Longtime NBC News anchor Matt Lauer has been fired after the network received a detailed complaint about inappropriate sexual behavior that allegedly happened during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The news came in a memo to the staff shared by NBC chairman Andrew Lack.
Lauer joined "Today" in 1994 and was named co-anchor in 1997. He was one of the industry's highest-paid talents.
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” Lack said in the memo.
Lack said the allegation “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’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
NBC News later confirmed Lauer's alleged sexual behavior continued after the 2014 Olympic games.
Following his firing, at least two more women have come forward to NBC with complaints about Lauer's behavior, including a woman who says she was summoned to Lauer's office for sex, according to a report published Wednesday evening by the New York Times.
After Lauer's firing, Variety reporter Elizabeth Wagmeister revealed she had been working on a story for months featuring multiple women "with far-ranging accusations against Lauer."
"The power of journalism has never been more evident with this cultural change," Wagmeister tweeted.
Lauer's co-anchor Savannah Guthrie read the memo Wednesday morning at the top of the "Today" show. She described Lauer as a "dear, dear friend and my partner, and noted that "it is long overdue" that women feel comfortable in the workplace. "As painful as it is in our culture, this change had to happen."
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
Hoda Kotb co-anchored the show in Lauer's place. "It's hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know who walks in this building every single day,' said Kotb.
Megyn Kelly addressed Lauer's exit at the top of "Megyn Kelly TODAY," saying "he has been a friend, and kind, and supportive to me in my transition to NBC News," but noted "we don't see the career opportunities women lose due to sexual harassment."
"We start this morning with this news: Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News." pic.twitter.com/9g5Ou9r2K6— Megyn Kelly TODAY (@MegynTODAY) November 29, 2017
Kelly was a former anchor for Fox News, where top anchor Bill O'Reilly was ousted due to sexual misconduct allegations. She said that her complaints about O'Reilly were ignored by the network, and accused the network of fostering a toxic culture for female employees.
Lauer is one of several high profile journalists to be fired after sexual misconduct allegations. NBC also terminated its contract with political journalist Mark Halperin in October. Halperin was a regular panelist on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe."
CBS News and PBS terminated "CBS This Morning" anchor Charlie Rose's contract last week after allegations of years of sexual misconduct with several women.
NPR's Michael Oreskes resigned on November 1 after he was accused of kissing two women who were seeking jobs in 1990.
Kathie Lee Gifford also addressed Lauer on "Kathie Lee and Hoda." She texted Lauer this morning, saying "I adore you. No person is perfect."
"I don't feel like Matt has betrayed us at all," said Gifford. "What we need now is forgiveness."
Addressing the victim, she said "May God heal that person."
Hoda Kotb reiterated how the Lauer's colleagues are still struggling to process what happened. "You've loved someone so much and then you hear something and you think how does that make sense?"
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