This morning started on shaky ground at the “Today” Show set, as news was announced that long-time anchor Matt Lauer had been terminated for complaints of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb broke the news at the start of the show, visibly affected by the emotion of it all: “This is a sad morning at Today and at NBC News,” Guthrie said, “We just learned this moments ago just this morning. As I’m sure you can imagine we are devastated.”
“All we can say is that we are heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner and he is beloved by many, many people here. And I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.”
Guthrie read this statement that had just been released by NBC News Chairman Andy Lack:
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.”
Kotb said she and Guthrie “were both woken up with the news, kind of predawn, and we’re trying to process it and trying to make sense of it.”
Guthrie told Today viewers, “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.”
She added, “But I do know that this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important. It’s long overdue and it must resolve in workplaces where all women, all people, feel respected.”