Matt Lauer Responds to Allegations of “Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour”

According to a statement from NBC, this is the first complaint against Lauer, but there is reason to believe it will not be the last

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29: Matt Lauer attends NBC's "Today" at Rockefeller Plaza on September 29, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)

(Photo: Noam Galai/WireImage)

Dec. 1, 9:14a.m.: Updated to include Matt Lauer’s statement, as read by his Today Show co-host, Savannah Guthrie

A statement released by NBC early Wednesday morning revealed that journalist Matt Lauer has been fired from the network over allegations of “inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace.”

According to the statement from NBC News chairman Andy Lack, the complaint was filed by one of Lauer’s colleagues on Monday night, at which point the network conducted a “serious review” and found that Lauer had violated company standards.

The New York Post is reporting that Lauer allegedly sexually assaulted a female NBC staff member, who has not yet been named, during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The unnamed source is believed to be the staffer who came forward to NBC on Monday. “There have been rumors about Matt having affairs with subordinates at NBC for years, but those were believed to be consensual. This incident in Rio was not,” Page Six was reportedly told by an unnamed source.

The NBC chairman notes in his statement that this is the first complaint that NBC has received about Lauer, but that there may be more victims that have not yet come forward.

“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,” writes Lack in the statement. “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.”

New York-based reporter Yashar Ali, who has written for New York Magazine and Huffington Post, tweeted that numerous other reporters, including himself, have been made aware of Lauer’s misconduct, even before the allegations against Harvey Weinstein surfaced.

The statement was read in full by Today show co-host, and Lauer’s co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie, who appeared visibly emotional on air. Guthrie notes that she had just learned the news earlier this morning as is “still processing all of this.”

“All we can say is that we are heartbroken. I am heartbroken for Matt, he is my dear, dear friend and my partner and he is beloved by many, may people here. And I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell,” said Guthrie. “And we are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these weeks: how do you reconcile your love for someone with the recognition that they have behaved badly? And I don’t know the answer to that.”

On Thursday, December 2, Guthrie read a statement provided by Lauer on the Today Show. In it, Lauer said, “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”

“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” Lauer continued. “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching, and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”

FLARE will continue to update this story as it develops.

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