NEW YORK CITY (KXAN) — Matt Lauer, co-anchor of NBC’s Today Show, has been fired for allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior. In a statement released Thursday, he said
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer wrote. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”
Lauer said that some of what is being said about him is not true or not being characterized correctly, but that “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.” He says his new “full time job” is repairing the damage.
The network reported the “inappropriate sexual behavior” involved a network employee and began when both were assigned to cover the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
Just after 6 a.m. Today Show co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced NBC News Chairman Andy Lack sent a note announcing that Lauer would no longer work there.
“On Monday night we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” the letter stated. “It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of the company’s standards. As a result we have 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. 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.”
Guthrie promised to share more details in the hours and days to come and said she and others at NBC were “heartbroken” for Matt and the brave colleague who came forward.
“We are grappling with a dilemma so many have faced in the past few weeks — how do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? And I don’t know the answer to that,” Guthrie said. “But, I do know that this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important, it’s long overdue and it must result in workplaces where all women — all people — feel safe and respected.”
Lauer is the latest in a series of high-profile men who have been accused of misconduct in recent weeks. CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose was fired Nov. 21 after several women accused him of sexual misconduct. Sen. Al Franken has been accused of kissing and groping a woman during a 2006 USO tour, and Senate candidate Roy Moore has also been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. Actor Kevin Spacey and comedian Louis C.K. have also been accused of misconduct. Actors George Takei and Richard Dreyfuss have also faced accusations of inappropriate behavior.
More and more people have been coming forward in the wake of dozens of allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, which began surfacing in force in October.