November 30, 2017 01:54 PM

The “secret button” that Matt Lauer allegedly used to lock his door inside NBC’s Rockefeller Center headquarters was not a unique security feature, a source at the show tells PEOPLE.

On Wednesday, a former NBC employee – who spoke to the The New York Times on condition of anonymity – said that Lauer sexually assaulted her in 2001. According to the publication, Lauer had been making “inappropriate comments” to her after she started working at the media company in the late 1990s.

The woman told the Times that Lauer asked her into his office in 2001, and that he locked the doors by pressing a button from his desk. This detail has become an object of fascination in the fallout from Lauer’s termination.

“Many exec offices in 30 Rock have the button,” the source tells PEOPLE. “It’s an idiosyncratic thing.”

A former Today employee confirmed this.

“Many executives had the button in their office, not just Matt,” she told PEOPLE. “I had female bosses who had it. …  It was like a design thing. Like you know how offices now all have open concepts? Well, whenever those offices were remodeled, that button was installed because that was the new thing to have.”

Matt Lauer
Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire/Getty

Lauer, 59, gave a tour of his Today office in a 2015 “73 Questions” video for Vogue, walking from Rockefeller Plaza through the iconic building to the Today studio, up a few flights of stairs to his dressing room.

“What’s one rumor about you that’s not true?” the interviewer asked.

“That I’m hard to work with,” he replied.

NBC announced early Wednesday that Lauer had been fired after the network received a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior” on Monday, with reason to believe “this may not have been an isolated incident.”

A source told PEOPLE that Lauer was let go due to alleged inappropriate sexual behavior throughout 2014, including at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

In a report published Wednesday afternoon by Varietythree anonymous women accused the former newsman of sexual harassment, claiming Lauer had 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.”

You May Like