At this time last year, NBC fired then-star anchor Matt Lauer after a “detailed complaint” of “inappropriate sexual behavior.”
“It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards,” NBC News chairman Andy Lack wrote in a note to staff that morning.
Lauer had been full time co-anchor of the Today show for 20 years, and was reportedly the highest-paid host at NBC ($25 million per year).
Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb were made aware of the news that Lauer had officially been fired when they arrived in the office at the crack of dawn that day, and they kicked off the broadcast with the news.
Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News. On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. pic.twitter.com/1A3UAZpvPb
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 29, 2017
This was one of the biggest media stories (if not THE biggest) of 2017, and every major morning show reported on it that morning.
Other TV networks quickly jumped on the news. Maria Bartiromo reported it on FBN even before the Today show at 6:57 a.m.. Bloomberg’s David Westin reported the news at 7:01 a.m. “We just flipped on the Today show and Matt Lauer was canned. This was shocking to me,” said the crew of Comcast Sports Net’s Mid-Atlantic morning show.
CBS This Morning reported the story at 7:06, ABC’s Good Morning America and Morning Joe reported the story at 7:09, HLN at 7:10, Fox News at 7:11, CNN at 7:14, CNBC at 7:17 and C-SPAN at 7:18, according to TVEyes.
While NBC offically fired Lauer off a single complaint, Variety reported at the time that it had spoken with nearly a dozen current and former employees who still recall their experiences with the longtime NBC Newser.
Esquire reported that Lauer –whose history of sexual harassment at NBC they reported went all the way back to 2000– once used Today’s internal-messaging system to get the attention of a production assistant 20 years his junior named Addie Zinone.
NBC has stated on the record that it had no prior knowledge of any complaints made against Lauer.
Meanwhile, yesterday evening Tucker Carlson had former NBC and Fox News anchor Linda Vester –the woman who earlier this year had accused Tom Brokaw of sexual harassment back in the 1990s– on his Fox News program to talk about the Lauer firing, and what, if anything, has changed at NBC News one year later.
Carlson’s guest seems to think little has changed, going so far as to claim that NBC “is silencing women,” and naming Lack personally.