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NBC News announced Wednesday morning that longtime Today show host Matt Lauer has been fired after an employee reported an incident of “inappropriate sexual behavior.”
“This is a sad morning here at Today,” cohost Savannah Guthrie said at the opening of the program Wednesday, before reading a statement sent to staff by NBC News chairman Andrew Lack.
In the statement, Lack said that an employee came forward on Monday night to report Lauer for inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.
He went on to say that while this is the first such allegation against the anchor in his more than 20 years at the company, there's reason to believe it was not an isolated incident.
“We are deeply saddened by this turn of events,” Lack's statement read, “but we will face it together as a news organization and do it in as transparent a manner as we can.”
Guthrie, who was accompanied by cohost Hoda Kotb, was choked up after reading the statement and said that she had just received the news herself.
“As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this,” she said, adding that they would continue to report this story as journalists.
“All I can say is we are heartbroken,” Guthrie said. “How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? And I don't know the answer to that.”
Kotb said she's known Lauer for 15 years and has loved him as a friend and colleague.
“It's hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man we know, who walks in this building every single day,” Kotb said.
NBC News has said it will face this news in as “transparent a manner as we can.”
Here's Lack's full statement:
Dear colleagues, 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 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. Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter 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.
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