We could say that 2022 was not a good year for Drew Lauter, former iHeart executive, who was fired from his position after the leak of a controversial video where he allegedly uses inappropriate racial language. But as the truth always triumphs, shedding its light against falsehood and bad intentions, it has been known through a private investigation, that said video was all a set-up prepared to discredit the iHeart President, orchestrated by a resentful former employee, who had been fired for sexual harassment and had the purpose of blackmailing him.
It has also been discovered that the video did not reflect the truth. According to the independent investigation, the employee gave Lauter a drug that looked like aspirin, but was probably a benzodiazepine, for the purpose of altering his behavior and recorded his actions. Furthermore, the video was doctored and was not even submitted to iHeart.
When someone is fired from his job, not only the affected person is involved, but also his family, therefore, there is no doubt that the moral weight that Lauter has had to bear during all this time of uncertainty, has been very great, until finally the light of truth came and he can breathe easy.
On the other hand, even though the former iHeart executive would not consciously be capable of uttering offensive words against any ethnicity or race, because it is not part of his values as a human being or his behavior, and once he did it under the effects of psychotropic substances that were given to him and that he agreed to take, under the false belief that it was a pill for his shoulder pain, he has humbly apologized publicly for what he said, feeling more committed than ever to diversity and inclusion in his career.
Unauthorized recording is illegal, especially when it is done for the purpose of damaging the public image of someone you consider your enemy. Such was the case with Lauter, the victim of a dirty personal vendetta that brought him consequences, not only at work but also morally.
This leads us to another reflection, because one cannot jump to conclusions about an alleged inappropriate conduct without verifying the evidence that supports it.
Drew Lauter’s conduct has always been impeccable, he himself could not identify with the speech pronounced in the manipulated video, because they were words inconsistent with his way of thinking and acting. The private investigation brought the truth out in the open and he was finally able to understand how the events happened.
Returning to the facts and to clarify the issue definitively and according to the report of the private investigation carried out, we make some conclusions:
1. The former employee provided Lauter with the drug inside the facility where the event was taking place, likely a benzodiazepine, under the guise of aspirin, for his shoulder injury and prompted and recorded it as part of his plan for future extortion.
2. The video was not recorded at the exit of a golf event, as erroneously expressed by the media. Lauter left the event earlier in the day after suffering a shoulder injury and was accompanied by a close friend who, upon observing his erratic state, took his keys from him and drove the car to his home, in which other people were also traveling, including the direct boss of the former employee fired for sexual harassment.
3. The video appears to have been altered and manipulated. Through the investigation it became known that it was kept for a year without being presented to anyone at iHeart, which was only done after a futile attempt to reach a settlement.
Lauter’s words of thanks to his friends and family for their unconditional support throughout this time of doubt have been made known and published, and he reaffirmed his commitment to diversity and inclusion, which he considers vital to his personal and professional growth.
He also affirmed that this event has strengthened him to continue with his mission and purpose in life. He also warned about the dangers of manipulating information in today’s world where anyone has access to a smartphone or recording equipment and where, in addition, the desire for the scoop and immediacy of the news can never overcome the common sense of disclosing facts without verifying them, because the objective truth is an essential part of the code of ethics of journalists and communicators.
Because, even though the truth has come to light and Drew Lauter’s public image has been vindicated, the process to reach this point is extremely painful and could have been avoided.