The sexual misconduct allegations against Matt Lauer that just came to light apparently occurred three years ago.
A source at NBC tells ET that the 59-year-old newsman was fired from the Today show after a woman came forward accusing Lauer of "inappropriate sexual behavior" throughout 2014, including at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The network source also tells ET that the woman spoke with human resources on Monday, and the decision to terminate Lauer's estimated $20 million contract was decided on Tuesday night.
Another source tells ET that NBC News chairman Andrew Lack had an editorial call on Wednesday morning, and told employees that Lauer was remorseful and understood their decision to fire him. The source adds that the allegations that the accuser brought forward are very credible, which is why NBC decided to take action.
ET also received a statement from the attorney representing Lauer's accuser. "My client and I met with representatives from NBC’s Human Resources and Legal Department at 6 p.m. on Monday. Over the course of several hours, my client detailed egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct by Mr. Lauer," Ari Wilkenfeld of Wilkenfeld, Herendeen & Atkinson law firm says. "In fewer than 35 hours, NBC investigated and removed Mr. Lauer. Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly and responsibly, as all companies should when confronted with credible allegations about sexual misconduct in the workplace."
The statement continues, "It is our hope that NBC will continue to do what it can to repair the damage done to my client -- their employee -- and any other women who may come forward. While I am impressed by NBC’s response to date, I am awed by the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than asking the company do the right thing. This is how the system should work."
On Wednesday morning, Lauer's former colleagues, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, broke the news of his termination on the Today show by reading aloud a company-wide statement from NBC News chairman Andrew 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," Guthrie read Lack's statement. "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."
Lauer's former co-workers were clearly shaken up by the news. “We just learned this moments ago, just this morning,” Guthrie said, visibly emotional. “As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this."
“How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? I don’t know the answer to that,” the 45-year-old journalist added. “But I do 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.”
Today show meteorologist Al Roker -- who had worked with Lauer since 1996 -- also commented on the termination, saying, "I'm still dealing with the news of a friend of 30 years and we're all trying to process it."
Lauer did not comment on the allegations or his recent termination until Thursday morning at the top of the Today show.
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