Matt Lauer fired from NBC for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace’

Matt Lauer has been terminated for “inappropriate workplace behavior,” NBC News chairman Andrew Lack wrote in a memo to staff that was read at the top of the Today show Wednesday.

Lauer has served as co-anchor of NBC’s morning news program since 1997. He joined Today in 1994.

Joined by Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie announced that her former co-anchor had been terminated, reading a memo sent to NBC staff, which USA TODAY also obtained.

“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,” Lack said in the memo.

It continued, “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.”

Guthrie said the news, which she learned moments before announcing it on air, has left her “devastated.”

“I’m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here,” Guthrie said.

“And, I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.”

Later in the news program, NBC News’ Stephanie Gosk gave more information about the firing.

“A spokesperson for the company says that the accuser described inappropriate sexual behavior throughout 2014 and because of the seriousness of the accusations, together with information that it may not be an isolated incident, NBC decided to terminate Lauer’s contract,” she said.

In a report from The New York Times, employment law litigator Ari Wilkenfeld says he represents the female who complained of Lauer’s alleged behavior to NBC.

Though the Times says Wilkenfeld declined to identify his client, he did provide a statement to the news outlet.

In the statement, Wilkenfeld said he and his client met with representatives from NBC’s Human Resources and Legal Departments Monday evening for a lengthy interview.

Wilkenfeld said he felt encouraged by NBC’s quick response. 

President Trump, who has also made headlines recently for reportedly questioning the Access Hollywood tape of him making vulgar comments about women, was swift to respond to the news of Lauer’s firing via Twitter Wednesday.

“Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.’ But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!”

Lauer is one of several high-profile journalists to be ousted after accusations of sexual harassment in recent weeks.

CBS and PBS dropped news veteran Charlie Rose last week following a Washington Post report that detailed years of alleged sexual misconduct with several women.

Rose issued a statement via Twitter on Nov. 20, denying the accuracy of the allegations in totality but also acknowledging he was “greatly embarrassed” by his “inappropriate behavior.”

National Public Radio’s news chief Michael Oreskes resigned on Nov. 1 following a story in The Washington Post detailing allegations that he had kissed two women who were seeking jobs in the 1990s.

Political analyst Mark Halperin and New York Timesreporter Glenn Thrush have also faced allegations of sexual harassment.

For the last two months, powerful men in Hollywood, like producer Harvey Weinsteinand actor Kevin Spacey, have also faces accusations of sexual harassment and assault.

Weinstein’s growing list of accusers currently totals to 83.

USA TODAY has reached out to Lauer’s reps for comment.

If you have ever experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct while working in the entertainment industry, we’d like to hear from you. Send us a secure tip using the instructions at newstips.usatoday.com.

This article was originally published by usatoday.com

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