NBC fires longtime host Matt Lauer after sexual misconduct allegations


Nicolas Khayat, courtesy of Tribune News Service

TV anchor Matt Lauer (NBC’s Today show) is photographed as he arrives at the “Audrey Hepburn: The Beauty Of Compassion,” an exhibition and auction event to benefit the UNICEF education program held at Sotheby’s in New York City, New York on Monday, April 21, 2003. (Nicolas Khayat/Abaca Press/TNS)

Meredith Hoffman, Assistant News Editor

“We are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these 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,” said an emotional Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday, Nov. 29 as she reported the news that longtime Today Show host Matt Lauer had been fired by NBC for alleged sexual misconduct in the workplace.

The news of Lauer’s termination from his 20-year position on the Today Show follows a string sexual assault allegations against prominent men in news media and Hollywood after almost 80 women accused director Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.

The allegations against Lauer have yet to be made public, but NBC released a statement on Wednesday saying, “On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer.”

The statement went on to say that the complaint had been the first lodged in Lauer’s 20 years with NBC News.

By Wednesday afternoon, however, two more women had come forward with allegations of misconduct against Lauer. One woman who chose to remain unnamed told the New York Times that Lauer “summoned her to his office in 2001 and then had sex with her.”

As her statement continued, the woman said she passed out after the encounter and had to receive medical attention. The event went unreported due to the fact that the woman was a subordinate of Lauer and said she was afraid of losing her job after the alleged sexual misconduct occurred.

The woman who lodged the initial complaint for which Lauer was fired has chosen to remain anonymous thus far, but she is being publically represented by civil rights lawyer Ari Wilkenfeld.

“While I am encouraged by NBC’s response to date,” Wilkenfeld said about his client to the New York Times, “I am in awe of the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than the company do the right thing.”

Wednesday, Nov. 29, Lauer released a statement both apologizing for his actions and denying the legitimacy of others.

“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,” said Lauer. He then went on to say that some of the allegations are “untrue or mischaracterized.”

As of Friday, Dec. 1 up to eight women have come forward with accusations against Lauer. Many of these accusations have yet to be made public and all of the women have chosen to remain anonymous.