‘EMBARRASSED AND ASHAMED.’ NBC’s disgraced Today host Matt Lauer has issued a statement read on the air the morning after his dismissal from the network amid charges of sexual misconduct.
■ A woman tells The New York Times that, in 2001, Lauer called her to his office, locked the door and sexually assaulted her—and that she then passed out and had to be taken to a nurse.
■ Jezebel: “The worst detail” in Variety’s report on Lauer is that “he had a button under his desk that locked the door from the inside.”
■ Fox News has slapped down Geraldo Rivera for his defense of Lauer. (2006 photo by U. S. Army Spc. Erin Robicheaux.)
■ Prairie Home Companion creator Garrison Keiller on the charges against him: “I think I have to leave the country in order to … not feel accusing glances.”
■ Accused Michigan Congressman John Conyers is in the hospital.
■ An Army veteran has become the fifth woman in two weeks—and the third to publicly identify herself—to accuse Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching.
■ Former Tribune editor Ann Marie Lipinski recalls the time in 2002 she fired popular columnist Bob Greene for sexual misconduct and concludes, “The fix is not sexual harassment training, but more people in leadership who already know better.”
■ Chicago rock critic Jim DeRogatis in The New Yorker: “Why has R. Kelly’s career thrived despite sexual-misconduct allegations?”
BORING TO O’HARE. Billionaire inventor and engineer Elon Musk revealed on Twitter this morning that his Boring Co.—founded to fix urban congestion by building underground tunnels quickly and cheaply—will compete to fund, build and operate a high-speed loop connecting downtown to the airport.
■ A computer goof effectively let all American Airlines pilots claim vacation time Christmas week—which may mean massive flight cancellations if some of them can’t be lured back by the prospect of bonus pay.
CHICAGO vs. EVILCORP. Mayor Emanuel says the City of Chicago Law Department is putting together a team of lawyers to sue misbehaving companies that the federal government under President Trump doesn’t.
■ Tax forms released by Democratic gubernatorial candidates Pritzker and Kennedy reveal financial interests in Big Tobacco, Big Oil, casinos, the world’s biggest defense contractor, and the developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
■ Bernie Sanders is backing “Chuy” Garcia for the congressional seat Luis Gutierrez is giving up.
‘IT’S THE CODE OF SILENCE AGAIN.’ A lawyer for a man killed by Chicago police in 2014 says surveillance video attests to cops’ “blatant and intentional effort to cover up” facts in the case.
■ An Oak Park mother recounts her plea to would-be carjackers: “Please, my daughter is inside. Please let me get my daughter out.”
TYRANNOSAURUS: REX? The Times reports Trump has tired of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and has a plan to replace him.
■ Critics have portrayed the department as in disarray under Tillerson.
■ And, of course, last month brought that whole “moron” thing …
A TAXING DAY. Updating coverage from the Times: Still without enough support to guarantee passage, the Republican tax overhaul plan heads to the floor of the Senate for debate today.
■ Republicans still don’t know what’s in the plan they’re hoping to pass.
■ From Illinois’ Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, mixed signals on the plan.
■ The Atlantic: Just as political influence is shifting to America’s diverse younger generations, the Republican plan would stick young people with the bill.
RADIO BANKRUPTCY. Cumulus Media—owner of Chicago’s WLS-AM and -FM, WLUP and WKQX—is the latest giant communications company to seek relief from its debts.
■ In Los Angeles, an editorial bloodbath at the LA Weekly paper—including former Chicago Reader editor Mara Shalhoup.
■ Phil Ponce, anchor of Ch. 11’s Chicago Tonight, is cutting back to three days a week.
THEY’LL BE CLOSED FOR CHRISTMAS. The Charlestowne Mall in St. Charles is effectively shut down as of today, although its outlying anchor stores will stay open during redevelopment.
■ A June video shows the ghost town the mall had become.
■ If you’d hoped to give Hamilton tickets as a Christmas present, good news: The show’s Chicago run has been extended to September, and the new seats go on sale Tuesday.
■ Correction: Thanks to the unrelentingly helpful Mike Braden, who caught an errant s in yesterday’s Chicago Public Square—in the phrase “Republicans plans.” Why are you letting Mike hog all the glory? Email Flub@ChicagoPublicSquare.com when you spot a goof—no matter how trivial (we love trivial!)—in Square.
■ Didn’t you get the memo? It’s a No-Full-Workweek December. Square will take tomorrow off. But—you know the drill—expect updates through the extended weekend on Twitter and Facebook.