Matt Lauer has been fired from NBC News amid sexual misconduct allegations. The “Today” show host, Savannah Guthrie, announced on air the decision made by the organization and read the e-mail sent by Andrew Lack, NBC News Chairman. Guthrie was joined by Hoda Kotb who took the place of the former host.
“Hoda is with me this morning because this is a sad morning at NBC,” Guthrie began, before noting that Lack received a detailed complaint from a colleague about sexual misconduct in the workplace on Lauer’s behalf.
“Dear colleagues, 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. While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, 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 run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender,” Lack said. “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.”
A visibly emotional Guthrie told the viewers that they were informed of the decision earlier in the day. “We just learned this moments ago, just this morning. As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated, and we are still processing all of this,” the host said.
Guthrie continued, “All we can say is we are heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner and he is beloved by many people here. 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. We are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these last few weeks: How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? And I don’t know the answer to that. But I do know that this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through his important, it’s long overdue, and it must result in workplaces where all women—all people—feel safe and respected. As painful as it is, this moment in our culture and this change had to happen.”
“Yeah, it did,” Hoda Kotb added. “It’s hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every single day. We were both woken up with the news kind of pre-dawn. We’re trying to process it and trying to make sense of it, and it’ll take some time for that.”
Lauer has not issue any comments on his firing; he took over as anchor of “Today” in 1997. The journalist’s termination comes a week after CBS and PBS fired Charlie Rose amid similar claims of sexual harassment.
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