CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Matt Lauer, a longtime anchor on NBC’s “Today,” is out of work after being fired for alleged “inappropriate sexual behavior.”
Lauer did not immediately respond publicly to his dismissal which was announced at the start of Wednesday’s “Today.”
Andrew Lack, chair of NBC News, said the network received a detailed complaint from a female colleague of Lauer’s.
NBC reported the alleged behavior happened during and after the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment,” Lack said in a staff memo.
“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.”
Bob Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture at Syracuse University, called NBC’s response time “extraordinary” during an appearance on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“Monday, they got the first accusation in over 20 years of his career and, by Wednesday at 7 a.m., he’s off the air and fired from NBC,” Thompson said.
Lauer, 59, who attended Ohio University, got his start in journalism at WOWK-TV in Huntington where he worked his way into an on air position in 1980.
He had multiple jobs in other markets before returning to his native New York City.
In 1994, Lauer joined “Today” as a news anchor before taking over as co-host in 1997 alongside Katie Couric.
Lauer is the latest public figure to be fired after public allegations of sexual misconduct.
“I admire the people who have come forward,” said U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) after news of Lauer’s firing. “It cannot be easy especially in the spotlight like this.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that Capito co-sponsored which mandated sexual harassment training for U.S. senators, staff and interns.
“It’s incumbent upon us to create an environment where the workplace is safe for men and women to either (A) come forward or (B) to feel safe,” Capito said.
“It’s just stunning to me the power that we see attached to these sexual harassment charges.”