Matt Lauer is the latest public figure to be accused of sexual misconduct, and celebrities are making their thoughts known

By Stephanie Petit
November 29, 2017 10:52 AM
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Matt Lauer is the latest public figure to be accused of sexual misconduct, and celebrities are making their thoughts known.

News of the longtime Today anchor’s termination over allegations of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” broke Wednesday morning, when his co-anchor Savannah Guthrie read a memo from NBC News chairman Andrew Lack. Though Lack stated this was the first complaint lodged against Lauer, 59, in his two-decade career at the network, he also revealed “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

Corey Feldman, who Lauer interviewed on Today last month about the former child star’s mission to raise $10 million to make a movie outing his alleged Hollywood abusers, was quick to react on Twitter.

“HMMMMM INTERESTING…..THIS MIGHT EXPLAIN THE HOSTILE INTERVIEW WHILE I WAS TRYING 2 EXPOSE THE #TRUTH….EH MATT?” the actor wrote.

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Yvette Nicole Brown reflected on other recent stories of sexual misconduct, including CBS’s firing of Charlie Rose last week and multiple claims against President Donald Trump.

“Sad to realize that entertainment companies like CBS and NBC have a higher standard for conduct than a lot of the voters in America,” she said.

Rose McGowan, who accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape, tweeted, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Matt Lauer.” (A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”)

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!”

Gayle King also addressed Lauer’s firing on CBS This Morning: “I look at that picture and I have a sickening feeling of déjà vu. Certainly because we’re dealing with our own situation here. It does send the message and shows that you are not too big to fall. There is now clearly a no zero tolerance policy and I think that that’s a good thing, as painful as this is when this happens to someone that we know and that we care about. I take no joy in this — none of us do at this table. It’s just a very sad situation all the way around. But I think everybody’s sending a very powerful message and encouraging women to speak up. People are listening and they believe you and that is important.”

The Today anchors were visibly shaken when delivering the news.

“We just learned this moments ago, just this morning,” Guthrie said, with her voice cracking. “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.”

RELATED VIDEO: PEOPLE Writer Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Attack

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.

“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.”