Fans of NBC’s “Today” show woke up to some heartbreaking news: Matt Lauer, who has co-anchored the show since 1997, has been fired after alleged “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
Of course, his termination is a complete shock to viewers around the country, and his co-anchors were equally taken aback.
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.
Lauer has hosted the iconic morning show through some of America’s toughest times — namely events such as September 11, 2001 — and it’s no secret he’s adored by both fans and co-hosts.
Guthrie was visibly shaken while addressing the viewers. She said that while she’s “heartbroken” for her longtime “partner” and colleague, she’s also “heartbroken” for the woman who was brave enough to come forward — thus, her dilemma:
“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.”
Guthrie was clearly emotional over the disturbing allegation, but she continued to say that she knows the sexual misconduct overhaul that society is currently trudging through is vital, albeit painful:
“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.”
Her question of how to reconcile with a loved one after learning they’ve done something bad is one many “Today” fans are left with after the announcement, but at the very least, Guthrie assured viewers they would continue to report on Lauer’s termination with as much transparency as possible.
For now, people have been left with little information. According to Page Six, the reported sexual misconduct allegedly occurred during the 2016 Rio Olympics. It was also reported by CNN that several outlets, including The New York Times and Variety, had been working on a story about Lauer for up to two months.
It’s unclear at this time whether Lauer has been alleged of additional inappropriate sexual behavior, but that possibility was not ruled out, according to the memo NBC employees received.
Despite the media frenzy that Lauer’s termination has already become, Guthrie’s genuine emotion during the announcement proved one thing: no one wins when it comes to sexual misconduct in the workplace, but at the end of the day, it has to be dealt with.