Matt Lauer Fired From NBC News Over Inappropriate Sexual Behavior
Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News, Savannah Guthrie announced on Today Wednesday. On Monday night, NBC News chairman Andy Lack received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace on Lauer’s behalf. As a result, the organization decided to terminate his employment. Hoda Kotb joined the anchor to announce his firing, “because this is a sad moment here at Today and NBC News,” Guthrie said.
Guthrie then read the e-mail Lack sent NBC News staffers moments before. “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 20 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 run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender,” Lack wrote. “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.”
An emotional Guthrie remained professional as she delivered the news. “We just learned this moments ago, just this morning. As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated, and we are still processing all of this,” she said. “And I will tell you right now, we do not know more than I just shared with you, but we will be covering this story as reporters as journalists. I’m sure we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come, and we promise we will share that with you. And Hoda, 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 people here. And I’m heartbroken for the brave 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 last 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. But I do know that this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through his important, it’s long overdue, and it must result in workplaces where all women—all people—feel safe and respected. As painful as it is, this moment in our culture and this change had to happen.”
“Yeah, it did,” Kotb said. “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. And again, 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 were both woken up with the news kind of pre-dawn. We’re trying to process it and trying to make sense of it, and it’ll take some time for that.”
“We’re processing it with all of you at home,” Guthrie told Today‘s loyal viewers, “and we promise to be transparent and be straightforward and continue this important conversation.”
Lauer has not commented on his termination; he took over as anchor of Today in 1997. The journalist’s firing comes a week after CBS and PBS fired Charlie Rose amid similar allegations.
(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)