Megyn Kelly Addresses Matt Lauer 'Today' Show Firing, Praises Women Coming Forward About Sexual Harassment
By Jackie Willis
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Megyn Kelly was as shocked as her Today show colleagues to hear that Matt Lauer was fired from the Today show, but was also showed concern for the woman accusing the 59-year-old newsman of "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace."
On Wednesday morning, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced at the top of the Today show that Lauer -- who started on the NBC morning show in 1994 -- was let go from the network after allegations of sexual misconduct. Lauer did not comment on the allegations or his recent termination until Thursday morning at the top of the Today show.
Hours later, Kelly reacted to the news on her show, Megyn Kelly Today, and admitted that she too was taken aback by the allegations.
"This one does hit close to home," Kelly told viewers. "I too have known Matt for a long time and he has been a friend and kind and supportive to me in my transition to NBC news. I see the anguish on my colleagues' faces, but when this happens, what we don't see is the pain on the faces of those who found the courage to come forward, and it is a terrifying thing to do."
She added, "We don't see the career opportunities women lose because of sexual harassment or the intense stress it causes a woman dealing with it when she comes to work each day. I am thinking of those women this morning and hoping they're OK."
Kelly also shared a message of hope while seemingly addressing not only the sexual allegations against Lauer but also other powerful men in the spotlight, including former CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose and former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who Kelly worked with when she was employed at the cable news network.
"The days to come will not be easy. We are in the middle of a sea change in this country, an empowerment revolution," she said. "Women, who thought for years that they had no choice but to be sexually harassed at work, are now starting to picture another reality -- to feel that change is in their grasp."
She continued, "As painful as this moment is for so many here at NBC today, at CBS earlier this month, at Fox News over the last year, in Hollywood this fall, it is a sign of progress -- of women finding their voices, their courage, and of the erosion of a shameful power imbalance that has been in place for far too long."
Kelly further remarked on the prior sexual misconduct allegations made against men who worked at Fox News, including O'Reilly and the late Roger Ailes. "I have been at another news channel where this has happened, as you know," she noted. "A news organization is bigger than one person. They all face challenges, they all stumble. But the good ones stay standing and forge forward fulfilling their correlation -- journalism. We'll continue to stay on the story."
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."
Guthrie and Kotb were also visibly emotional when announcing that Lauer's firing. "As I'm sure you can imagine, we are devastated," Guthrie said. "We are still processing all of this."
Kotb agreed, adding, "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."
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
Meanwhile on CBS This Morning, King and Norah O'Donnell reported on Lauer's termination and admitted that they can sympathize with Kelly and her colleagues as it was only a week ago that Rose was fired from CBS after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct when they were working on his PBS show.
"I look at that picture and I have a sickening feeling of déjà vu," King said somberly. "Certainly because we’re dealing with our own situation here. It does send a message that you’re not too big to fall."
Here's how the co-anchors reported on Rose's sexual misconduct allegations last week: