2017-11-29 15:40:34 UTC
Matt Lauer, the anchor of "Today" for two decades, was fired by NBC News after a
detailed complaint about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.
"Today" co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb were emotional as they
announced Lauer's firing Wednesday, telling viewers at the top of the show that
they were processing his departure but didn't yet know all of the details.
In a memo to employees sent Wednesday morning, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack
said the complaint, which was made by a colleague of Lauer's, prompted a serious
review and represented a "clear violation of our company's standards."
Lack said it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer, 59, for his behavior
since he took over as anchor of the show in 1997, but there was "reason to
believe" it 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," Lack said.
Guthrie, who joined Lauer at the anchor desk in 2012, said she was "heartbroken"
for both him and the "brave colleague who came forward to tell her story and any
other women who have their stories to tell."
"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," she said.
Kotb added that she has known Lauer as a friend and colleague for 15 years and
"it's hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks
in this building every single day."
Guthrie said it can be difficult to make sense of accusations of inappropriate
sexual behavior against a longtime colleague.
"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," she said. "But I do know
that this reckoning, that so many organizations have been going through, is
important, it's long overdue and it must result in workplaces where all women
all people feel safe and respected."
Lauer's departure comes in the wake of sexual misconduct complaints lodged in
recent months against high-profile men, including in entertainment, politics and
Last week, talk show host and journalist Charlie Rose was fired by CBS News, PBS
and Bloomberg after eight women accused him of past sexual harassment and
unwanted advances in a report in The Washington Post.