Why are Andy Lack and Noah Oppenheim still running NBC News?

As we’ve indisputably learned this week from Ronan Farrow’s book, when it came to Matt Lauer’s years-long reign of sexual terror at the “Today” show, everyone knew. So for Lack and Oppenheim — whom many current and former “Today” staffers allege were well aware of Lauer’s predations, if not complicit — to still have the support of NBC-Universal prompts one obvious question:

How many other monsters are hiding in plain sight at 30 Rock?

When NBC fired Matt Lauer in November 2017, Savannah Guthrie read, on-air, a statement issued by Lack, chairman of NBC News, stating that this was “the first complaint about [Lauer’s] behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News.” Later that day, Oppenheim, the division’s president, told staffers that said complaint alleged “unacceptable” but not criminal acts.

Let’s pause. If that were the case — if the face of NBC News, earning $20 million per year, ferried to his Midtown set from his Hamptons estate via helicopter by the network — suddenly faced one accusation throughout an otherwise unimpeachable tenure, why would the network immediately fire him? Why not, at best, suspend him and conduct an investigation? Why remove the body before investigating the crime scene?

Lack and Oppenheim would have us believe that they, veteran newsmen who oversaw high-level investigative teams and produced award-winning reportage — Lack himself has 10 Emmys and two Peabodys — never heard nor saw a thing.

They claim Farrow, who left NBC acrimoniously, has an ax to grind. His new book, “Catch and Kill,” details a litany of credible accusations against Lauer, including the brutal rape of Meredith Vieira’s then-assistant (Lauer denies it and other allegations of sexual abuse). Former “Today” show co-anchor Ann Curry told Farrow that she reported Lauer to two senior NBC execs in 2010, after a subordinate tearfully told Curry that Lauer had cornered her in his office, exposed his erect penis and, when rebuffed, said, “You’re a f–king tease. This is not good. You led me on.”

Threatening, in effect, her career.

“I told [execs] that they had a problem in him,” Curry told Farrow. “That he had a problem with women. And that they had to keep an eye on him.”

Matt Lauer and Ann Curry
Matt Lauer and Ann CurryAP

Another woman, this one an on-air host with, one would assume, some degree of power, told Farrow that Lauer and another exec, who has since left NBC, sexually harassed her. She kept the messages and showed them to coworkers. She also said Lauer and his compatriot made sexually degrading comments about her on set, over open mics.

And then there was the staffer who, according to the New York Times, was summoned to Lauer’s office one day. After entering, he allegedly locked the door remotely, using a button installed on his desk, then bent her over a chair and had sex with her until she passed out. Lauer’s assistant had to take her to a nurse.

No one knew? Lack nor Oppenheim had any idea? As Farrow writes, Lauer didn’t conceal his behavior, which frankly sounds compulsive: Matt Lauer seems to love nothing more than using and degrading women. He “gifted” one coworker a sex toy along with a note detailing the ways he’d violate her with it. A favorite game, again over hot mics, was “f–k/marry/kill.”

Everyone knew. Let’s revisit the long-forgotten secret roast of Lauer here at the Friars Club in 2008. No recording devices were allowed, but the Village Voice’s Tony Ortega took detailed notes under his table.

Meredith Vieira: “Look at Katie Couric. She juggled Matt’s balls for six years. She squeezed those suckers so tight, she left nothing for me … People say he’s so prim and proper, like he’s got a stick up his ass. It’s not a stick, my friends, it’s Al Roker’s d–k.”

‘I told [execs] that they had a problem in him. … And that they had to keep an eye on him.’

Katie Couric did a Top 10 List. “When Katie did the colonoscopy live on television, doctors found Matt’s head.” Another thing the assembled crowd, which included Roker, Howard Stern, Aretha Franklin, Jeff Zucker (then NBC-Universal CEO, now head of CNN) and Diane Sawyer might not know?

“Matt,” Couric said, “loves to eat Curry.”

Ann Curry, according to the report, was visibly embarrassed.

Martha Stewart got up and said, “I heard NBC executives call Matt the ‘C–k of the Rock.’” Zucker said Lauer was “the only guy I know who uses Purell before and after he masturbates” and that it was “just good to see Matt up here and not under my desk.”

Even MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who attended the roast but said he left early, offended, told his audience the idea that no one knew strains credulity.

“The whole theme was that he does the show and then he has sex with people, with employees,” Scarborough said in 2017. “So this was whispered behind closed doors? No. It was shouted from the mountaintops and everybody laughed about it.”

Lauer’s misogyny knew no bounds, extending to women who outpaced and outclassed him — namely, the Oscar-winning stars and glass-ceiling breakers who had the misfortune to book on “Today.”

Equally clear is that no executive — surely not Oppenheim, there since 2005 — either told him to knock it off or saw it as a problem, because he just kept on doing it, that insufferably smug smile always on his face.

Andy Lack
Andy LackAFP/Getty Images

To Sandra Bullock in 2009, who was then promoting rom-com “The Proposal”: “The major thing that’s changed, since you were here last? I have now seen you naked … You’re naked for most of this movie … Did I mention you have a nude scene in this movie?”

Bullock: “Pretty much from the time you opened your mouth.”

Lauer went on and on. Her nude image was now his “screensaver,” he looked down at his crotch. He got off on her discomfort. After four minutes, this ostensible conversation was finally over.

Lauer: “Sandra Bullock, come back more often.”

Bullock: “No. Not after this interview.”

To Anne Hathaway in 2012, days after she accidentally exposed herself exiting a car at her own move premiere: “Nice to see you. Seen a lot of you lately.”

Hathaway: “Sorry about that.”

Lauer: “You had a little wardrobe malfunction the other night. What’s the lesson learned from that?”

The lesson learned from that?

If anything, it’s a question NBC-Universal’s top people should ask not just vis-à-vis Lauer, Lack, and Oppenheim. (We haven’t even mentioned MSNBC head Phil Griffin, who sexually humiliated Maria Menounos in a staff meeting). There should be an immediate external probe. Lack should not be allowed to retire with dignity, as he plans to in January.

At the very least, Lack and Oppenheim should be suspended pending further inquiry, and NBC should re-think their immediate succession plan, because the person most likely to succeed Lack?

As of this week, it’s still, incredibly, Noah Oppenheim.