It’s been just two weeks since Matt Lauer was unexpectedly terminated from the Today show following accusations of sexual harassment, and now the lawyer of the woman responsible for bringing his inappropriate behavior to light reveals she’s “terrified” of having her name leaked. Attorney Ari Wilkenfeld also alleges that NBC isn’t doing enough to protect his client’s privacy.
The unidentified woman reportedly agreed to meet with higher-ups at the network to detail her uncomfortable encounters with the 59-year-old, but asked that they never reveal who she is. Now, she’s feeling the pressure due to increased interest from the media.
Wilkenfeld notes to NBC News that his client feels awful about the “many other women who are suspected of being her, who are also being hounded and harassed by people who are just trying to get the details of who the woman is.” Since Matt’s firing, a former Today show production assistant named Addie Collins Zinone admitted to having a sexual relationship with the anchor in the early 2000s, claiming he manipulated her through flattery.
“One morning, on [June 8, 2000], out of the blue, I get a message from Matt Lauer,” she recalled in an interview with Variety. “‘Hey,’ Matt wrote. ‘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.'”
He later invited her out to lunch, and afterwards, Zinone revealed, they had a “consensual encounter” in his dressing room. “The situation really took its toll on me. I changed physically. I changed emotionally,” she shared. “Fear crept into my life. I became unsure of myself. Any confidence I had was gone. For him, it was a conquest.”
According to Life & Style, Matt’s wife, Annette Roque, plans to file for divorce after the holidays. “She’s furious with Matt for leaving this legacy for their kids [son Jack, 16, daughter Romy, 14, and son Thijs, 11],” a friend recently said. “Matt let her down, yes, but their children [having to deal with it] — that is what makes her especially angry.”