It’s understandable that executives at the National Broadcasting Company want to cut down or eliminate accusations of sexual harassment after longtime Today anchor Matt Lauer was fired on Wednesday, November 28, but NBC’s new guidelines have employees responding that they may have gone too far in the opposite direction.
According to an article by Emily Smith of the Page Six website, staffers at the network must “report any inappropriate relationships in the workplace.” If not, “they could be fired for covering up for colleagues.”
Smith stated that the new guidelines are “strict” and “detailed,” and they even go so far as to provide information on “how to socialize and even how to hug colleagues.”
The source also indicated that:
Romantic relationships at work are not exactly unusual, but now NBC says it is taking a zero-tolerance approach.
Staffers have been told that if they find out about any affairs, romances, inappropriate relationships or behavior in the office, they have to report it to human resources, their superior or the company anti-harassment phone line.
In response, employees “are shocked that they are now expected to snitch on their friends,” the source told Smith.
“Plus, there’s been a series of ridiculous rules issued on other office conduct,”the source noted. “One rule relates to hugging.”
“If you wish to hug a colleague,” Smith’s source added, “you have to do a quick hug, then an immediate release, and step away to avoid body contact.”
“Also, there’s strict rules about socializing, including [not] sharing taxis home and [not] taking vegans to steakhouses,” according to the source.
Earlier in December, NBC News announced that it would require employees to take anti-harassment training provided by an outside firm and conduct a “cultural assessment of the news division” over the next few months.
In addition, Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News, sent the staff a memo that a review of the “inappropriate sexual conduct charges that led to Lauer’s firing resulted in interviews with at least 40 other employees.”
That action was apparently taken in response to criticism leveled by executives from across the country, including Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center (of which NewsBusters is a part), who stated that Lauer was “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” for decades at the network.
NewsBusters previously reported several examples of liberal bias by the Today co-host, including his praise of ABC late-night host and activist Jimmy Kimmel, who criticized the government for not spending enough on health care.
Less than a week later, Lauer asked Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake about his harsh criticism of GOP presidential candidate Trump and wondered if, for the sake of “protecting democracy,” it would have been better for Hillary Clinton to have won the 2016 election.
Of course, after Lauer was fired for inappropriate sexual conduct, the attention focused on his previous behavior, including when the co-host hypocritically grilled former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly for being fired due to similar complaints.
Lauer next slammed Trump by describing the video of him that aired on the Access Hollywood program as “low” and “might be the final straw.”
It didn’t take long for Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, to express his sadness over the firing of Lauer, whom he referred to as a “loved” “mentor” and “friend.”
Also on November 29, MRC Research Director Rich Noyes told Liz MacDonald of the Fox Business Network that ”it’s difficult to believe NBC News President Andy Lack didn’t know of Lauer’s misdeeds “unless he's living in a cave,” a sentiment shared the following day by NewsBusters Executive Editor Tim Graham.
Soon after, the New York Times chose to focus on the shocking results of campaign 2016 and the loss of their favored candidate, Hillary Clinton, whom they accused Lauer of treating in an unfair, biased and sexist fashion during a September 2016 presidential forum.
In fact, Lauer noted that when executives asked him directly if there ever was any sexual misconduct, he said he was “racking his brain and couldn’t think of anything at all.”
During mid-December, the attorney for Matt Lauer’s sexual harassment accuser revealed that the anonymous network staffer was “terrified” that NBC would allow information about her identity to leak out, even as there was “a hunt underway to figure out who she is.”
A few days later, Bozell released another statement calling for NBC to launch an independent review "into the company’s culture of sexual misconduct."
As of Thursday, December 28, NBC News had yet to respond to the original article. If or when that happens, you can count of NewsBusters to let you know what was said.