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Meredith Vieira's Husband My Wife Was Not Offended by 2006 Video

11/30/2017 11:44 AM PST

Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer loved sharing a good joke and she had no problem when Matt leered at her and asked her to bend more so he could see her cleavage ... so says Meredith's husband.

Richard Cohen -- a noted journalist and author -- tells TMZ he's aware of the 2006 video TMZ posted Wednesday and said it was not inappropriate. Cohen says they had that kind of relationship where such comments were not off limits.

Richard says during Meredith's 10-year run at "Today" she was never aware of any sexual misconduct allegations lodged against Matt. He was emphatic ... Matt never did anything untoward with his wife. Richard goes on to say he and Meredith occasionally had dinner with Matt and he was nothing but a great guy.

As we reported ... Matt and Meredith had another now-cringeworthy moment last year when she confronted Matt about a "huge bag of sex toys" in his office. As you know, he allegedly gave a sex toy to a female staffer as a gift.

Meredith Vieira Called Out Matt Lauer for 'Huge Bag of Sex Toys' in his Office

11/30/2017 10:39 AM PST

Meredith Vieira brought up a "bag of sex toys" she once found in Matt Lauer's office -- and you gotta see how Matt expertly tap danced out of the awkward convo.

The now-cringeworthy moment went down in 2016 when Matt and Savannah Guthrie were guests on Meredith's talk show. She put Matt on blast by bringing up the bag she says she found back when she was co-hosing the "Today" show with him.

Matt was quick on his feet, and blamed a sex therapist who had appeared on "Today" -- although Meredith and Savannah don't seem to be buying his memory of it.

The anecdote is interesting now after one of Lauer's accusers told Variety he once gifted a sex toy to a female employee.

Not mentioned during Matt's guest spot on Meredith's show ... the video TMZ posted of Matt creepily whispering to Meredith, "Keep bending over like that. It's a nice view."

Now, THAT would've been an interesting discussion.

Matt Lauer Embarrassed and Ashamed ... 'Repairing the Damage'

11/30/2017 5:00 AM PST
Breaking News

Matt Lauer has a new job -- cleaning up the mess he's created in his personal and professional life.

The fired "Today" show co-host says he's "embarrassed and ashamed" ... but also claimed that some of the allegations against him are "untrue or mischaracterized."

Lauer's ex co-workers, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, read his statement at the top of the "Today" show Thursday morning -- and in it, he said his new full-time job was doing some "soul searching" in order to repair the damage.

He did not specify which of the myriad of allegations of sexual misconduct were untrue, in his eyes.

Meanwhile, Lauer's former cohorts soldiered on without him Wednesday night -- Al Roker, Hoda and Savannah looked tense during a break from taping the annual Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting special. 

Matt Lauer Free Rein At 'Today' NBC Bosses Be Damned

11/30/2017 1:00 AM PST

Matt Lauer was able to get away with a lot at the "Today" show for decades ... because the show made its own rules, and routinely ignored its bosses at the network.

Sources connected to both "Today" and NBC tell TMZ, a number of NBC News presidents and other executives tried to set rules for the morning show, but they were routinely ignored.

We're told "Today" operated as a separate entity from NBC management. As one source put it, "They did what they wanted to do."

We're told there were times when an NBC News president would tell the bosses at "Today" they had to run certain stories and the president would be routinely ignored. We're told sometimes the folks at "Today" would ignore basic rules ... such as restrictions on footage it acquired ... despite NBC News guidelines.

One NBC News source said, "'Today' was astonishingly uncooperative with our other shows like 'Nightly [News]' and 'Dateline.'"  

As for why this happened ... there are several reasons.  Many people on the staff work in the middle of the night, so they rarely interacted with others at NBC. One source said, "It ['Today'] was like a beehive where they only talked to each other." The biggest reason for the culture at "Today" ... as one source put it, "They were in a knife fight every day with 'GMA' and didn't want to hear anyone trying to rein them in."

One reason the attitude at "Today" was tolerated ... the show makes a ton of money for the network.

Even though Matt would say things with a hot mic -- like telling Meredith Vieira to keep bending down because he likes the view -- such hijinks didn't necessarily make their way to the big bosses because what happened at "Today" usually stayed at "Today."

Finally, there's one irony that some NBC News employees are talking about ... Matt hated it when Ann Curry would touch him on the air and often voiced his clear displeasure. Arm touching is hardly an offense given what's come out over the last day.

Matt Lauer Exposed Himself, Gave Sex Toys as Gifts ... NBC Accusers Claim

11/29/2017 1:05 PM PST
Breaking News

Matt Lauer exposed himself to a female co-worker, and gave another one a sex toy as a present -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg -- according to dozens of current and former NBC staffers.

The former "Today" co-host also allegedly enjoyed playing the game "F**k, Marry, Kill" in regards to his female co-hosts at NBC. The bombshell allegations came out in a Variety investigation.

One woman says Lauer once delivered a sex toy to a female co-worker, and attached an explicit note ... detailing how he'd use it on her. Several accusers claim his office was ground zero for much of the sexual misconduct. For instance, he allegedly called a female employee into his office ... dropped trou, and flaunted his penis.

That particular allegation is interesting, considering a Dec. 2014 skit that aired on "Today" depicting Lauer removing his pants after a spill, showing off his boxers to female co-hosts and saying, "Drink it in, ladies."

According to the report ... Lauer's office also had a secret button under his desk, so he could lock the door without getting up.

One former producer claims several of Matt's office flings were consensual, but added they were still problematic because of the power he had as the face of the network. The producer added, "He knew people wouldn't ever complain."

NBC News President We Need to Do a Better Job ... With Sexual Harassment

11/29/2017 11:25 AM PST

NBC News honchos have addressed the troops about Matt Lauer's firing, and they said they have to do a better job letting alleged victims know they can safely report sexual harassment and assault.

NBC sources tell us in one of the meetings NBC News President Noah Oppenheim did not further explain why Matt Lauer was fired, nor did he say who would get his job at "Today."

We're told Oppenheim said Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb said it well when they expressed the difficulty of reconciling their affection for Matt with his apparent behavior.

Oppenheim said his heart goes out to the woman who came forward who triggered the firing, and added his heart also goes out to any other woman who might have been victimized.

The news boss said NBC has "zero tolerance" for sexual misconduct and the company has "multiple channels" to report such abuse. He then said NBC needs to do a better job letting employees know they are safe to report such misconduct, even anonymously. He said, "We implore you to come forward."

We're told a video editor at MSNBC said they were about to run an interview Matt did with George Clooney and asked if MSNBC should scrub Matt from the show. Oppenheim said he hadn't thought about it but "probably yes."

Hoda Kotb Thoughts on Matt Lauer? 'I Love Him'

11/29/2017 11:26 AM PST

Matt Lauer is gone from "Today," but at least one of his old co-workers still has love for him.

We got Hoda Kotb leaving NBC headquarters in NYC Wednesday after she went on the air to fill in for Matt, who was fired for alleged sexual misconduct.

Our photog asks if she's spoken to Matt since the bombshell news, and if she has any message for him. Forgiveness might be the word of the day.

Interestingly, Hoda appeared alongside another "Today" host, Kathie Lee Gifford, who spilled her guts about her love for Lauer, and the dismay she felt over his firing.

Looks like the feeling is mutual from Hoda.

Matt Lauer's Alma Mater Keeping 'Today' Show Internship He Helped Start

11/29/2017 11:46 AM PST

Matt Lauer was an integral part in developing an exclusive NBC journalism internship for Ohio University students, and despite the news of his firing over sexual misconduct, it's going to stay active ... TMZ has learned.

A spokesperson for Ohio U. tells us ... Lauer was instrumental in starting the "Today" Show Internship at Scripps College of Communications in 2000, and over 60 students have benefited from the program since it began.

The school says it's disappointed to hear of Lauer's alleged conduct at NBC, but also believes the news "serves as an opportunity for continued dialogue with our faculty, staff and students about ethical workplace and personal values."

We're told the "Today" internship will go on -- at least for its next session -- and 4 current students are already set to travel to NYC in January for the spring semester internship.

Lauer dropped out of Ohio U. in 1979, but went back to get his undergrad there in 1997 at the age of 39.

As we reported ... he was fired Wednesday morning for "inappropriate sexual behavior."

NBC Execs Meeting with Staff From News Shows ... To Discuss Lauer Firing

11/29/2017 9:39 AM PST

NBC is scrambling to meet with talent and production staff from its news shows to go over various issues related to Matt Lauer's firing.

We're told Noah Oppenheim, President of NBC News, will be leading the meetings. Our NBC sources say Oppenheim and other execs will be addressing staff from each of its shows, including "Today," "NBC Nightly News," "Meet the Press" and "Dateline." There will be a series of meetings ... one for each show.

Our sources say virtually everyone at NBC was in the dark that Lauer was on the chopping block.  

The lawyer for the woman whose complaint triggered Lauer's firing told The New York Times he and his client met with NBC Human Resources and the legal depts. Monday at 6 PM and lodged her complaint.  

As we reported, we're told NBC had been investigating Lauer for weeks and wanted to get ahead of The New York Times and Variety which were preparing stories on Lauer and alleged sexual misconduct.

Matt Lauer Already Scrubbed from 'Today' Social ... Mostly

11/29/2017 8:30 AM PST

Matt Lauer, formerly the face of NBC, is already a ghost as far as the network's online presence is concerned.

Lauer's been replaced on the "Today" cover photos for the show's social media -- specifically Facebook and Twitter. They used to feature Matt and Savannah Guthrie, but now it's more group shots of all NBC's morning personalities.

Matt is still featured in old "Today" Facebook and Twitter photos and clips -- so, they're not trying to rewrite history. Not yet, anyway.

As we reported ... Lauer was abruptly fired Wednesday after a complaint about inappropriate sexual behavior was filed against him.

Katie Couric in 2012 Matt Lauer Pinched Me on the Ass a Lot

11/29/2017 6:33 AM PST

Katie Couric straight-up said Matt Lauer pinched her on the ass a lot during their 9-year run on the "Today" show.

Katie appeared on Andy Cohen's "Watch What Happens Live" back in 2012, and during a segment -- Plead the Fifth -- Andy asked about Matt's most annoying habit.

What's interesting ... Katie's answer came and went ... it was hardly picked up by the media. It's interesting ... NBC said no one has complained until this week, yet their longtime co-anchor talked about ass-pinching in 2012 and NBC apparently didn't bat an eye.

As we reported ... Matt was fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior" in a stunning announcement Wednesday. We're told the investigation has been going on for weeks and the New York Times and other media outlets were working on a story about Lauer.

Matt Lauer Fired for Sexual Misconduct

11/29/2017 4:26 AM PST
Breaking News

9:10 AM PT -- According to the accusers attorney, Ari Wilkenfeld, he and his client met with NBC's HR and legal teams for several hours Monday night. Wilkenfeld says he believes at this time, NBC acted swiftly and appropriately given the allegations.

5:55 AM PT -- The New York Post is reporting the incident that triggered the firing occurred at the Sochi Winter Olympics, when Lauer allegedly assaulted a female NBC staffer.

5:46 AM PT -- Sources connected to NBC tell TMZ the network has been investigating Lauer for weeks and multiple media outlets -- including The New York Times -- were working a story about the anchor and sexual harassment. As one source put it, "Lack tried to get ahead of the story before it broke."

Matt Lauer is no longer the face of NBC's "Today" -- he's been fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior."

The stunning announcement was made on the air at the top of NBC's "Today" by Savannah Guthrie, who read a memo from NBC News Chairman Andy Lack -- "We received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment."

Savannah was joined by Hoda Kotb ... and both anchors shared their shock, saying they had found out just moments before going on the air. Savannah had a very shaky voice as she said "we are devastated and we are still processing all of this." She also said she was "heartbroken" for the "brave colleague" who made the complaint.

In the memo, Lack added this was the first complaint reported to NBC, but they "were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."

Lauer had been, in many ways, the face of the entire Peacock network for more than 20 years as he anchored "Today" ... which is NBC's biggest moneymaker.

Story developing ...

Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie Emotional Hug After Lauer Firing

11/29/2017 7:32 AM PST

Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie hugged it out after Wednesday's "Today" show ... clearly still reeling from the news that Matt Lauer was fired.

The 2 anchors were emotional when they announced on their show Lauer had been fired for sexual impropriety.  

The staff was clearly shaken by the news, and Hoda comforted a crew member after the program.

Matt was with "Today" for 20 years. The NBC Prez said they made a swift decision after a woman came forward Monday, but we're told the network has been investigating Matt for weeks and wanted to get a jump on several media outlets -- including The New York Times -- which were preparing stories on Matt and sexual misconduct. 

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