On Wednesday morning, NBC News announced that it had fired "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer for "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace," which chairman Andrew Lack told employees in a memo "may not have been an isolated incident."
An emotional Savannah Guthrie, who has co-hosted with Lauer for years, accompanied by Hoda Kotb for support, made the announcement on the show Wednesday, having just been presented with the news "moments ago" (video below). Guthrie read from Lack's memo, which reads:
Dear colleagues, 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 here 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.
"This is a sad morning at 'Today' and NBC News," said Guthrie. "As I'm sure you can understand, we are devastated. I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear colleague."
Kotb added that it was "hard to reconcile the man who walks in every day," and whom she had loved as a "friend and colleague," with the allegations.
Lauer began hosting "Today" in 1997.
Below is the painful on-air announcement "Today" tweeted out along with a partial quote from Lack's memo:
UPDATE: On Wednesday morning, Page Six reported that a female NBC staffer told the outlet that Lauer had sexually assaulted her during the Rio Olympics:
Matt Lauer allegedly sexually assaulted a female NBC staffer during the Rio Olympics, sources told Page Six. The staffer, who has not been named and wishes to remain anonymous, complained to NBC News bosses yesterday, prompting them to move fast and fire him.