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NBCUniversal will conduct internal review on complaints made against Matt Lauer

Fired NBC news anchor Matt Lauer on the "Today" show in Rockefeller Plaza in New York on April 21, 2016.
Fired NBC news anchor Matt Lauer on the “Today” show in Rockefeller Plaza in New York on April 21, 2016.
(Foley/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

NBCUniversal is launching an internal review of how the company handled the sexual misconduct complaints against fired “Today” anchor Matt Lauer.

NBC News Chairman Andy Lack told staffers Friday in a memo shared with reporters that “a team of the most experienced NBCUniversal Legal and Human Resources leaders have begun a thorough and timely review of what happened and what we can do to build a culture of greater transparency, openness and respect for each other. At the conclusion of the review we will share what we’ve learned, no matter how painful, and act on it.”

Lauer’s 20-plus-year run at the anchor desk of NBC’s iconic morning show ended Tuesday after executives heard a formal complaint from a female network employee who said Lauer engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior throughout 2014, including while “Today” was broadcasting from Sochi, Russia, to cover the Winter Olympics. Other women have come forward since then to report incidents with Lauer, including one who accused him of a sexual assault she said occurred in 2001.

Since Lauer’s firing, Lack and his executive team have found themselves fielding queries about what they knew about their star’s behavior and when they knew it.

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NBC is not paying Lauer the remainder of his annual $20-million contract, which reportedly ran through the first half of 2019, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment publicly.

The news division said that before Monday, no complaints had been made against Lauer with the current management team in place, but questions are lingering over how aware they were of any issues female employees had with the anchor’s treatment of them over the years. Lack is a personal friend and professional mentor of Lauer, going back to the mid-1990s.

Lauer apologized, saying not every incident recounted in media reports about his behavior, which cited anonymous sources, were accurate. “But there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” he said in a statement issued Thursday.

Lack also said in the memo that his division will start implementing “in-person training on sexual harassment awareness and appropriate behavior in the workplace.” NBC News currently requires employees to take such training online.

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stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio


UPDATES:

3:15 p.m.: This article has been updated with reporting on Lauer’s pay.

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This article was originally published at 1:55 p.m.


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