NEW YORK – The NBC television network announced on Wednesday that it fired one of its top hosts, Matt Lauer, after it received a complaint that he engaged in “inappropriate sexual behavior” in the workplace.
Lauer, 59, for two decades had hosted the “Today” program, one of NBC’s most important and popular shows.
The announcement of Lauer’s dismissal was made by NBC News chairman Andrew Lack, who in a message to employees that was released by the network said that the complaint was made by one of the host’s unidentified female work colleagues.
“Dear colleagues, on Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” Lack said in his statement.
“It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment,” the NBC chief said, adding that the network had “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,” Lack added.
The case comes amid many other similar complaints in recent weeks against representatives of the film and communications industries, a saga that began after several women complained that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed and/or abused them.
Among the cases that have emerged are ones against NBC political commentator Mark Halperin for abuses allegedly committed when he was political director for ABC News, and CBC and PBS journalist Charlie Rose.