NBC News has fired Today Show anchor Matt Lauer following allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. The news organization moved swiftly, having received the complaint on Monday night and then informing Lauer of the decision Tuesday night. NBC News chairman Andy Lack said in a memo to staff, “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.”
The New York Times’s Jim Rutenberg was the first to break the news this morning.
The Today Show did not shy away from their own news this morning, with a shellshocked Savannah Guthrie saying she was “heartbroken” for both her friend Lauer and the accuser. She also said that she had no knowledge beyond what was reported this morning.
NBC News has quickly moved to scrub Lauer online. The header banner on Twitter for the Today Show no longer has an image of Lauer and his profile page on the Today Show’s website has already been deleted. Furthermore, Matt Lauer’s NBC email seems to have been deactivated and Lauer’s profile page on NBC Universal’s press site has been cleared of content.
Lauer’s case is slightly different than the other instances of inappropriate sexual behavior as NBC News acted before reports broke of Lauer’s behavior. Both the Times and Variety, an industry trade magazine, were working on stories regarding the allegations. In addition, Lauer is easily the highest-profile man to have a fall from grace as a result of this behavior. Lauer has been with the Today Show since 1994 and served as co-anchor since 1997. Lauer was also a constant presence on NBC’s special coverage. He filled in for Bob Costas during the Sochi Olympics when Costas came down with a case of pink eye and co-hosted coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade every year. During this year’s parade, it was noted that this was Lauer’s 20th Thanksgiving parade. Lauer was also scheduled to host Christmas in Rockefeller Center tonight, alongside Today hosts Hoda Kotb, Guthrie, and Al Roker.
Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News. On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. pic.twitter.com/1A3UAZpvPb
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 29, 2017
Read the full memo from Lack:
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.