NBC News announced Wednesday morning that longtime "Today" anchor Matt Lauer was fired after receiving a detailed claim of "inappropriate sexual behavior" lodged against him by a female colleague.
"Today" co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, along with host Hoda Kotb, announced his departure at the beginning of the live show. Lauer did not immediately respond publicly to the announcement of his firing.
Guthrie: Good morning, everybody, welcome to "Today." And Hoda's here with me this morning because this is a sad morning here at "Today" and here at NBC News. Just moments ago NBC News Chairman Andy Lack sent the following note to our organization:
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 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.
Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core 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.
That is the statement from our Chairman Andy Lack. And we just learned this moments ago just this morning.
As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this. And I will tell you right now 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 will be learning more details in the hours and days to come. And we promise we will share that with you.
And Hoda, for the moment, all we can say is that 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 who came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.
And we are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks. 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. But I do know that this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important, it's long overdue and it must result in workplaces where all women — all people — feel safe and respected.
As painful as it is this moment in our culture, this change had to happen.
Kotb: Yeah, it did. This is a very tough morning for both of us.
I've known Matt for 15 years and I've loved him as a friend and a colleague and just like you were saying Savannah, it's hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every single day.
We were both woken up with the news kind of predawn, and we're trying to process it, and trying to make sense of it and it'll take some time for that.
Guthrie: Yeah, we're processing it with all of you at home. And we promise to be transparent and be straightforward.
Kotb: We will.
Guthrie: And to continue this important conversation.
Guthrie: And there's no real way to do this, but this show has been on the air for more than 65 years and we're here because of you. We're supposed to bring you the news, and we're going to do that.