After two decades as the “Today” show co-host for NBC, Matt Lauer has been fired from the show.
Early Wednesday morning, Lauer’s co-host, Savannah Guthrie, made a statement at the beginning of the show. According to CNN:
“This is a sad morning at ‘Today’ and NBC News,” she said. “As I’m sure you can understand, we are devastated. I’m heartbroken for Matt.”
Guthrie also said she was heartbroken for the woman who accused Lauer of misconduct, noting “it’s long overdue” that women feel comfortable coming forward against abusive men.
Hoda Kotb, on the set with Guthrie, said she has known Lauer for years and “loved him as a friend and a colleague. It’s hard to reconcile the man who walks in every day” with the person who was identified in the complaint, she said.
Later in the show, she said:
“As we mentioned earlier, this is a sad day for us at the ‘Today Show’ and at NBC News, our chairman Andy Lack released a statement just this morning announcing that Matt Lauer has been terminated for behavior in violation of company standards. The decision came after a serious review of a detailed complaint from a colleague.”
The statement from NBC Chairman Andy Lack that Guthrie mentioned read:
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.
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. To that end, Noah and I will be meeting with as many of you as possible throughout the day today to answer your questions.
According to CNN, The New York Times and Variety had been investigating Lauer for several weeks prior to him being fired.
A source told Page Six that the inappropriate behavior happened during the Summer Olympics in 2016:
“An NBC staffer come forward with a claim that Matt sexually assaulted her at the Olympics. There have been rumors about Matt having affairs with subordinates at NBC for years, but those were believed to be consensual. This incident in Rio was not.”
Lauer’s firing comes just weeks after one of his “closest associates and confidants,” Matt Zimmerman, was fired for “engaging in inappropriate conduct with more than one woman at NBCU.”
Lauer was told he was fired Tuesday night before he went to bed.