On Wednesday morning US time, TODAY US host Savannah Guthrie had to tell the world her co-host had been fired from NBC over allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour.
Visibly distressed, Guthrie read from a statement issued by the chairman of NBC News Andrew Lack, addressing the allegations made against Matt Lauer. She herself had only become aware of moments beforehand.
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment,” the statement read.
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
“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.”
After reassuring Americans the network would continue to report on the allegations against Lauer with transparency, Guthrie expressed the complex range of emotions that come with a dear friend being accused of a despicable act.
LISTEN: Mia Freedman and US Journalist Amelia Lester deep dive on Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ press conference, and all the offensive things he said on Twitter this week. Post continues after.
For context – Lauer is much like the Karl Stefanovic or David Koch of American breakfast television.
‘We are heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Matt – he is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he has been loved by many, many people here. And I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story, and any other women who have their own stories to tell,” Guthrie told viewers, unable to hide her emotions.
"We are grappling with a dilemma so many people have faced these past few weeks, how do you reconcile the love you have for someone with the revelation that they've behaved badly? And I don't have the answer to that."
Since the news broke, multiple allegations about the 59-year-old television presenter, who earned a salary of US$25 million per year, and his inappropriate sexual behaviour at work.
According to Variety, who spoke to 10 women in a two-month long investigation, Lauer allegedly had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his office door from the inside so he could proposition women without interruption.
The publication also reported he once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present, including an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, that he would quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, and engaged staff in games of “f*ck, marry, or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.
Former TODAY Australia host, Lisa Wilkinson has addressed the allegations, tweeting, "When it comes to breakfast TV, dismissals don't get much bigger than this..."
When it comes to breakfast TV, dismissals don't get much bigger than this... https://t.co/QWlbwPuq1d
— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) November 29, 2017
No doubt there will be more revelations regarding Lauer's behaviour over the coming days as 'the reckoning' continues to topple men in power.