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NBC fires Matt Lauer from Today show for “inappropriate sexual behavior”

Lauer worked at NBC for two decades.

Matt Lauer on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Matt Lauer on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
NBCUniversal; photo by Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Matt Lauer, a longtime host of NBC’s Today show has been terminated from his job over sexual harassment allegations, co-anchor Savannah Guthrie announced on the air Wednesday morning.

Sitting with Hoda Kotb, another Today anchor, Guthrie said Andrew Lack, the chair of NBC News, issued a statement to employees shortly before she announced the news on air.

“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” Lack’s statement read. “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 has 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 the 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.”

A shaken Guthrie said the newsroom had just learned of Lauer’s dismissal moments before announcing the statement on the air.

“As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated, and we are still processing all of this,” she said, adding they know little else beyond Lack’s statement. “But we will be covering this story as reporters, as journalists, and we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come, and I promise we will share that with you.”

Guthrie added she was heartbroken for Lauer, her “dear, dear, colleague” as well as for the employee who came forward with her accusation.

As men in other high-profile positions have faced a collective stream of accusations about sexual harassment, Guthrie asked a question many in several industries, including media and entertainment, are dealing with.

“How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?” she asked. “I do know that this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important, and long overdue, and it must result in workplaces where all women — all people — feel respected.”

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