The former Today Show staffer who carried on a month-long affair with Matt Lauer nearly two decades ago has spoken out on the misguided dalliance.
And she has a lot to say.
As previously reported, Addie Zinone came forward to Variety last week, revealing to the publication how she worked as a production assistant on the NBC morning program back in 2000.
At the time, Zinone was 24 years old.
She says Lauer sent her a message in which he said she looked “fantastic.”
She proceeded to ask him for some professional advice… he offered to meet for lunch… this led to another invitation to meet him in his dressing room… and this is where/when Zinone and Lauer first had sex.
The co-host was married to his second and current wife, Annette Roque, at the time of this affair.
Zinone went on to say a “several” other sexual liasians followed and acknowledged these actions were consensual.
But she still felt a need to speak out and to call out Lauer for the way he abused his power at work.
Especially over women and especially when it came to sex.
“He went after the most vulnerable and the least powerful – and those were the production assistants and the interns,” Zinone told Variety, adding of her motivation for going public:
“I’m putting my name and face out there to squash any doubts about the allegations from other women against Matt Lauer.”
In a follow-up to this initial story, Zinone sat across from Megyn Kelly on Monday and shared further details from her encounters with Lauer.
“This power dynamic in a workplace and how that imbalance really does affect your thinking, your ability to think logically, to be aware of what it is you’re doing and the impact it’s going to have for the rest of your life,” she said.
Zinone also described the unfortunate backlash she has received after making these accusations.
“When my husband and I decided that I was actually going to go forward with this and speak out and become a face, I expected some blowback of course,” the 41-year old said, adding:
“I understand that people are going to paint me as a home-wrecker, as a slut and a whore and those are things I have been called.
“It was suggested yesterday to me that ‘Please please go get hit by a bus.'”
Pretty awful, right?
Lauer was fired on November 29 amidst complains from a colleague over his inappropriate behavior at work.
Executives said at the time that they had strong reasons to believe Lauer had acted this way on multiple occasions, with multiple women.
Future reports than detailed how Lauer allegedly sent employees sex toys, demanded sex acts from them and even raped one of them in his office.
Zinone says she has no regrets, however, because she feels a need to “validate” the claims of other accusers and wants the world to know about Lauer’s “predatory behavior.”
Yes, however, Zinone feel ashamed for what she did 17 years ago.
“This shatters my family,” she told Kelly.
“They’re afraid for me. This all trickles down to a lot of people being affected, so having these conversations is important.
“But also, there’s a lot of shame attached to what I did . . . Everything was a massive mistake and I know who I am at my core and the core values I have, but of course, you carry shame.
“He had a wife. You do carry that your whole life. You’re thinking: ‘Why could I not get out of it? Why did I do that?'”
Lauer is yet to commend on everything Zinone has said and alleged.