Updated at 8:18 a.m. ET
NBC News says it has fired longtime Today host Matt Lauer following a complaint about “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie read a statement on air from NBC News Chairman Andy Lack on Wednesday morning:
“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 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 added that NBC wanted to “create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected” and that management is “deeply saddened by this turn of events.”
Lauer joined Today as the news anchor in 1994 and became a co-anchor in 1997, according to NBC. He was the highest-paid person at NBC News, NPR’s David Folkenflik notes.
After reading Lack’s statement, Guthrie, who was joined by Today‘s Hoda Kotb, said, “As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated.” She continued:
“For the moment all we can say is that we are heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Matt, he is my dear dear friend and my partner and he is beloved by many, 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. And we are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks. How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?”
Guthrie added that many media organizations are going through a “reckoning” that is “long overdue.”
Lauer is the latest high-profile media figure to be accused of sexual misconduct. CBS fired veteran host Charlie Rose last week after eight women accused him of sexual harassment over the course of more than a decade. Political journalist Mark Halperin, who was working as a commentator for MSNBC, was put on leave late last month over reports of sexually inappropriate behavior while he worked at ABC News. And two of NPR’s senior news executives are no longer employed by the company following allegations of sexual misconduct.
BY: JAMES DOUBEK
November 29, 20177:23 AM ET