The growing list of celebrities and politicians facing sexual harassment charges has added one more more name. News broke Wednesday that Matt Lauer, a fixture at NBC, has been fired from the network for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” The news came as a shock to Lauer’s devoted fans and to his co-hosts on the Today show.
“This is a sad morning here at Today and NBC News,”Savannah Guthrie announced at the start of the segment Lauer was supposed to be anchoring.
Guthrie seemed tearful as she read a release by NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack.
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” Lack wrote in the statement.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
“We learned this moments ago, just this morning,” Guthrie continued. “As you can imagine, we are devastated. And we are still processing all of this.”
“I will tell you, 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’ll learn more details in the hours and days to come. We promise to share that with you.”
Few details exist about the nature of the allegations. Page Six has suggested the allegations originated from an NBC employee who was working the Sochi Olympics with Lauer in 2014.
“Hoda, I mean, you know, for the moment, 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, many people here,” said Guthrie.
“And I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.”
“This is a very tough morning for both of us. I’ve known Matt for 15 years. And I’ve loved him as a friend and a colleague,” said Kotb.
“And just like you were saying, Savannah. It’s hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every, single day. We’re both woken up with the news kind of pre-dawn. And we’re trying to process it and make sense of it.”