Matt Lauer has been fired from the Today show for “inappropriate workplace behavior.”
Savannah Gutherie opened Wednesday’s show with the news.
“Hoda [Kotb]’s here with me this morning because this is a sad morning here at Today and at NBC News,” a visibly emotional Guthrie began.
NBC News chairman Andy Lack broke the news to the NBC team in a letter, saying Lauer had been accused by a female colleague of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News. On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. pic.twitter.com/1A3UAZpvPb
Matt Lauer Fired From 'Today' -- How Will the Morning Show Move Forward?
In the letter to staff, Lack noted that on Monday night they had received a "detailed complaint" from a colleague, which led to a "serious review." Calling Lauer's alleged actions a "clear violation of our company's standards." Lack went on to note that he had immediately fired Lauer.
"While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with a reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident," Lack wrote. "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.”
Guthrie went on to note that the Today show staff learned the news just moments before going on the air.
"As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated," she said. "And we are still processing all of this. And I will tell you right now, 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 will be learning more details in the hours and days to come and we promise we will share all that with you."
Guthrie said she was "heartbroken" for Lauer, calling him her "dear, dear friend and my partner," adding, "He is beloved by many, many people here." She added, "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 noted that she and other Today employees are grappling with their feelings about the situation, noting, "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."
Kotb agreed, saying, "This has been a tough morning for both of us. I've known Matt for 15 years, and I've loved him as a friend and as a colleague. And again, just like you were saying, Savannah, it's hard to reconcile what we're hearing with the man who we know who walks in this building every single day. We were both woken up with the news pre-dawn and we're trying to process it."
Lauer, who first joined Today in 1994 as the program's news anchor, became a co-anchor in 1997. Since then, he's had a number of co-anchors, including Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry and Guthrie. His last day on Today was on Tuesday.