JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Matt Lauer, the longtime host of NBC's "Today" show, has been fired over a complaint alleging "inappropriate sexual behavior" in the workplace.
The sudden termination was first reported on social media by Jim Rutenberg, a media columnist for The New York Times, and confirmed by journalists for NBC and BBC.
Savannah Guthrie, Lauer's co-anchor, addressed the news on Wednesday's edition of the show, reading a statement from NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack.
Lack stated a serious review found Lauer's behavior constituted a "clear violation" of company standards, but noted it marked the first complaint received about the anchor in over 20 years.
"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. To that end, Noah and I will be meeting with as many of you as possible throughout the day today to answer your questions."
The move follows the firing of "CBS This Morning" host Charlie Rose, who was hounded by a wave of complaints from former employees citing unwanted sexual advances.
In a tweet, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter reported that The New York Times had been investigating allegations against Lauer for weeks when the story surfaced.
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
Moments after the news broke, President Donald Trump weighed in on the stunning development, wielding it like a cudgel against Lack for what he perceived to be biased coverage:
Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2017
Reporters for the @NYTimes had been investigating Matt Lauer for several weeks. Here's my story -- updating it every few minutes https://t.co/vZnRELwC2C — Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 29, 2017
This developing story will be updated as additional details surface.
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