NBC fires Matt Lauer over inappropriate sexual behavior

Matt Lauer has been fired from the Today show for inappropriate sexual behavior, Deadline reports. A colleague filed a “detailed complaint” against the longtime anchor, who’d held the post for over 20 years, on Monday night. NBC News chairman Andrew Lack then issued a memo to the morning show staffers, a statement that was read early Wednesday on Today by Savannah Guthrie with Hoda Kotb by her side.

There are currently no details on the complaint against Lauer, but while Lack said it was the first time anyone had lodged such a complaint, NBC News was “presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.” Here is Lack’s statement in full:

Dear Colleagues,

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’s dismissal comes on the heels of CBS’s firing of Charlie Rose and NBC News’ termination of MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin after sexual harassment allegations were made against both men by several women.

After reading Lack’s statement, Guthrie said Lauer’s colleagues were “devastated” by the news, but showed support for the person who came forward. Echoing Gayle King’s sentiments about Charlie Rose, Guthrie said, “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? And I don’t know the answer to that.”

Update 8:09 a.m.:
The New York Times and Variety have been investigating Lauer “for several weeks” over the misconduct allegations, which Page Six is now indicating could actually be sexual assault. The publication cites an NBC insider, who says Lauer sexually assaulted a female colleague during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

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