HLN Panel Calls for NBC to Be Investigated for Possibly Enabling Lauer

During Wednesday’s S.E. Cupp Unfiltered, Cupp and her panel were visibly disgusted as they started the show by talking about the sexual misconduct allegations against former NBC's Today co-host Matt Lauer. After Cupp reviewed the disturbing allegations detailed in the Variety exclusive, the panel vigorously ripped into NBC for claiming they didn’t know about Lauer’s victims until Monday. Collectively, they determined that the network knew more than they were letting on and should be investigated for it.

He once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. It included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified,” reported Cupp. “There's more. But that's certainly a different image of everyone's favorite morning guy.

TV’s Andy Levy was quick to rejoice Lauer’s firing, saying: “And good riddance. I don't know what more to say about that.” He then explained that with all of the new information coming out, even as they were coming on the air, there had to be executives that knew what was going on and called for an outside investigator:

There needs to be an investigation of NBC, at this point, much in the way that Fox News brought in Paul Weiss, the law firm, to conduct an investigation. There's stuff in here that at least raises the possibility that people in management knew what was going on or at the very least should have suspected it. And in fact, I believe in the Variety-- there were reports that more than one woman said they went to network execs about Lauer's behavior, and that those complaints fell on deaf ears.

 

 

So, I mean, between that and the button under his desk [to lock his office door], I mean, somebody signed off on that, let's see a work order on that. Comcast, which owns NBC, Comcast is a publicly owned company. I think their shareholders have a right to know exactly what was going on here,” Levy added. And since the publishing of the Variety article, it had come to light that those type of buttons were not uncommon at NBC, which then raised questions about just who else could be using it as Lauer did.

Conservative radio host Ben Ferguson called into question NBC’s defensive statement following the public revelations. “And I think NBC clearly, from their statement, was trying to cover themselves by saying: ‘Well, this is the first official complaint,’” he noted. But at the same time saying: ‘Well, we expect there to be more,’ when they obviously knew that Variety and others were digging.

He too called for an investigation of NBC:

Because if you look at the Variety article, let's be clear. This is not -- you have a woman who said she was summoned to his office, he dropped his pants, asked her to do something with him, she was visibly shaken, and then he berated her. If others went to NBC and they said: “Well, this is Matt Lauer, he's too big for us to bring down, there's nothing that we can do for you.”

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The panel also compared Lauer to other infamous sexual harassers. “Yeah, he's created an image for himself which is the opposite of what all this stuff portrays. It reminds me of Bill Cosby, kind of, like America's father and you find out who he really is,” noted libertarian podcaster, David Smith.

Cupp then recalled how “eerily similar” Lauer and NBC sounded to Harvey Weinstein and his company:

It sounds just like the Harvey Weinstein situation, where women went to HR, which essentially is just sort of like a company mafia, that protects the family. You know, isn't at all interested in protecting victims, and they just circle the wagons and say, this is Harvey's company. If you don't like it, you can leave.

But they may not be far from the truth. When Harvey Weinstein was first exposed as a sexual predator on October 5, NBC had a complete blackout of the news that night. There was no mention of it on NBC Nightly News or Access Hollywood. And then on October 11, The Huffington Post exposed how the story, which was researched by NBC contributor Ronan Farrow, was quashed by network executives before making its way to The New Yorker.

Transcript below:

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HLN
S.E. Cupp Unfiltered
November 29, 2017
7:03:18 PM Eastern

(…)

S.E. CUPP: He once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. It included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified. There's more. But that's certainly a different image of everyone's favorite morning guy. This is -- this is a big deal. I mean, they're all big deals, but this is a big one.

ANDY LEVY: Yeah, this is huge. And good riddance. I don't know what more to say about that. But, look, I think there's enough in the Variety story and The New York Times just came out with a story right before we went to air. There needs to be an investigation of NBC, at this point, much in the way that Fox News brought in Paul Weiss, the law firm, to conduct an investigation. There's stuff in here that at least raises the possibility that people in management knew what was going on or at the very least should have suspected it. And in fact, I believe in the Variety, there were reports that more than one woman say they went to network execs about Lauer's behavior, and that those complaints fell on deaf ears.

CUPP: Says several women told Variety and complained to executives about the behavior over time.

LEVY: So, I mean, between that and the button under his desk, I mean, somebody signed off on that, let's see a work order on that. Comcast, which owns NBC, Comcast is a publicly owned company. I think their shareholders have a right to know exactly what was going on here.

CUPP: Yes, and most legal experts say that if it turns out there were complaints made and not followed up upon, this is a legal issue for NBC.

BEN FERGUSON: And I think NBC clearly, from their statement, was trying to cover themselves by saying: “Well, this is the first official complaint.” But at the same time saying: “Well, we expect there to be more,” when they obviously knew that Variety and others were digging. They obviously knew that a lot of bad information was about to come out. I also think that NBC News, as you said, should be investigating and have an outside firm doing it. Because if you look at the Variety article, let's be clear. This is not -- you have a woman who said she was summoned to his office, he dropped his pants, asked her to do something with him, she was visibly shaken, and then he berated her. If others went to NBC and they said: “Well, this is Matt Lauer, he's too big for us to bring down, there's nothing that we can do for you.”

CUPP: This is a guy who had a storied 20-year career and allegedly, the story that brought all of this to light, I guess, just -- was just revealed a couple of days ago, was a detailed complaint from another current NBC employee about inappropriate sexual conduct from Lauer, that started on a trip at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. I mean, Matt Lauer is also the face of the Olympics. And the face of -- you know, NBC tree lighting and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I mean, this is a guy a lot of people trusted in their living rooms.

DAVID SMITH: Yeah, he's created an image for himself which is the opposite of what all this stuff portrays. It reminds me of Bill Cosby, kind of, like America's father and you find out who he really is. But it was obvious to me right away that these guys at NBC knew a lot more than they were letting on, because if it were one accusation, I don't think he would have been fired that quickly. There would have been a suspension or something. To get rid of your top guy like that, it's pretty obvious that a lot of people knew what was going on.

(…)

CUPP: It sounds just like the Harvey Weinstein situation, where women went to HR, which essentially is just sort of like a company mafia, that protects the family. You know, isn't at all interested in protecting victims, and they just circle the wagons and say, this is Harvey's company. If you don't like it, you can leave. I mean, it sounds like -- I don't know what those meetings were like, but it sounds eerily similar to stories of Weinstein and stories at Fox, before Ailes left, that these big companies protect their people more than their victims. Why even have an HR department?

LEVY: Well, they protect them right up to the moment when they can't.

(…)


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