NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – NBC News has fired long-time Today Show co-host Matt Lauer over inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.
NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said the network had received a complaint from a colleague on Monday night, and a review determined it was a clear violation of company standards. While it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer, Lack said in a memo to staff that “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Lauer, 59, has hosted “Today” for two decades. When paired with Katie Couric, “Today” was the longtime ratings leader and was highly lucrative for NBC. It now runs second in the ratings to ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The Today Show on Wednesday began the program with news of the termination. Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie made the announcement as she sat with Hoda Kotb.
Guthrie said both she and Kotb were awakened with the news Wednesday morning. Guthrie appeared to fight back tears as she called Lauer her friend who is beloved by many at NBC, and said she was “heartbroken for my colleague who came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.
“We are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks,” she said. “How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? I don’t know the answer to that. 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.”
NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack sent the following memo to employees on Wednesday morning:
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.
News of Lauer’s termination comes just one week after . He joins a lengthening list of media figures felled by sexual misconduct charges this year. Besides Rose, they include Lauer’s former NBC News colleague Mark Halperin, former Fox News prime-time host Bill O’Reilly and National Public Radio newsroom chief Michael Oreskes. The New York Times suspended White House correspondent Glenn Thrush last week. “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose over allegations of sexual misconduct