NBC News Fires Matt Lauer for Alleged 'Inappropriate Sexual Behavior'

NEW YORK, NY (ABC NEWS) - NBC News has fired "Today Show" host Matt Lauer after a colleague accused him of "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace," the network said today.

NBC News chairman Andrew Lack announced Lauer's termination in a memo this morning, which was obtained by ABC News. He said the company received "a detailed complaint from a colleague" Monday night "about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer."

"It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards," Lack continued. "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."

Lauer's co-host Savannah Guthrie read the memo on-air at the start of the show this morning. She told viewers she and others were "still processing" Lauer's firing.

"We learned this moments ago, just this morning. As you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this," she said. "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 heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here," she continued. "And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell."

NBC News correspondent Stephanie Gosk, citing a network spokesperson, reported that Lauer’s accuser described “inappropriate sexual behavior throughout 2014.”

"A spokesperson for the company says the accuser described inappropriate sexual behavior throughout 2014. And because of the seriousness of the accusations, together with information that it may not be an isolated incident, NBC decided to terminate Lauer's contract," Gosk said.

"There had been these rumors going around for some time, reporters started chasing them and clearly it got the attention as it should have," Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times reporter who broke the Lauer story, said in a telephone interview on "Good Morning America" today.

"But the move by Andy Lack was swift and let there be no doubt this is a seismic moment in our culture and in the media," he said.

Lauer's firing comes one week after CBS News terminated veteran journalist Charlie Rose over accusations from multiple women of sexual misconduct.

ABC News' JuJu Chang and Matt Foster contributed to this report.


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