NBC announced on Wednesday morning that longtime anchor Matt Lauer had been fired overnight after the network received a complaint alleging sexual misconduct.
The news was revealed on NBC’s Today show by co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, who were visibly emotional as they made the announcement. Guthrie read a statement from NBC News chairman Andrew Lack, explaining that, on Monday night, a colleague made a “detailed complaint about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” by Lauer.
“It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards,” the statement read. “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 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.”
Guthrie said they had learned the news just moments before going to air. “We are devastated, and still processing all of this,” she admitted, adding that they did not yet know all of the details. She and Kotb shared their heartbreak, both for Lauer and for the brave colleague who came forward with her story. “How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?” Guthrie asked. “I don’t know the answer to that.”
She assured viewers that NBC would be covering the story as journalists, and that they would share more details as they became available.
“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, and all people, feel safe and respected,” Guthrie said. “As painful as it is this moment in our culture, this had to happen.”
(Photo via Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty)