NBC Fires Today Anchor Matt Lauer for ‘Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in the Workplace’

He’s the second morning show anchor to be let go in a week

Matt Lauer had been co-anchor of Today since January 1997. Getty Images
Headshot of Jason Lynch

Yet another prominent TV figure has been fired as a result of sexual harassment allegations, as NBC announced this morning that it has terminated Matt Lauer, who co-anchored Today for 20 years.

“We just learned this moments ago,” said Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, who broke the news on-air this morning. “We are devastated.”

In a staff memo, NBC News chairman Andy Lack said that the company had fired Lauer after a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” The allegation, which was received Monday night, “represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards.”

Lack said that while this had been the first complaint about Lauer’s behavior, “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.” He continued, “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.”

Lauer joined Today as news anchor in 1994, and was named co-anchor in 1997. He had celebrated his 20th anniversary as co-anchor on the show earlier this year.

He is the second morning news anchor in eight days to be fired because of sexual harassment allegations. Last week, CBS News fired CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose following a Washington Post story detailing sexual harassment allegations from eight women.

They join the list of high-profile men in the entertainment industry to lose their jobs in the wake of sexual harassment allegations from victims who went public following the dozens of allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. FX and Netflix cut ties with comedian Louis C.K. after The New York Times reported that five women had accused him of sexual misconduct; the comedian confirmed the allegations a day later after denying them for years.

Sexual harassment allegations have also upended the two shows that put Netflix and Amazon on the map—House of Cards and Transparent—which will try to go forward without stars Kevin Spacey and Jeffrey Tambor. Former Amazon Studios chief Roy Price exited the company a month ago after the publication of a Hollywood Reporter story in which a producer on Amazon’s Man in the High Castle alleged that Price sexually harassed her in 2015. And CBS announced Monday that it would not be ordering more episodes of Wisdom of the Crowd, whose star Jeremy Piven has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women.

While Hoda Kotb anchored Today alongside Guthrie this morning, there was no immediate word on Lauer’s permanent replacement.

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.