“Today” show host Savannah Guthrie was seen fighting back tears as she announced the firing of co-anchor, Matt Lauer, amid sexual assault allegations.
On Wednesday, the longtime host was fired after a colleague accused him of “inappropriate sexual behavior.”
Savannah Guthrie announces Matt Lauer has been fired from NBC after a complaint of sexual harassment. pic.twitter.com/St9pG73r2H
— Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) November 29, 2017
“This is a sad morning here at ‘Today’ and ‘NBC News,’” Guthrie said. Then, she read a letter from NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack that was sent to employees at NBC, saying that Lauer’s offense may not have been “isolated.”
“We learned this moments ago, just this morning. As you can imagine, we are devastated. And we are still processing all of this,” said Guthrie. “I will tell you, we do not know more than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story, as reporters, as journalists. I’m sure we’ll learn more details in the hours and days to come. We promise to share that with you.”
Lauer was the longest tenured morning show host as well as the highest paid, commanding an annual salary of $25 million.
The New York Post reported that an NBC staffer working at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 came forward and made the accusations against Lauer, saying he sexually assaulted her.
“Hoda, I mean, you know, for the moment, all we can say is 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,” said Guthrie on the show. “And I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.”
“We are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these weeks. How do you reconcile your love for someone with the recognition that they have behaved badly. And I don’t know the answer to that,” said Guthrie. “But I know 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.”
Lack, in his letter, sent it out to NBC employees before the airing of the show. Why he chose to release it then is unclear. Via CNN, here’s his full 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.
And while you’re here …
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