It seems that NBC and Ann Curry disagree about what constitutes participation in a formal investigation. On Wednesday, NBC concluded an internal query about its handling of sexual misconduct allegations against Matt Lauer, ruling that its management had no prior knowledge of any wrongdoing. The Peacock also told The New York Times that its investigators had “a discussion” with Curry, Lauers former co-anchor, as part of that investigation—but the former Today co-anchor disagrees with that assessment.
Last month, Curry—who hosted Today with Lauer from 2011 to 2012, and whose contentious relationship with Lauer is widely believed to have been a factor in her dismissal from the show—toldThe Washington Post that a female NBC staffer told Curry at one point that she had been “sexually harassed physically” by Lauer. Curry also said that she subsequently told NBC management to keep an eye on Lauer. The staffer confirmed the story to the Post—but an NBC representative told the Post that the network had no record or note of the warning.
Years later, according to the Times, Curry “received an unexpected phone call from an NBCUniversal lawyer, shortly before the Posts article was published. The call, which did not last long, was focused solely on what Ms. Curry had told the Post, the person [a source briefed on the conversation] said. There was no follow-up conversation with Ms. Curry, who said she stood by what she told the Post.”
NBC spokeswoman Hilary Smith confirmed to the Times that an NBCUniversal lawyer had indeed reached out to Curry following her comments to the Post, which were published in late April. “Ann declined to name the alleged complainant, nor would she identify the person in management to whom she says she raised a concern at the time about Lauer,” Smith told the Times. “This is accurately noted in our report”—which apparently considers Currys brief conversation with NBCs legal team to be a part of its investigation. Curry, though, disputes that characterization: “I have not participated in any formal investigation by NBC on sexual harassment,” she told the Times. (NBC and Curry have not yet responded to a request for comment.)
Meanwhile, Lauer has begun to publicly deny some of the allegations against him, saying that although he might have behaved inappropriately, he never coerced anyone. “I remained silent in an attempt to protect my family from further embarrassment and to restore a small degree of the privacy they have lost,” Lauer wrote in a statement to The Washington Post. “But defending my family now requires me to speak up.”
Ever since NBC announced its investigation, critics have wondered why the network chose to conduct its own review, rather than hiring an outside firm for the job—as networks, including Fox News, have done in similar situations in the past. Two outside firms, Proskauer Rose and Davis Polk & Wardwell, did review NBCs methodology, but as The Hollywood Reporterwrote this week, some within NBCs ranks believe the network should have tapped someone else to conduct the review—if for no other reason than to boost public trust in the results.
As one former staffer told T.H.R., “I thought to myself, this is really compelling and credible; imagine if it was from a third party. As long as [NBC] employees see it as credible, thats all that matters. The rest is just noise.”
Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.