Matt Lauer Accuser's Lawyer Says His Client Lives in "Constant Fear" of Having Her Identity Revealed

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, the attorney said his client was "terrified" of having people discover who she is

By Elyse Dupre Dec 15, 2017 6:42 PMTags

Ari Wilkenfeld, the attorney of the accuser whose allegations led to Matt Lauer's firing, sat down with NBC News on Friday and said his client was "terrified" of having her identity revealed.

According to Wilkenfeld, the accuser had two requests after reporting Lauer to NBC: "Do the right thing" and maintain her anonymity. However, he said his client lives in "constant fear" that people will find her.

"My client is terrified, and she does live in constant fear that people are going to track her down and figure out who she is," he said. "She feels badly for the many other women who are suspected of being her—who are also being hounded and harassed."

Wilkenfeld also criticized NBC—claiming the organization has not fully protected her identity.

"I can say NBC has a duty to maintain confidentiality—that means to maintain secrecy over her name and to hold to themselves the details of her story. They have not done a good job of doing that," he said. "They know exactly what they've done, and they need to stop."

In response to Wilkenfeld's claims, an NBC News spokesperson stated, "The network has protected the victim's anonymity all along and will continue to do so."

Wilkenfeld also previously told E! News "NBC acted quickly and responsibly" after learning of the allegations.

Nevertheless, the attorney said there's been "a hunt underway" to uncover his client's identity, which he fears will have a "chilling effect" on other victims contemplating coming forward.

He also applauded his client for having the courage to speak out.

"She's been incredibly brave, and she's helped protect the other women who work at NBC," he said. "She's also shined a light on the different ways women can come forward." 

In addition, Wilkenfeld encouraged men witnessing harassment to speak out. 

"Men need to step forward," he said. "They need to start protecting women in the workplace when they see them being harassed."

Watch Today's video to see the interview.

According to a former statement from Wilkenfeld, his client met with representatives from NBC's Human Resources and Legal Department on the evening of Monday, Nov. 27, and detailed "egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct by Mr. Lauer."

Savannah Guthrie read a statement from NBC News chairman Andy Lack announcing Lauer's termination on the Nov. 29 episode of Today. The next morning, she read a statement from Lauer himself.

"There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions," Lauer's statement read. "To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappoint I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish deeply. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I am committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full-time job."

The statement continued, "The last two days have forced me to take very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It's been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace."


The accuser's complaint claimed the sexual misconduct started at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and continued afterward.

(E! and NBC News are both party of NBCUniversal).