Mr. Oppenheim added that NBC executives began their questioning of Mr. Lauer after learning that reporters from The New York Times and Variety were looking into Mr. Lauer’s workplace conduct.
In a memo sent to NBC staff members on Friday afternoon, Mr. Lack addressed “the circumstances around Matt Lauer’s appalling behavior, why this was able to happen, and why it wasn’t reported sooner.”
Mr. Lack said that a “team of the most experienced NBCUniversal Legal and Human Resources leaders have begun a thorough and timely review of what happened” regarding Mr. Lauer. (When Fox News faced public allegations of sexual misconduct against its chairman, Roger Ailes, and one of its prime time stars, Bill O’Reilly, it hired the outside law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct a review.)
Mr. Lack further pledged in the memo that the network would have “greater transparency” in the future. He also directed NBC News employees to take any complaints to their managers, newsroom leaders, human resources officers or two available hotlines, the NBCUniversal Integrity Helpline and the Comcast Listens Helpline.
On Wednesday, in the memo announcing Mr. Lauer’s firing, Mr. Lack said that the detailed allegation made against Mr. Lauer on Monday was “the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News.”
Later on Wednesday, NBC released a statement that seemed to emphasize the executives’ ignorance of any accusations against Mr. Lauer: “We can say unequivocally that prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct.”
Mr. Oppenheim’s visit to “NBC Nightly News” and Mr. Lack’s memo to the staff on Friday came after several news outlets, including The New York Post, reported that Mr. Lauer’s transgressions were well known at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
“Good Morning America,” the ABC program that is the main rival to “Today,” reported on Thursday that Mr. Lauer’s behavior was an “open secret” and that NBC’s official denial was at odds with ABC’s reporting on the matter.
Fox News, despite having parted with Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly after allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior against both men, has also been banging the drum against NBC executives and their handling of Mr. Lauer.
No news outlet, however, has specifically described how NBC’s executives…