Addie Zinone was a production assistant at NBC’s Today who had a month-long relationship with Matt Lauer in 2000. In her case, what happened was consensual, but there are nonetheless clear parallels between her story and other women’s stories of unwanted advances because of the immense power imbalance between said women and Lauer.
Here are five things that you may or may not have known about Addie Zinone:
Wanted to Become the Next Katie Couric
When she was still at Temple University, Zinone harbored an ambition of wanting to become the next Katie Couric. As a result, she wrote Couric a letter, which resulted in Couric inviting her to spend a day with her. This led to an internship at NBC News, which in turn, led to a position as a production assistant during the overnight shift. Zinone took some serious risks pursuing the internship, seeing as how she moved out to New York City with no real savings whatsoever.
Decided to Follow in the Footsteps of Those She Admired
At NBC News, Zinone formed close relationships with Couric, Ann Curry, and Al Roker. As a result, she decided in time that if she wanted to be where they were, she should follow in their footsteps. This led to her choosing to accept a position as a news anchor on WDTV Channel 5 in her West Virginian hometown, which meant her leaving NBC News.
Contacted By Matt Lauer At Around This Time
It was at around this time that Lauer contacted Zinone, which was something of a departure from the previous pattern of things that had seen him maintain a professional distance. There was some flirting on Lauer’s part, which confused Zinone, so much so that she asked whether someone else was sending her messages while pretending to be Lauer. Still, she agreed to a lunch with Lauer, which she considered to be a chance for her to get some useful advice for her future career.
Asked to Meet Matt Lauer in a Dressing Room
The lunch turned out to be a chance for Lauer to hit on Zinone, which left her more than a little bit confused. Eventually, Lauer asked her to meet him in a dressing room, which was followed by a number of other encounters. Over this period of time, Zinone became even more unsure of herself because of the furtiveness of their relationship, which started when Lauer asked her to leave separately from him after the initial lunch had concluded. The relationship continued to have negative consequences on Zinone even once it was over, so much so that she decided to stop being a news anchor before going on to join the army.
Had a Story Nixed Because of the Relationship
At one point, Maria Menounos contacted Zinone about doing a story about her while she was on her second deployment in Iraq in 2008, which happened because the two were friends from Zinone’s time at NBC News. However, the story never happened because when Menounos pitched the idea for the story, a producer nixed it claiming that Zinone had said something bad about Today. Exactly what had caused to producer to say what they said when they had never even met Zinone is unknown, but it seems improbable that it had nothing to do with what had happened to her at NBC News.