After decades as a familiar face and NBC host, Matt Lauer was fired for sexual misconduct as multiple people bravely came forward and reported his bad behavior. Among the accusations against him were allegations of rape.
One of Lauer's colleagues and friends is describing Lauer's current state of mind.
Lauer is, by this friend's own words, "broken and ashamed."
Matt Lauer was a staple of television news for ages. Some characterized him as "America's dad."
Behind the scenes, as we are now learning, he was allegedly a serial sexual harasser -- and worse.
From the allegations of numerous women who worked for NBC, Matt Lauer was wildly inappropriate with his female colleagues.
From inappropriate gifts (complete with creepy details of how he'd use them on the recipient) to exposing his penis at work to treating NBC working trips as his own personal hunting ground for young women whom he could invite or lure to his hotel room ...
... Well, none of this paints a pretty picture, even before we heard the allegation that he had committed straight-up sexual assault.
Matt Lauer's career -- unless he decides to run as a Republican politician, given that alleged sexual predator Roy Moore has his party's financial and vocal support -- is over. And his wife has fled the country.
What's Matt Lauer even doing now?
Speaking to People, an unnamed former Today show colleague describes Matt Lauer's current state:
"He is weak and broken and ashamed by his own admission."
Matt Lauer did apologize, in one of those vague ways that doesn't amount to a real admission of guilt.
"He is my friend."
Interesting that this colleague says that in the present tense, not the past. The reasoning behind that will become clear.
"He is human, and he is flawed."
That has never been more obvious.
"But is he going to use his power to be a predator on women?"
Despite it sounding like this person is asking if Matt Lauer intends to continue his bad behavior, this colleague is expressing disbelief that he ever did so at all.
"Until I see solid evidence of that, I just can’t believe it."
We've heard from how many women, now? Does Lauer's friend need video tape?
Very few sexual predators record evidence of their assaults and show them to their friends.
"We don’t know the details."
That line is, well, just not true.
We do, in fact, know the details of the allegations against Matt Lauer.
In fact, let's go through the details contained within the allegations:
Inviting someone into his office, dropping his pants so that she saw his penis, and then later scolding her for having been horrified when, in his mind, she should have performed a sex act on him.
Giving a colleague a sex toy without clearing it with her first. Oh, and including a note describing, in detail, exactly how he'd like to use it on her.
Singling out young, ambitious women who worked for NBC and would be easier to convince to come to his hotel room.
(Hey, we're not against sleeping to get ahead, but the boss making overtures of that nature is something very different. Oh, and on at least one occasion, it's alleged that he invited a woman to his hotel room on false pretenses -- asking her to bring him a pillow)
And then, again, there was apparently a pattern of sexual harassment against one woman in particular that began at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. It was for the eventual alleged sexual assault that Matt Lauer was fired.
Still, the colleague who still identifies Lauer as a "friend" says this:
"All of us are career women, and not one of us would have put up with an environment that’s as distasteful as has been described."
This sounds a little like the argument made boy Roy Moore's supporters right now, that the existence of women whom Roy Moore never molested somehow proves that he's innocent.
Or perhaps this is the argument of a privileged woman who already had authority at NBC and therefore wasn't targeted by Matt Lauer.
"There was never anything I was offended by on any level. I wouldn’t have put up with it. Neither would any of us."
That's a huge generalization to make. Especially when it means that you're calling a number of women -- also colleagues, present and former -- liars.
Some people are unwilling to see their friends for who they really are.
That's part of how we got to where we are today.
By the way, in case the sad portrait that this unnamed colleague paints is tugging at your heartstrings, let's keep things in perspective.
Matt Lauer lost his job, sure.
How many women's careers were interrupted or discouraged by Lauer's antics? We may never know.
What's more is that Matt Lauer, "broken and ashamed" though he may be, has a net worth of at least $60 million.
That's not what we'd call a sob story.