(SL) – NBC “Today” Show host Matt Lauer is the latest high-profile media personality to be fired over allegations of sexual misconduct. NBC News Chief Andrew Lack sent a memo to staff overnight saying the network had received a complaint from a colleague about the long-time morning host and said there was evidence it may not have been an isolated incident.
Lack didn’t provide details but the “New York Post” is reporting that NBC insiders say Lauer is accused of sexually assaulting a network staffer at the Sochi Olympics. The 59-year-old Lauer had hosted “Today” for nearly 20 years.
In the memo, Lack said, “On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer.”
He said the allegation against Mr. Lauer “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.”
Mr. Lauer’s co-host, Savannah Guthrie, announced the news on “Today” on Wednesday morning. Appearing on the verge of tears, Ms. Guthrie said, “All we can say is we are heartbroken; I’m heartbroken.”She described Mr. Lauer as “a dear, dear friend,” and said she was “heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story.”
Calling Mr. Lauer’s resignation part of a national reckoning, she continued, “How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?”
The “Today” staff learned the news shortly before going live. Giving the weather report, a visibly shaken Al Roker said, “I’m still trying to process the news.”
Matt receives criticism years ago over his treatment of then Co-host Ann Curry.Mr. Lauer’s dismissal was seized upon by President Trump, who went on to ask in a tweet when executives at NBC and Comcast, the network’s parent company, would “be fired for putting out so much fake news.”
CBS and PBS fired Charlie Rose earlier this month and Fox News fired Bill O’Reilly in February. Fox News also axed founder Roger Ailes last year after former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit that led to a 20-million dollar settlement.