knew that Lauer had sexual relationships with others in the company until the Nov. 27 complaint by a woman about an affair that began at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Two of the four women who complained about Lauer said they believed someone in management knew.

The report said that Lauer, who is married, was flirtatious and engaged in sexual banter in the office. Several women said that he had complimented them on their appearance in a sexually suggestive way.

Investigators threw cold water on a published report that a button allowed Lauer to lock his office door without getting up from his desk. The button closed the door, but didn't lock it, the report said.

Some of the 68 people interviewed said they were aware of other rumored extramarital affairs in the news division. Most were already known and dealt with; some are being looked into, the report said.

“The investigation team does not believe that there is a widespread or systemic pattern of behavior that violates company policy or a culture of harassment in the News Division,” Harris' report said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me