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US Today show host Matt Lauer fired over sexual harassment claims

Wednesday - 29/11/2017 11:42
US Today show host Matt Lauer has been fired after an employee made allegations of “inappropriate sexual behaviour” at the Rio Olympics.
Journalist Matt Lauer attends the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards. Picture GettySource:Getty Images
Journalist Matt Lauer attends the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards. Picture GettySource:Getty Images

US Today host Matt Lauer has been fired after a colleague complained of sexual harassment, reportedly in response to an incident at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” Andrew Lack, the NBC News president, said in a statement.

“It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment,” it continued.

“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.”

Today host Savannah Guthrie embraces colleague Hoda Kotb after news of Matt Lauer’s axing became public. Picture: AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
Today host Savannah Guthrie embraces colleague Hoda Kotb after news of Matt Lauer’s axing became public. Picture: AP Photo/Craig RuttleSource:AP

Lauer’s Today co-host Savannah Guthrie announced the news on the show, speaking through tears as she told the audience “This is a sad morning here at Today ... all we can say is we are heartbroken; I’m heartbroken.”

“We just learned this moments ago” she said, adding the Today team were “devastated and ... still processing all of this.”

Matt Lauer interviewing Donald and Melania Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Picture: twitter/Donald J. Trump Jr
Matt Lauer interviewing Donald and Melania Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Picture: twitter/Donald J. Trump JrSource:Supplied

She called Lauer “a dear, dear friend,” and that she was “heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story”.

Guthrie admitted feeling torn over the revelations.

“How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?”

Lauer allegedly sexually assaulted a female NBC staffer during the Rio Olympics, sources told the New York Post.

The staffer, who has not been named and wishes to remain anonymous, complained to NBC bosses yesterday, prompting management to move fast and fire him.

“An NBC staffer came forward with a claim that Matt sexually assaulted her at the Olympics,” the source said.

“There have been rumours about Matt having affairs with subordinates at NBC for years, but those were believed to be consensual. This incident in Rio was not.”

Lauer’s <i>Today</i> co-host Savannah Guthrie said she was “devastated” by the claims. Picture: Getty Images
Lauer’s Today co-host Savannah Guthrie said she was “devastated” by the claims. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

After the news broke Variety magazine reporter Elizabeth Wagmesiter revealed she and another journalist know of “multiple women” who say they’ve been sexually harassed by Lauer.

“Ramin Setoodeh and I had been working on a Matt Lauer story for months and NBC was aware,” she tweeted.

“There are multiple women we’ve spoken to with far-ranging accusations against Lauer. The power of journalism has never been more evident with this cultural change.”

In a statement, NBC News boss Andy Lack said: “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 organisation — and do it in as transparent a manner as we can.”

The NBC personality was fired for &quot;inappropriate sexual behavior.&quot; Picture: AP
The NBC personality was fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior." Picture: APSource:AP

President Donald Trump tweeted about the scandal minutes after the news broke.

“Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” Mr Trump wrote.

“But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!”

Mr Trump also asked when the network “would be terminating the contract” of MSNBC executive Phil Griffin, before making a vague remark about another US TV morning host, Joe Scarborough.

So now tha Matt Lauer is gone when will the Fake News practitioners at NBC be terminating the contract of Phil Griffin? And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the “unsolved mystery” that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2017

Lauer has been a fixture on Today more than 20 years, first joining as a news reader in 1994 before becoming co-host in 1998.

The news comes after a stream of high-profile men in the entertainment and media industries, in Australia and abroad, have faced sexual harassment allegations.

— With the New York Post.

Source: News Corp Australia Network:

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