BREAKING NEWS FROM NBC… IT’S MASSIVE

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Sassy Liberty AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS –

Addie Collins Zinone, Iraqi war veteran, and journalist is making massive headlines after revealing to the world her brief month long affair with disgraced former Today show host, Matt Lauer.

Zinone worked as a production assistant during the summer of 2000 and describes how Lauer abused his power targeting women he viewed as the most vulnerable.

Lauer was fired just last month after a 20-year tenure on the show after claims of sexual misconduct stemming from accusations from a female subordinate of inappropriately touching her on location at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. This led to an investigation revealing many more instances of inappropriate behavior including the sexual assault of one woman in his office until she passed out. Lauer has admitted to some and publicly apologized.

Zinone’s account was published by Variety, where she said the relationship with Lauer was consensual, though she adds the caveat –

“I ultimately felt like a victim because of the power dynamic. He went after the most vulnerable and the least powerful — and those were the production assistants and the interns.”

Zinone was just 24 years-old and fresh out of college when she began work on the Today show and with NBC News as an intern, she later became a production assistant. The affair began just after Zinone left the show 30 Rock to work as an anchor on NBC’s West Virginia affiliate. In his initial message to her in June of 2000, Lauer wrote, “i hope you won’t drag me to personnel for saying this. but you look fantastic.” Roughly a month later, on July 12, Lauer wrote again, saying “OK…NOW YOU’RE KILLING ME…YOU LOOK GREAT TODAY! A BIT TOUGH TO CONCENTRATE”.

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Lauer himself was married to Annette Roque, a Dutch model for J. Crew, for less than two years at the time of the affair. In September 2006, Roque filed for divorce alleging that Lauer had been cruel and inhumane to her while demonstrating extreme hostility and anger. There have been rumors that Lauer offered her several million to stay in the marriage.

Zinone describes the first encounter where Lauer invited her to lunch under the auspice of offering her career advice.  However, what it actually amounted to was Lauer using this as an opportunity to come on to her. Zinone explains that she should have known what she was getting herself into, stating –

“Here’s how I should have known what I was getting myself into. When we left, he told me: ‘You leave first, and I’ll leave after.’ In no lunch I’d ever had at ‘Today’ had anyone suggested we leave separately, as if something was up.”

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Later on that same afternoon Lauer sought Zinone out to meet him in his dressing room.  Zinone states she responded with – “matt, think about this first…you have a wife” to which Lauer convinced her was on the rocks. Zinone then described her first sexual encounter with Lauer, explaining it “happened in his dressing room above [the show’s studio, 1A], which was empty in the afternoons.”

She also spoke of an encounter where Lauer tried to have sex with her in his office at NBC while his secretary sat outside, using the now infamous button on his desk, locking the door so she could not get out.

“It was embarrassing, because his secretary was sitting outside. He wanted to do stuff. I was like, ‘No. I’m so in over my head. I’m not a performance artist.'”

 

 

The so-called secret button under his desk has become the source of much speculation as people wonder how on earth such a mechanism would not be viewed as highly inappropriate. NBC insiders confirm the existence of such a button and further revealed that Lauer’s office at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters was not the only one to have one. A similar button exists in the office of the current Today show executive producer.

This button allowed Lauer to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him which Zinone confirms is exactly what happened to her. The mechanism was actually a “door opener”, a remote-controlled device that would automatically open or close a door and then lock. Mechanisms like this currently retail for about $250 to $575 and the key fob or remote control retails for another $30.

 

 

Zinone states their final encounter was at the Staples Center in Los Angeles at the Democratic National Convention where Lauer was there covering the event.

“He was looking at a script, and he leaned over and said to me, ‘Do you see that bathroom over there? Meet me there in five minutes, so I went—and we had an encounter. He was like, ‘Alright. I’ll see you later.’ He had no interest in making sure I was cool.”

Zinone went on to explain the only reason for her coming forward with her story was to “squash any doubts about the allegations from other women against Matt Lauer.” She was also highly critical of NBC News Management, explaining in no uncertain terms that there was absolutely “no way Lauer could have gotten away with it without others above him making these situations go away — manipulating, strategizing, whatever it is they did to wield their power against the powerless. He was the golden boy. His contract always got renewed for millions of dollars more, and he was the face of NBC. How is any woman supposed to go up against that?”

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After her brief and tumultuous affair with Lauer, Zinone went on to detail how she chose to join the army beginning her basic training in March 2002.  While serving in the army reserve, Zinone became a military journalist.  When speaking of this period in her life, she states –

“I’m not connecting dots that don’t exist, because it makes my story better. I went and joined the army because I on my own couldn’t deal with the fallout from this brief but intense relationship.”

Zinone was deployed to Iraq in November 2003, just after she began working at Access Hollywood.  Her second tour was in 2008.  She is now married with two children, working at the two nonprofits she founded with her husband as well as a clothing line catering to moms called Sideline Candy.

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