TODAY show co-host Savannah Guthrie fought back tears as she announced longtime NBC News anchor and fellow TODAY co-host Matt Lauer had been fired from the company after a sexual misconduct review.
“This is a sad morning at NBC News,” Guthrie said before reading a statement from NBC News chairman Andy Lack.
“We just learned this moments ago. Just this morning. As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this,” Guthrie said. “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 that with you.”
In a statement released to NBC staff on Wednesday, Lack wrote the company 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.”
Lack added, “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.”
The statement concluded, “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.”
“For the moment, all we can say is we are heartbroken,” Guthrie said Wednesday. “I’m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend, and my partner and he is beloved by many, many people here. 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. We are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks: How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? I don’t know the answer to that. But I do know this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important. It’s long overdue. It must result in workplaces where all women, all people, feel safe and respected. As painful as it is, this moment in our culture, this change, had to happen.”
Added co-host Hoda Kotb, “This is a very tough morning for both of us. I’ve known Matt for 15 years and I’ve loved him as a friend and a colleague. Again just like you’re saying Savannah, it’s hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know who walks in the building every single day.”
In the wake of Wednesday’s broadcast, Guthrie and Kotb were photographed in an embrace on the set of TODAY: