Sources Say NBC Won't Pay Settlement to Matt Lauer

Network is refusing to budge
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2017 10:18 AM CST
Sources Say NBC Won't Pay Settlement to Matt Lauer
Co-anchors Hoda Kotb, left, and Savannah Guthrie sit on the set during a news segment of "Today" show Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, in New York.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Matt Lauer has been fired for what NBC says was "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace"—but unlike other news anchors fired for sexual misconduct, the former Today host won't have a fat paycheck coming his way. Sources tell Variety that NBC staffers were told at a Friday meeting that Lauer—believed to have been making between $20 million and $25 million a year—won't be paid for the rest of his contract, which ran through 2018 and possibly longer. One source says NBC News President Noah Oppenheim, when asked about a possible settlement, told staffers that Lauer was fired "for cause" and would not be paid beyond his last day at the network. In other developments:

  • Wife leaves home. Sources tell Page Six that Lauer's wife of 19 years, Annette Roque, has moved out of their Long Island home and returned to her homeland, the Netherlands. It's not clear whether the couple's three children, ages 16, 14, and 11, have gone with her.

  • "Appalling" behavior. In a company-wide email sent out Friday, NBC chairman Andy Lack said many employees had asked why Lauer's "appalling behavior" wasn't reported sooner. "This week we saw that when an employee comes forward to report misconduct, the system works," he wrote, per the Hollywood Reporter. "The complaint is quickly assessed and meaningful action is taken. But we also learned that we must do a much better job of making people feel empowered to take that crucial first step of reporting bad behavior."
  • Consequences for staying silent. According to Page Six's sources, Oppenheim told staffers in Friday's meeting that a review is being conducted to find out why it took so long to expose Lauer's behavior. "If there is anyone who works here, who still works here, who knew about this and didn’t report it, this is going to be dealt with in the most severe way possible," he reportedly said.
  • "Racking his brain." NBC reports that execs including Lack and Oppenheim confronted Lauer about alleged misconduct after learning that Variety and other outlets were working on stories about him. One exec says that when asked directly about sexual misconduct, Lauer said he was "racking his brain and couldn’t think of anything at all."
  • Standing firm. An NBC source says Lauer's lawyers are trying to negotiate a payment for the remaining time on his contract, but the network's lawyers are refusing to budge, the AP reports.
(Former colleagues say Lauer, who is accused of harassing or assaulting at least three women, was "fixated on women.")

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