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After Matt Lauer was fired amidst sexual misconduct allegations last November, NBC News chairman Andy Lack announced that NBCUniversal’s legal team would be conducting an internal investigation within the organization.
The civil rights lawyer for one of Lauer's alleged victims, Ari Wilkenfeld, isn't satisfied with that solution, however. In a statement to Variety this weekend, Wilkenfeld said that NBC News needs to hire an outside team to conduct a proper investigation.
"The problem is not just the superstar harassers, it’s the top management," Wilkenfeld explained. "The man who runs NBC News today oversaw a news division in which widespread harassment of women was allowed to occur, has appointed himself responsible for investigating and solving the problem. One important reason companies hire outside investigators is to send a strong signal to their own employees that the company wants to get to the root of what happened and is prepared to accept responsibility. Sadly, it seems that NBC has chosen to go in a very different direction."
With the recent news that former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw has also been accused of sexual harassment, Wilkenfeld argues that NBC News may have an organization-wide problem on their hands. The Washington Post also recently reported a story about 12 women who came forward as victims of sexual harassment while working at the company.
"I think it is ironic and quite sad that currently, victims at NBC News are apparently even more intimidated about exposing wrongdoing than they were when Linda was being harassed," Wilkenfeld added. "I understand that the culture of fear is apparently worse than it was before Lauer’s termination."
Wilkenfeld isn't alone in his skepticism of NBC News' investigation. An anonymous employee of the company pointed out to Variety, "How are they supposed to be investigating themselves?"