Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Matt Lauer's lawyers try, fail to get him a $30 million golden parachute

Photo: NBC/Getty Images

This week’s reveal of the predatory private face of a public figure (or, at least, the most high-profile of same) involves Today host Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC on Wednesday morning after the network received a sexual misconduct complaint against him. Later that afternoon, Variety published the results of a months-long investigation into Lauer that revealed a disturbing pattern of (alleged) sexual harassment and coercion on Lauer’s part, and a culture at NBC that allowed him to (allegedly) prey on subordinates with impunity.

Anyway, now that same disgraced former anchor is seeking a payout from his old cronies to the tune of $30 million. That comes from Page Six, which reports that Lauer’s legal team is trying to get NBC to pay him for the remainder of his $20-million-a-year contract, which is good for another year and a half or so. Lauer’s lawyers are currently reviewing his contract to see if it contains any moral clauses that allow NBC to terminate him without a payout if he “brings the company into disrepute,” which he undeniably has over the past week.


Apparently, moral clauses are quite common in TV contracts, so the chances of Lauer actually getting that $30 million are not great. (He’ll have to make do with the more than $100 million he already has, the poor thing.) But this is also the company that allowed Lauer to set up a button on his desk that locked the door to his office like some sort of creepy supervillain, so we’re going to err on the side of cynicism here until it’s confirmed otherwise.

UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.: For once, The A.V. Club’s cynicism has proven itself unwarranted, as soon after we published this initial Newswire Variety ran a story saying that Lauer would not be getting any sort of payout from NBC. NBC executives declined to comment for Variety’s story, but Lauer’s settlement—or the lack thereof—was apparently discussed in an NBC Nightly News staff meeting earlier today, where NBC News president Noah Oppenheim told employees that Lauer was fired “for cause” and wouldn’t be getting shit in severance pay from the network. That last part is paraphrased, of course, but you get the point.

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