Home Scandal and Gossip NBC staffer seduced by Today show host has only herself to blame

NBC staffer seduced by Today show host has only herself to blame

Addie Zinone
Pictured Matt Lauer and former NBC production assistant, Addie Zinone.
Addie Zinone
Pictured Matt Lauer and former NBC production assistant, Addie Zinone.

Addie Zinone a former NBC staffer writes a first person account of a 2000 episode claiming she was sexually exploited by Today show host, Matt Lauer. But was she really?

Addie Zinone (nee Collins) has written a first person account of an episode where the former NBC morning staffer was allegedly seduced by former Today show host, Matt Lauer before being unceremoniously dumped (and used) after going to leave for a new post.

Writing for Variety, the series of events happened in July 2000 when Lauer, discovering Zinone had scored an anchor role in her home state of West Virginia sought to ‘congratulate’ the then 24 year old production assistant.

And just like that Addie, swooning over NBC’s ‘alpha male’ luncheon invitation where she writes she believed was purely on the basis of Matt passing on tips on how to succeed on the corporate media ladder (as some would argue- sleep your way round ladies)- comes to ‘suddenly’ find herself being ‘mercilessly’ hit on.

Before the end of the afternoon, 2.42pm (to be exact), Zinone agrees to meet Lauer at a ‘secret room’ where the two have ‘mutually consented’ sex. It’s only after further series of sexual interludes to the married Lauer (was she expecting Lauer to leave his newly married wife of two years?), that Zinone divulges finding herself becoming despondent and depressed and taken advantage of.

Writes Zinone in her essay as she struggles to come to terms with the guilt and oppression of what she believes happened to her:

‘What happened with Matt held me hostage. I was under his spell. It was all-consuming. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t concentrate. Every time I turned on the TV, because I anchored the local news in the morning, there was his face,’ 

Adding, ‘And he was acting all jolly and happy. And here am I, carrying the weight of what had happened and fending off the national press. I didn’t want to start my career being known as one of Matt Lauer’s girls.’

At what point does Addie Zinone ever accept responsibility for her own participation in a behind closed doors affair?

Which is to wonder, as an adult, at what point did Lauer force or suggest Zinone her advancement as a media worker was ever contingent on her having sex with him? (she was after all leaving to go work at another outlet).

At what point did Zinone think to herself and say, ‘I have a choice here, and that is to say no, I don’t want to have a quickie in the secret room. I don’t want to run the risk of having my heart torn with a married man. I don’t want to be used and spat out as so many high powered men are accustomed to doing. And if I am going to go through with this, let me at least try to secure the gifts of advancement before I put out, if that is what I was thinking in the back of my head.’

One wonders what the grief of Zinone really stems from, the sad knowledge she ‘ended up being one of Matt’s girls’? Had Lauer not being exposed for real predatory behavior, where he acted against the wishes of a female victim, and imposed himself, would Zinone ever had the gall to come out with her self pitying diatribe where she and the editors at Variety pretend she was sexually exploited and preyed on.

Never mind those of you women who are unabashedly preyed and exploited and legitimately victimized. A state of affairs that has been kept behind closed doors and something so many women forced to contend with and only now getting some airtime after the floodgates finally broke.

One can’t help but wonder how much bosses at NBC knew of Matt’s sleazy, ‘get em while they’re hot behavior’ and how much they abetted his behavior until he got too full of himself and fully crossed the line,’ where instead of being dumped by his bosses was held on to help feed the money gravy train. Until doing so was no longer tenable, never mind he ‘me too’ anecdotes of former workers who refuse to take ownership of their own behavior. Granted, being sleazy is hardly any one’s definition of good grace, but last time this author checked it didn’t quite yet constitute being a sex crime.

Addie Zinone
Addie Zinone: “I ultimately felt like a victim because of the power dynamic.”

And then there were these comments from readers that made me wonder, see what you think….?

‘Any person that consensually spreads their legs to participate in sexual conduct with others is NOT a victim!’

‘…she didn’t have to keep in touch with him and she did. now she is complaining, how typical.’

‘Its sad that sexual harassment/assault has become so whitewashed that behavior which 10 years ago would be seen as a mixture of slutty behavior/hoping that the rich and famous guy would leave his wife for you, would now be construed as sexual assault.’

‘This story is absurd and undermines those who have truly been harassed. She was a consenting adult who chose poor judgement on multiple occasions. One could also say she preyed on a successful (married) man in effort to climb her way up the corporate ladder. Why is this even a story?’

‘This is nothing more than regretting a poor decision and capitalizing on an opportunity to wash herself of that guilt. we all have made terrible decisions. some hurt more than others and that’s why we learn not to repeat them. do bad, feel bad, don’t do it again. she is stealing credibility from true victims.’

‘Where’s the part where he sabotaged her career?’