Year After Lauer Firing, Vester Demands Investigation of ‘Alleged Predators at NBC News’

Appearing on Fox News Wednesday night to mark one year since Today show anchor Matt Lauer was fired from NBC News, former NBC correspondent Linda Vester demanded that parent company Comcast’s board of directors launch a complete investigation into the scandal, not just involving Lauer, but “all of the alleged predators at NBC News.”

“I’m grateful that you’re bringing this to the public attention is that there was supposed to be an investigation, a public investigation, from which we could learn what happened. And I sort of wonder, where is it?,” asked anchor Tucker Carlson. Vester replied: “Well, they published results of the so-called investigation, but the truth wasn’t in there. Because at least six women, at least six women who were victimized by Matt Lauer, this according to them telling me personally, or people close to them confirming to me, were never interviewed.”

 

 

The laughable internal investigation conducted by the network unsurprisingly exonerated NBC of having a culture of sexual harassment.  

Vester, who accused former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw of sexually harassing her in the ’90s, revealed that the women she spoke with “had damaging details about Lauer and about others in management who allegedly protected him” and “not only implicated Matt, but implicated other men in positions of power at NBC News.” She noted “that never got investigated.”

The former NBC and Fox News journalist went so far as to suggest that the cover-up may stem from allegations of misconduct against NBC News president Andy Lack:

There has to be a question about why that didn’t get out? Why did, Andy Lack, the chairman at NBC News, not let this get out? Is it because he, himself has a history of reported sexual misconduct in the workplace in the past? And so, he, himself, is guilty?

Moments later, Carlson followed up on the startling revelation:

CARLSON: You mentioned Andy Lack, who runs it, and suggested that he, himself, ought to be investigated.

VESTER: Yes.

CARLSON: Has he been?

VESTER: No.

CARLSON: Do you think there’s evidence that he ought to be subject of an investigation?

VESTER: I know of two particular victims of his. Both have been interviewed by reporters. And I know of a member of CBS News management who was involved in both of those cases who confirmed that to me. So, yes, that exists. And it’s also been in print. I mean, this is out in the news and it’s – and what is shocking to me is it’s easy findable. You can Google this.

Carlson asked: “Can you – very quickly – can you give us a sense of the time frame of those allegations against Andy Lack?” Vester explained: “They were in the ’80s, I am told, by people who were knowledgeable about this, when he was an executive producer at West 57th, at CBS.”

One year following Lauer’s departure from the network, Vester raises the question: has anything really changed at the network that allowed such a culture of harassment to flourish in the first place?

Here is a full transcript of the November 28 Fox News segment:

8:38 PM ET

TUCKER CARLSON: Well, tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of NBC News firing Matt Lauer that of course followed allegations of sexual harassment by the Today show host.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE [NOVEMBER 29, 2017]: For the moment, all we can say is that we are heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Matt, he is my dear, dear friend and my partner and he is beloved by many, many people here. And I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.

CARLSON: It was a huge story, as you remember. NBC said it would fix itself after the scandal, get to the bottom of what happened and prevent it from happening again. Did they do that? Linda Vester has been following this very carefully ever since. She’s a philanthropist, a filmmaker, and a former network news anchor, including here. Her group has a full page ad running in The New York Times tomorrow morning. Also a piece on the FoxNews.com opinion section, published just minutes ago, which is worth reading. Linda Vester joins us now. Linda, thanks very much for coming on.

VESTER: Thank you very much for having me.

CARLSON: So one of the reasons I’m grateful that you’re bringing this to the public attention is that there was supposed to be an investigation, a public investigation, from which we could learn what happened. And I sort of wonder, where is it?

VESTER: Well, they published results of the so-called investigation, but the truth wasn’t in there. Because at least six women, at least six women who were victimized by Matt Lauer, this according to them telling me personally, or people close to them confirming to me, were never interviewed. And they had damaging details about Lauer and about others in management who allegedly protected him. Nothing happened, they weren’t spoken to properly.

That also means – also, there are four members who are on-air talent who worked closely with Matt who were never interviewed. They, too, had important information, and I believe the network knew it, that not only implicated Matt, but implicated other men in positions of power at NBC News. And that never got investigated.

There has to be a question about why that didn’t get out? Why did, Andy Lack, the chairman at NBC News, not let this get out? Is it because he, himself has a history of reported sexual misconduct in the workplace in the past? And so, he, himself, is guilty? Or is it because he just wanted to protest other high-profile men at the company? He cares more about the bottom line and doesn't really care about the women whose lives and careers and reputations are being destroyed. He just cares about the money and the men he wants to protect.

CARLSON: But this is part of – NBC is part of a large publicly-traded company, Comcast.

VESTER: That’s right.

CARLSON: And you would think they would have an interest in getting to the bottom of this. Why haven’t they?

VESTER: It is long overdue that the Comcast board of directors get involved. You’re right, they are directors of a publicly-traded company. They’re answerable to shareholders, they’re answerable to the public. This is a broadcaster that is regulated by the FCC. So these board of directors, they cannot get away with burying their heads in the sand.

These are real women whose lives and careers and reputations are being destroyed. They can’t ignore them. Comcast just put out a Twitter handle yesterday that said, “Comcast cares.” Well, does it really? The directors need to make it their business to get involved, to investigate and investigate all of the alleged predators at NBC News – not just Matt Lauer, not just Tom Brokaw, who assaulted and harassed me, but the many, many others. And they need to get to bottom of it, they need to publish the findings, and they need to clean out what’s wrong at NBC News and really be a beacon as a journalistic organization should be.

CARLSON: You mentioned Andy Lack, who runs it, and suggested that he, himself, ought to be investigated.

VESTER: Yes.

CARLSON: Has he been?

VESTER: No.

CARLSON: Do you think there’s evidence that he ought to be subject of an investigation?

VESTER: I know of two particular victims of his. Both have been interviewed by reporters. And I know of a member of CBS News management who was involved in both of those cases who confirmed that to me. So, yes, that exists. And it’s also been in print. I mean, this is out in the news and it’s – and what is shocking to me is it’s easy findable. You can Google this.

And does NBCUniversal and Comcast just not care? Does Steve Burke, Andy Lack’s boss, did he know about this and just not care that he had alleged, I would say predator, running the news division? Does Brian Roberts not care? It was founded – Comcast was founded as a family company. Tell me how that is a family company when women are abused and being silenced? And these non-disclosure agreements and forced arbitration are literally choking their very voices off and preventing them from speaking. How fair, moral and ethical is that? This is a news organization. They should do much better.

CARLSON: Well, the fact that Andy Lack has been accused of that, who’s running it, is shocking. Can you – very quickly – can you give us a sense of the time frame of those allegations against Andy Lack?

VESTER: They were in the ’80s, I am told, by people who were knowledgeable about this, when he was an executive producer at West 57th, at CBS.

CARLSON: Amazing story. NBC ought to be leading the charge to get to the truth, but they’re not.

VESTER: They should.

CARLSON: Instead, you are. Linda Vester, thank you very much for that.

VESTER: Thank you.

NB Daily NBC Today Fox News Channel Video Tucker Carlson Linda Vester Matt Lauer Tom Brokaw

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