(WOWT) NBC News has terminated longtime Today Show anchor Matt Lauer in the midst of allegations about inappropriate sexual behavior.
NBC News chairman Andrew Lack said in a memo that Lauer was fired after, “a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
Savannah Guthrie began the Today Show Wednesday by reading Lack's memo.
Here is that statement:
"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.
Lauer is the latest high-profile man in media to be brought down by allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. Just last week, CBS News fired one of its own morning anchors, Charlie Rose, after a report in The Washington Post chronicled years of sexual misconduct.
The torrent began when The New York Times and The New Yorker reported on allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Since then, actors Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. have been suspended or removed from projects after allegations against them became public. And other prominent journalists, including Mark Halperin of NBC and Michael Oreskes of NPR, have been fired or suspended from their jobs.
The firing of Lauer removes one of the most recognizable personalities on television, and at a time when morning news programs are increasingly important to network news divisions.
Guthrie said she was informed just moments before going on the air.
"This is a sad morning at 'Today' and NBC News," she said. "As I'm sure you can understand, we are devastated. I'm heartbroken for Matt."
Guthrie also said she was heartbroken for the woman who accused Lauer of misconduct, noting "it's long overdue" that women feel comfortable coming forward against abusive men.
Hoda Kotb, on the set with Guthrie, said she has known Lauer for years and "loved him as a friend and a colleague."
"It's hard to reconcile the man who walks in every day" with the person who was identified in the complaint, she said.
Lauer was not immediately reachable for comment. An NBC News spokeswoman declined to comment about the details of the allegation against him.
Reporters for The New York Times had been investigating Lauer for several weeks, according to sources who had been contacted by the Times.
Lauer, 59, was named a co-anchor of "Today" in January 1997.