Today show host Matt Lauer accused of sexual misconduct by two more NBC staffers

FP Staff

Nov,29 2017 19:30 47 IST

New York: After NBC News fired their longtime Today show host Matt Lauer on Wednesday for "inappropriate sexual behaviour," it was a shocker for many Americans who regularly follow the popular show. While NBC News, in an official statement, said that Lauer's expulsion comes after a complaint was received from a colleague on Monday night, there are reports that several other accusations followed after the news came out in public.

According to a report by The New York Times, two more allegations have been received against the Today host on Wednesday itself. One of the accusers who happens to be a former NBC employee, on the condition of anonymity, revealed that Lauer had sexually assaulted her in 2001 after he called her in his room in lieu of official work. She also added that she was so frightened that she didn't report the incident as she didn't want to lose her job.

Lauer's co-host Savannah Guthrie made the announcement of Lauer's dismissal at the top of Wednesday's Today show. Last week, CBS News fired Charlie Rose after complaints from several women who worked for him.

NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said the network had received a complaint from a colleague on Monday night, and a review determined it was a clear violation of company standards. While it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer, Lack said in a memo to staff that "we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."

FILE - In this April 21, 2016, file photo, Matt Lauer, co-host of the NBC "Today" television program, appears on set in Rockefeller Plaza, in New York. NBC News announced Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, that Lauer was fired for "inappropriate sexual behaviour." (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NBC News announced on Wednesday that Matt Lauer was fired for "inappropriate sexual behaviour." AP

Lauer, 59, has hosted Today for two decades. When paired with Katie Couric, Today was the longtime ratings leader and was highly lucrative for NBC. It now runs second in the ratings to ABC's "Good Morning America."

Many Today show viewers took out their anger for the unsightly 2012 firing of co-host Ann Curry on Lauer, sending the show plunging in the ratings. But NBC stuck with Lauer and the show had steadied with his pairing with Guthrie. The show runs for four hours, with Lauer and Guthrie hosting the first two.

He joins a lengthening list of media figures felled by sexual misconduct charges this year. Besides Rose, they include Lauer's former NBC News colleague Mark Halperin, former Fox News prime-time host Bill O'Reilly and National Public Radio newsroom chief Michael Oreskes. The New York Times suspended White House correspondent Glenn Thrush last week.

Lack, in his memo, said that "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."

Guthrie co-hosted Wednesday's show with Hoda Kotb, who said both of them were wakened with the news Wednesday morning. Guthrie appeared emotional and appeared to fight back tears as she called Lauer her friend who is beloved by many at NBC, and said she was "heartbroken for my colleague who came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.

"We are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks," she said. "How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? I don't know the answer to that. But I do know that this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important, it's long overdue and it must result in workplaces where all women, all people, feel safe and respected."

On Twitter on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said "Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for 'inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace.' But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News."

(With inputs from AP)

Published Date: Nov 29, 2017 19:30 PM | Updated Date: Nov 30, 2017 10:02 AM