Matt Lauer, one of the most prominent names in television, has been fired by NBC after more than two decades as anchor of the Today show following accusations of sexual misconduct.
The network had confirmed that Lauer’s abrupt termination stems from “inappropriate sexual behavior” against another NBC employee dating back to the 2014 Sochi Olympic games. Lauer has thus far not commented on the allegations.
Lauer’s co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie, held back tears as she announced Lauer’s firing and read a statement from Andrew Lack, the chairman of NBC News, at the very top of Wednesday’s show.
“Dear colleagues, on Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer.
“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.”
After reading the statement, Guthrie said, “I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story.
“How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they’ve behaved badly?”
Lauer, who first began filling in on Today in 1992 and took over as co-anchor in 1997, has been a fixture on TV, anchoring what was for many years the most popular morning show in America with a mix of levity when needed — he often dressed in drag for the show’s annual Halloween broadcast — and serious news acumen. He interviewed presidents and the biggest celebrities and newsmakers of the day.
He is the latest major public figure to be accused of sexual misconduct in a wave of revelations that have been made public since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last month.
Following the announcement, President Donald Trump, who has been interviewed by Lauer multiple times, tweeted, “Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.’ “
He then went on to say that the top executives of NBC and parent company Comcast should be fired for “putting out so much Fake News.”