Longtime NBC news anchor Matt Lauer has been fired after being accused of sexual misconduct by a colleague.
The bombshell announcement was made during the “Today” show on Nov. 29 by host Savannah Guthrie, CNN reported.
An employee had filed a complaint against Lauer, accusing him of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” according to a statement from NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack.
In his memo to staff, Lack wrote:
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.
Lauer, who became a co-anchor on the “Today” show in January 1997, was not reachable for comment after the news broke. An NBC News spokeswoman did not provide any further details about the allegations against him.
Guthrie said she was told about Lauer’s termination just moments before the show started.
“This is a sad morning at ‘Today’ and NBC News,” Guthrie said during the broadcast. “As I’m sure you can understand, we are devastated. I’m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear colleague.”
Guthrie said she felt heartbroken for the woman who filed the complaint against Lauer, adding that the time for women to feel comfortable calling out abusive men is “long overdue.”
Lauer is just the latest public figure to be accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. “This Morning” anchor Charlie Rose was also just recently terminated from CBS News after The Washington Post published an article chronicling years of sexual misconduct.
The New York Times had been looking into allegations against Lauer for weeks, according to reports.
Sources: CNN (2) / Featured Image: U.S. Department of State/Flickr / Embedded Images: U.S. Department of State/Flickr, U.S. Department of State