NBC fires Matt Lauer after sexual misconduct allegation

Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Long-time NBC "Today" show morning host Matt Lauer was fired Monday night over unspecified sexual misconduct charges.

Unlike most recent cases which involved detailed journalistic stories in which victims had come forward to discuss what had happened against celebrities like Louis C.K. and Charlie Rose, NBC made this move on its own.

RELATED: Sex scandals now creating real consequences

UPDATE: Variety magazine's piece about Lauer harassing women came out a few hours later

“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” Andrew Lack, the NBC News president, said in the memo. “It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.”

And while he had not heard other situations like this regarding Lauer in his 20-plus year of employment at NBC, "we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident," Lack added.

“We are deeply saddened by this turn of events,” Lack concluded, “But we will face it together as a news organization – and do it in as transparent a manner as we can."

Lauer took over for Bryant Gumbel as anchor on the "Today" show in 1997 after five years at WNBC in New York. He has worked alongside Ann Curry and Katie Couric over the years. NBC reupped Lauer's contract in 2016 for two years at a reported $20 million a year, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The publication did say journalists had been digging into Lauer's past so more information is likely to come out soon. Variety reporter Elizabeth Wagmeister confirmed this was the case there with this Tweet:

Savannah Guthrie, with Hoda Kotb by her side, made the announcement at 7 a.m. this morning:

As you can imagine, we are devastated. And we are still processing all of this. I will tell you, we do not know more than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story, as reporters, as journalists. I’m sure we’ll learn more details in the hours and days to come. We promise to share that with you. For the moment, all we can say is we are heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner. And he is beloved by many, many people here. And I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward.

NBC's Stephanie Gosk reported that the accuser said the inappropriate behavior happened in 2014.

Lauer is the second high-profile morning host to get fired over sexual harassment charges following Rose on "CBS Morning News" last week.

Pres. Donald Trump tweeted about the news at 7:16 a.m. this morning and made a dig at his former employer NBC:

Showing how times have changed, TMZ this morning dug up a 2012 "Watch What Happens Live" interview Couric had with Andy Cohen where she said Lauer pinched her butt a lot during the nine years they worked together. That revelation at the time barely made a ripple.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.