It was an emotional morning on the Today show as the hosts delivered the news that their long-time co-anchor Matt Lauer had been fired over inappropriate sexual behavior.
Savannah Guthrie was fighting back tears as she shared a statement from their NBC News boss Andrew Lack that her co-anchor was let go.
‘As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated, and we are still processing all of this,’ said the choked-up host. ‘I will tell you, right now we do not know more than what I just shared with you.’
Guthrie and her co-host for the morning, Hoda Kotb – who normally co-hosts the fourth hour of ‘Today’ with Kathie Lee Gifford – were later seen comforting each other, sharing an on-set hug as they tried to come to terms with the news.
Both appeared deeply shocked by the allegations against their former colleague.
Savannah Guthrie and her co-host for the morning, Hoda Kotb – who normally co-hosts the fourth hour of ‘Today’ with Kathie Lee Gifford – were seen comforting each other, sharing an on-set hug as they tried to come to terms with the news
Both appeared deeply shocked by the allegations against their former colleague
Their fellow Today show hosts Al Roker and Megyn Kelly also looked visibly upset by the news.
Guthrie said she was ‘heartbroken for Matt’ who was ‘my dear, dear friend and my partner. And he is beloved 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,’ she said.
Guthrie acknowledged that she and Kotb were not alone in having to come to terms with the fact that a long-time friend had been accused of sexual misconduct.
Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last month, dozens of women have come forward to accuse celebrities and high powered men of sexual harassment and abuse.
Actor Kevin Spacey, senator Al Franken and filmmaker Brett Ratner are just a few of the men accused in the wake of the scandal and subsequent #MeToo campaign.
Now Lauer, a respected journalist and the host of the Today show for almost twenty years, has been fired after Lack revealed that NBC executives had received a complaint from a colleague ‘about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace’.
Tough morning: The news was announced at the top of the program by Savannah Guthrie, who could be seen clutching Hoda Kotb’s hand for support (above)
Send in the clown: Al Roker was visibly shaken and devoid of the giddiness he frequently displays on air Wednesday, saying he was still trying to process the news
He added that it was the first complaint they’d ever received about Lauer, but they were ‘presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.’
‘We grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks. How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelations they they have behaved badly. I don’t know the answer to that.
Kotb also revealed she was struggling with the news that her friend of 15 years had been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior.
‘It’s a very tough morning for both of us,’ she said. It’s hard to reconcile what we;re hearing with the man we know, and who walks in this building every single day.’
Her co-host acknowledged that ‘this reckoning’ many organisations were going through ‘is important’ and ‘long overdue’ even if it was ‘painful’.
Al Roker also appeared shaken during his Wednesday’s broadcast where he said he was ‘ trying to process’ the shocking news.
Megyn Kelly also addressed the issue, calling Lauer’s firing a ‘sign of progress’ when she opened the third hour of Today but said that the news still hurt her.
‘This one does hit close to home. I, too, have known Matt for a long time. And he’s been a friend and kind and supportive to me in my transition to NBC News. And I see the anguish on my colleagues’ faces,’ said a somber Megyn.
‘When this happens what we don’t see is the pain on the faces of those who have the courage to come forward,’said Kelly, who previously accused Fox News chief Roger Ailes of sexual harassment when she was with the network.
Thanks for the memories: Lauer and Guthrie share a joyful embrace back in January
Fired: Matt Lauer (above on November 8) has been terminated by NBC News following a claim that he sexually assaulted a colleague
Lauer had been at the helm of Today since January 6, 1997, having initially started at NBC in 1992 when he filled in as a newsreader on Today before joining the show in a full-time role two years later.
He has been married for almost 20 years to wife Annette, a former model who was born in the Netherlands. The two wed in 1998, just one year after he was made a co-anchor of the show.
Lauer and his wife have three children – Jack, and Romy and Thijs -who live in East Hampton with their mother while their their father stays in the city alone from Monday through Thursday in an Upper East Side bachelor pad.
His first marriage, to television producer Nancy Alspaugh, ended in divorce in 1988.
Lauer was also briefly engaged to television newscaster Kristen Gesswein, but they split in 1996, two years before he married Annette.
Lauer and his wife came close to splitting back in 2006 after Annette filed court papers stating that he husband valued his work over his family and was ‘extremely controlling.’
Furthermore, Annette claimed at the time she suffered ‘cruel and inhuman’ treatment at the hands of Lauer, who also demonstrated ‘extreme anger and hostility towards her.’
NBC MEMO TO STAFF
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. 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.