Matt Lauer firing protects NBC's biggest news moneymaker
Wednesday - 29/11/2017 14:24
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Did things just get real in America?
For the past 23 years, millions of Americans have been waking up in the morning and looking to Matt Lauer to explain the day's events to them. Now, he is the news.
Early this morning, Lauer's Today Show co-hosts announced that he had been summarily fired by NBC News over allegations of "inappropriate sexual behaviour" in the workplace.
"While it is the first complaint about his behaviour in the over 20 years he's been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident," says a statement released by NBC News Chairman Andy Lack.
Lauer, of course, isn't the first prominent figure to be caught up in the ever-advancing scandal over sexual assaults, abuse and predatory behaviour by powerful men. But he is arguably the biggest name so far.
The 59-year-old is a household presence in the United States, having anchored coverage of news events like the 9/11 attacks. It seems like his other high-profile role — hosting NBC's live Olympic broadcasts — was the source of his downfall, with several reports pointing to an incident at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.
Although it's not yet clear when NBC first became aware of the allegations, it seems that multiple media outlets have been investigating the long-married Lauer's past behaviour, including the New York Times and Variety. His Today contract, reportedly worth $20 million US a year, was renewed in Nov. 2016, and runs through the end of next year.
Charlie Rose, his 75-year-old compatriot at CBS This Morning, was fired just over a week agoafter more than a dozen women came forward to accuse him of lewd behaviour and inappropriate advances. And Lauer's one time co-host, Billy Bush, lost his Today Show spot in October 2016 after a tape surfaced of him and now President Donald Trump engaging in crude sexual banter.