On Wednesday morning, Savannah Guthrie sat next to Hoda Kotb on the Today show and read a memo from NBC News Chairman Andy Lack announcing that Matt Lauer had been fired from the network following a complaint of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Lack, who oversees NBC News and MSNBC, originally ran NBC News from 1993-2001 before rejoining NBC in 2015 after the network's Brian Williams scandal, where it was revealed that the reporter had fabricated claims about coming under fire in a U.S. Army helicopter in Iraq, USA Today shares.
Since his return, Lack has dealt with issues like NBC's delay in releasing an Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women's genitals, as well as attacks from now-president Trump on Twitter. The network had also assigned reporter Ronan Farrow to investigate sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein but declined to run his story. Farrow took his piece to the New York Times and published it in October.
After Lauer's firing, questions were raised about how much the network knew about his alleged behavior, if it knew anything at all.
In the memo sent to employees announcing Lauer's firing, Lack wrote, "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," he continued. "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."
Photo Credit: Getty / Brendan Smialowski