Matt Lauer, the iconic and seemingly lovable host of the incredibly lucrative and successful TV show, The Today Show, has fallen from his perch of absolute power. Unfortunately, Matt probably
wasn’t a fan of the prose of John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton. If he had read the insightful ditty, which I loosely paraphrase here,”Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” he might have been forewarned that today was on the horizon for him.
But Matt and a host of other men in all areas of business, government, entertainment, religion and education (to name a few), never realized that the dam would break. One woman would courageously step forward from the shadows into the spotlight to call his name as other women had come forward to call the names of Trump, Weinstein, Ailes, O’Reilly and Roy Moore. Previously untouchable in their safe positions of power, they were now revealed for the venile persons they were in actuality.
The two-faces of these men and others and the fear of the powerless kept them on their steamrolling sexual freight-train ride barrelling along until it hit the wall; the day of reckoning had come. Tawdry details of their corruption began to bubble up from the cesspools they had created in their “other” lives. No longer the guy America looked up to or the clever entertainer or newsperson, Matt joins a parade of sexual abusers that is ever-lengthening.
I suppose we should have expected that this day might come, but we didn’t think Matt would be embroiled in this type of nefarious activity. Yes, we should have known years ago when the stories of the victims of the priests under the protection of Roman Catholic Cardinals finally came out thanks to a brave team of reporters in Boston. Their story would win an Academy Award for the film which detailed it so brilliantly, Spotlight. The cycle of sexual abuse of children would be broken even if at least one or two Cardinals was spirited off to another protective environment where they could not be prosecuted for aiding and abetting in these crimes.
Tonight, Matt has to think about his children, his career and what may lie ahead. For a man, who over 25 years ago couldn’t get a job and thought of painting houses for a living, this fall must be extremely painful. The days ahead will be no less painful as more women may come forward and with them may come a host of lawsuits against him and anyone who aided and abetted him in his abuse of women.
I suppose Matt did think he was invincible just as Trump thinks he’s smart, but neither is true and now we can see them for who they truly are. Yes, Matt hasn’t been found guilty in a court of law, but his extremely lucrative contract was terminated for violations of its terms and when you’re making over $20 million a year, that’s painful. Lifestyle changes surely must be in order.
Imagine what it was like coming to work in that office where the wonder boy who made all the money also thought he was entitled to sex when he wanted it in the office. How frightening to think your job is always on the line because this guy may call you in and then lock the door from the inside. What fear they must have felt and what did they have to do to persist working there?
Sure, there will be people, probably some women, who will say the woman could have quit. Ok, kiddos, think how many jobs like The Today Show are out there and, if you’re a woman, there are even less. Yeah, she should have gone to HR they’ll say. But HR wouldn’t want to do anything to injure the golden calf who was bringing in hundreds of millions in revenue. If this was the first the network heard about Lauer in 20 years, that’s understandable, too. The women were scared and it kept them from revealing the shame of working in that office for a man who had absolute power and who, in turn, was absolutely corrupted by it.
Matt won’t have to paint houses because he probably has a few dollars in the bank, but there may be an expensive divorce settlement and, ah, yes, those lawsuits. Time to pay the piper.