Matt Lauer has been fired by NBC. The 59-year-old, who co-hosts The Today Show and is one of the best-paid TV presenters in the US, has been sacked over "inappropriate sexual behaviour", the network has confirmed in a statement. His Today co-host Savannah Guthrie announced the news at the start of Wednesday's show, reading a statement from NBC News chairman Andrew Lack, before sharing her own shocked reaction with viewers. In the statement, Mr Lack said that NBC had "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," it read. "As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment. While it is the first complaint about his behaviour 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."
Her voice audibly shaking, Savannah then addressed the news, telling viewers: "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. 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 added: "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." The 45-year-old further promised that the show would be "transparent" in covering her co-host's termination.
Hoda Kotb, who joined Savannah in Matt's usual seat, added: "It's hard to reconcile with what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every single day. 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."