Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker were clearly shaken by the news of their colleague Matt Lauer‘s termination from NBC over allegations of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” as they continued with Today.
Guthrie started Wednesday’s show by sharing the news that NBC News chairman Andrew Lack sent a memo to staff announcing Lauer’s firing. He also said that it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer in his two-decade career at the network but stated “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
“We just learned this moments ago, just this morning,” Guthrie said, with her voice shaking. “As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated 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 that with you.”
She continued, “We are heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Matt – he is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he has been loved by many, many people here. 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.”
“How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? I don’t know the answer to that,” Guthrie added. “But I do know this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important, it’s long overdue, and it must result in workplaces where all women — all people — feel safe and respected.”
Kotb joined Guthrie in Lauer’s usual seat, calling it a “tough morning.”
“It’s hard to reconcile with what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every single day,” Kotb said. “We were both woken up with the news, kind of pre-dawn, and we’re trying to process it and trying to make sense of it – and it’ll take some time for that.”
Al Roker was visibly upset, saying that he was “trying to process” the news about his friend of 30 years.
Kate Snow, an anchor for MSNBC and NBC Nightly News, also reacted to Lauer’s termination via Twitter.
“Like Savannah, I am having trouble processing this news,” she wrote, retweeting the on-air announcement.
President Donald Trump also responded to the news on Twitter, writing, “Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.’ But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!”
“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,” Lack said in the statement. “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.
“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. To that end, Noah and I will be meeting with as many of you as possible throughout the day today to answer your questions.”
The move comes a week after CBS News fired morning anchor Charlie Rose amid reports of sexual misconduct.
Lauer got his start at NBC in 1992 when he filled in as a newsreader on Today, becoming a co-anchor of the morning show in January 1997.