NBC says no culture of sexual harassment after Matt Lauer investigation

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On Wednesday, over 5 months after Lauer was sacked, the community launched the findings of its inner investigation into the scandal.

The seven-page document, titled "NBC News Workplace Investigation", which covers the network's news division as well as MSNBC, was commissioned by Steve Burke, CEO of NBCU; on November 30 of a year ago, he instructed NBCU General Counsel Kim Harris to, as the document puts it, "assemble and supervise a team of experienced lawyers and HR professionals from outside the News Division" to dig into the Lauer scandal, to attempt to uncover other incidents of "inappropriate workplace behavior" and to determine if "employees in the News Division are comfortable reporting concerns about workplace behavior, and if not, why not".

NBCUniversal lawyers say they found "no evidence" managers in the company's news division received internal complaints about Matt Lauer's behavior.

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That is one reason the company has been taken to task for not hiring an outside investigation firm to handle the inquiry.

"The last few months have been extraordinarily hard, with our dedicated journalists doing some of our best work ever while we endured a painful period in the spotlight including a thorough and deserved examination", said NBC Universal Chairman Andy Lack in a memo that was attached to the Laurer investigation report. "But that history also includes a time when people were not comfortable coming forward to voice complaints about repugnant behavior". That is not acceptable. We can not change the past. "What we can do is learn from it, and try to make it right", Lack said.

NBC's ideological colleagues throughout the establishment media - CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, etc., will allow NBC to turn the page on this scandal, using the fig leaf of this whitewash. "That requires strong, specific steps in a sustained manner to transform the culture".

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NBCUniversal said it has found that managers at the "Today" show and NBC News were unaware of inappropriate behavior by longtime anchor Matt Lauer prior to November 2017, when he was sacked after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. "If this investigation also promotes a safer work environment, then that is an added benefit for all". "Lauer's departure took place amidst the larger "#MeToo" movement that seeks to hold accountable people who have subjected others to sexual harassment or worse. NBCUniversal said its CEO, Steve Burke, placed the company's probe of the Lauer matter under the aegis of Kim Harris, the company's general counsel.

Further, during the small group sessions, employees perceived a lack of connection with News HR, an absence of transparent communication from both News HR and their managers, a sense that News HR was too closely aligned with management, and a fear of subtle retaliation, as barriers to reporting concerns. The investigation also searched Lauer's email accounts as well as the accounts of NBC News and Today show leadership, and text messages on Lauer's work-issued phone.

NBC's decision to investigate itself also flies in the face of what Fox News did after allegations of harassment hit the network's highest-profile figures, including Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes. It recommended improved training, more communication from management, and improvements to employee complaint-reporting channels. "My hope is that NBC implements these recommendations and goes beyond them when necessary to change their workplace culture". Curry declined to comment on NBC's recent release.

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Longtime rumors about Lauer's behavior became public knowledge during the wave of Me Too accusations against powerful men late a year ago. Many staffers told THR that they were not satisfied with NBC conducting its own investigation. The button closed the door, but didn't lock it, the report said. The company did bring in an outside firm to lead the training.