A former production assistant for Today Show is coming forward for the first time with a claim that she engaged in a consensual workplace relationship with Matt Lauer.
In a first-person account published by Variety, Addie Zinone claims Lauer sent a series of flirtatious messages (printouts were published as part of the story) in 2000 — back when current CNN president Jeff Zucker served as executive producer.
“[H]ey,” Lauer wrote in one of the messages, according to Zinone. “i hope you won’t drag me to personnel for saying this. but you look fantastic. i don’t know what you have done, or what is going on in your life…but it’s agreeing with you.”
Zinone, then 24, subsequently had lunch with Lauer, who was 42 at the time. Zinone says she was seeking professional advice from Lauer in advance of a job move she was about to make. What she says happened instead was Lauer coming on to her for the entire meal.
After they went back to 30 Rock, Zinone claims Lauer messaged her promptly, summoning her to meet in a dressing room. She says the two had a consensual encounter there.
“Even though my situation with Matt was consensual, I ultimately felt like a victim because of the power dynamic,” Zinone wrote. “He knew that I was leaving, and that there was no better prey than somebody who is going to be gone. He went after the most vulnerable and the least powerful — and those were the production assistants and the interns.”
[image via screengrab]
Follow Joe DePaolo (@joe_depaolo) on Twitter
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org