Foxnews.com - (11/29/17)
On the same day the giant Christmas tree is being lit outside NBC studios at Rockefeller Center in New York City, the network dumped one of its biggest stars.
“Today” show co-host Matt Lauer was fired Wednesday due to inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, an incident "Today" honchos said they learned about just two days ago.
Lauer's stunned co-anchor Savannah Guthrie was joined by Hoda Kotb to announce the news on "Today."
"This is a sad morning here at 'Today' and at NBC News," Guthrie said before reading a note from NBC News Chairman Andy Lack.
"Dear colleagues, on Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer," Lack's statement read. "It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment."
The statement said this is the first complaint regarding Lauer's behavior the company has received "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," the statement said.
Lack said NBC's "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."
An emotional Guthrie admitted "we just learned this moments ago" and said the "Today" team is "devastated and we are still processing all of this."
"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."
Kotb said she and 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 said NBC will be "covering this story as reporters" and will share more details "in the hours and days to come."
At the beginning of the 8 a.m. hour, Stephanie Gosk reiterated the news of Lauer's firing and told viewers the NBC staffer had complained about inappropriate behavior from Lauer throughout 2014, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Meanwhile, The New York Post, citing a source, reported an incident occurred during the coverage of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The details could not immediately be confirmed.
The "Today" show anchors weren't the only ones reacting to the surprising development. President Trump also chimed in on Lauer's firing on Twitter as the news broke.
Lauer, 59, had a $20 million/year contract that would have taken him into 2018. Lauer's firing comes just days after "CBS This Morning" host Charlie Rose was canned for his behavior towards women, which included showering naked in front of them at his home. That leaves just "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos as the remaining male anchor of the big three network morning shows.
Lauer married Annette Roque in 1998. She filed for divorce in 2006 and accused the anchor of "cruel and inhumane" behavior before withdrawing her petition one month later after reaching a private agreement. They have 3 children.
According to Page Six, Lauer and Roque live separate lives.