Matt Lauer, host of NBC’s Today Show since 1997, has been fired following a sexual harassment complaint filed against him by a colleague. NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack informed company employees of the decision on Wednesday.
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” Lack said in a memo. He explained that, after a “serious review,” Lauer’s actions were “a clear violation of our company’s standards.”
“While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News,” Lack added, “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident. Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender.”
Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, co-anchors of Today, broke the news to audiences at the show’s start, having learned of the situation moments prior to going on air. Though the two women expressed feeling “heartbroken” for both Lauer and the woman who filed the complaint, they assured viewers they’d be covering the story as “journalists.”
Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News. On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. pic.twitter.com/1A3UAZpvPb
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 29, 2017
“As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this,” Guthrie said. “I will tell you right now we do not know more than what I just shared with you, but we will be covering this story as reporters, as journalists. I’m sure we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come. And we promise we will share that with you.”
President Trump, who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by over a dozen women, took to Twitter shortly after the story broke. “Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,'” he wrote. “But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!”
Lauer is the latest in the string of high-profile men facing consequences for alleged sexual misconduct. In early October, a New York Times report covering the long list of accusations against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein triggered a wave of sexual abuse victims coming forward in not just entertainment, but multiple industries.
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