NBC News is facing some tough questions after a long-waited report released Wednesday broadly cleared company executives and human resources of responsibility over the sexual misconduct accusations aimed at former “Today” show star, Matt Lauer.
The report, which came after an internal investigation from the company, said that neither management nor H.R. had any knowledge of Lauer’s transgressions before Nov. 27, 2017.
NBC’s decision to employ their own general counsel, Kim Harris, to spearhead the investigation raised questions from many about whether the results were suspect. (Harris reports to NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke.)
The decision to employ Harris contrasts sharply with Fox News — who investigated former network president Roger Ailes — with the outside law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
In a statement, NBC Universal defended the Harris investigation.
“Two outside law firms, Proskauer Rose and Davis Polk have reviewed the methodology, findings and conclusions and given their stamp of approval,” a spokesperson told TheWrap.
Already on Wednesday, at least one prominent journalist, Yashar Ali, publicly called into question Harris’ broad exoneration.
“I’m just going through the report now but I can tell you I have two sources who were in management that knew of Lauer’s sexual predation,” he said on Twitter. “That’s not to say they were interviewed by NBC’s team or that they were forthcoming when interviewed but just want to note that some people knew.”
Free Beacon reporter Alex Griswold tweeted: “Matt Lauer was one of the few ‘open secrets’ where I, some nobody a city away, had heard whispers of it. The notion that NBC management hadn’t is ludicrous.”
I'm just going through the report now but I can tell you I have 2 sources who were in management that knew of Lauer's sexual predation. That's not to say they were interviewed by NBC's team or that they were forthcoming when interviewed but just want to note that some people knew https://t.co/rJ6Gdqasb3
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) May 9, 2018
NBC clears NBC of wrongdoing https://t.co/rjrJi0oWVf
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) May 9, 2018
Their skepticism was echoed by many.
NBC investigation by NBC general counsel finds no one in NBC management knew of misbehavior by Matt Lauer at NBC.
— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) May 9, 2018
NBC issues report on Matt Lauer pic.twitter.com/Md1XPz2wHQ
— Lisa Tozzi (@lisatozzi) May 9, 2018
The details in this thread from the report are outrageous. I can't imagine any woman wanting to come forward after this. https://t.co/BWw4JpghpP
— Marisa Kabas (@MarisaKabas) May 9, 2018