It’s been just two days since news broke that NBC had fired Matt Lauer after the network received a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior,” with reason to believe “this may not have been an isolated incident” — and in the wake of the announcement, several more allegations have been brought against the longtime anchor.
Here’s a timeline of how it all went down, including everything we know about the accusations.
MONDAY, NOV. 27
At 6 p.m., Ari Wilkenfeld, a civil rights lawyer with the firm Wilkenfeld, Herendeen & Atkinson in Washington, and his client, an anonymous NBC employee, met with representatives from NBC’s human resources and legal departments to detail a complaint against Lauer. The interview lasted several hours, Wilkenfeld confirmed to The New York Times.
“Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly, as all companies should, when confronted with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace,” he said.
The Times met with the woman Monday afternoon, but she told the newspaper she was not ready to come forward and tell her story publicly.
TUESDAY, NOV. 28
An investigation ensued, and a decision was made to end his employment. A source confirmed to PEOPLE that Lauer, 59, was informed of his termination on Tuesday evening.
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 29
Today employees found out about Lauer’s firing just hours before going live for Wednesday’s show. At the top of the 7 a.m. hour, Lauer’s visibly shaken co-anchor Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced the news, reading aloud a staff memo from NBC News chairman Andrew Lack.
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment,” Lack said. “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
“Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender,” he continued. “We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization — and do it in as transparent a manner as we can. To that end, [Today show executive producer] Noah [Oppenheimer] and I will be meeting with as many of you as possible throughout the day today to answer your questions.”
A source later confirmed to PEOPLE that Lauer’s involvement with the woman who made the complaint included while they were in Sochi, Russia, to cover the Winter Olympics in 2014.
The complaint was “serious enough that he was terminated,” the source said. “The accuser described inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace occurring throughout 2014.”
Another source told PEOPLE the complaint came as a complete shock to Lauer.
“In his mind, this had been a consensual affair,” the source said. “And a long-term one at that.” (In the wake of his firing, several insiders have told PEOPLE that the veteran morning host was allegedly often unfaithful to his wife of 19 years, Annette Roque, with whom he shares three children: son Jack, 16, daughter Romy, 14, and son Thijs, 11. Lauer’s reps did not comment.)
“He was shocked and dumbfounded and completely bewildered by what happened,” the source said. “He never thought it would get to this level. He never expected this. He had felt like he was invulnerable — like Superman.”
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The most serious allegation was brought forth in the Times, which reports that NBC received at least two more complaints related to Lauer on Wednesday. One complaint came from a former NBC employee who alleged Lauer sexually assaulted her in his office in 2001. She provided her account to the newspaper but declined to let her name be used. Details of the second complaint have not been made public thus far.
The former employee, who told the Times Lauer had been making “inappropriate comments” to her since she started as a Today producer in the late 1990s, alleges that in 2001, Lauer summoned her to his office to discuss a story during a workday. When she sat down, he allegedly locked the door and asked her to unbutton her shirt, which she did. She claims he then stepped out from behind his desk, pulled down her pants, bent her over a chair and had intercourse with her. She allegedly passed out with her pants halfway down and woke up on the floor of his office, and she claims Lauer had his assistant take her to a nurse, according to the Times.
The woman told the Times that Lauer never made an advance toward her again and never mentioned what occurred in his office. She said she did not report the episode to NBC at the time because she believed she should have done more to stop Lauer. She left the network about a year later.
The woman, who was in her early 40s at the time, told her then-husband about the encounter, which the Times confirmed with him in a phone call. The couple was separated at the time, and later divorced. She also described it to a friend five years ago, which the friend confirmed to the Times.
According to the newspaper, the alleged incident was reported to NBC News on Wednesday after the the woman told her then-supervisor, who still works at the network, about it. The woman said an NBC human resources representative had since contacted her.
In the Variety report, three anonymous women accused Lauer of sexual harassment, claiming he once brought a female employee into this office “and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis.” Lauer then allegedly “reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.” He also allegedly gave a female colleague a sex toy as a present, including “an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her.”
In response to the Wednesday reports, an NBC spokesperson told PEOPLE in a statement, “We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct.”
NBC correspondent Stephanie Gosk, who has been reporting on the story for the Today show, said during Megyn Kelly‘s hour on Thursday that while there are “as many as eight” Lauer accusers, their anonymity makes it impossible to distinguish between them.
“Because they’re anonymous, we don’t know if any of the people who spoke to Variety also spoke to the New York Times, or also the two people that we know came forward to NBC after Matt was fired yesterday — we don’t know if any of them are the same women, so it’s as many as eight,” she said. “And let me just say, hearing those details about anybody is difficult — hearing them about someone you know is especially difficult and all of us here at NBC are grappling with that.”
Gosk also made a point to mention that the 2001 assault allegation against Lauer “elevates the accusation considerably.”
“An assault is a crime,” she said. “We have reached out to New York City police, we have reached out to police departments in Long Island. We know of no open criminal investigation against Matt Lauer.” (PEOPLE also reached out to the NYPD, who said they are not investigating any complaints against Lauer at this time.)
THURSDAY, NOV. 30
Lauer — who joined the network in 1992 as a newsreader on Today, had been co-anchor of the morning show since January 1997 and reportedly signed a $20 million dollar contract last year — broke his silence on the allegations in a statement read Thursday morning by his former colleagues on-air.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” he said. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”
“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly,” he continued. “Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching, and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
THURSDAY, DEC. 14
Former Today show staff member Addie Zinone (née Collins) wrote a piece for Variety detailing an alleged month-long affair with Lauer in 2000, when she was a 24-year-old production assistant about to leave NBC News and he was newly married.
Lauer’s representatives did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
“Even though my situation with Matt was consensual, I ultimately felt like a victim because of the power dynamic. 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,” said Zinone, who added that Lauer, “felt like he was untouchable.”