Matt Lauer Fired for Alleged Inappropriate Sexual Behavior
“Today” anchor Matt Lauer has been fired from NBC News after being accused of sexual misconduct.
Lauer is facing allegations that he engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, which reportedly took place while he was covering the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
On Wednesday morning, “Today” co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced the shocking news on the air. Guthrie quoted a statement by NBC chairman Andrew Lack, saying, "On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment.”
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
Guthrie opened up about how she felt after hearing the news, saying, “As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this. And 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.”
“We are heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for Matt — he is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he has been loved by many, many people here,” Guthrie shared. “And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story, and any other women who have their own stories to tell.”
Lack's memo to employees emphasized, "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.”
It added, “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he's been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Lack's memo to employees went on to say, “We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization — and do it in as transparent a manner as we can. To that end, Noah and I will be meeting with as many of you as possible throughout the day today to answer your questions.”
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A source close to Lauer told "Extra" that he is "shocked" and "devastated" about the allegations, which caught him off guard. The insider added that he was made aware of the accusations on Monday and an exit deal with NBC was quickly hammered out.
The woman who accused Lauer of sexual misconduct remains unnamed, but her lawyer, Ari Wilkenfeld, revealed that she and NBC's human resources department met on Monday. He told New York Times, “Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly, as all companies should, when confronted with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. While I am encouraged by NBC's response to date, I am in awe of the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than the company do the right thing."
Lauer had been a co-anchor on “Today” for 20 years.