Matt Lauer’s Firing and the Subsequent Reactions
Last week, co-anchor of the “Today” show Matt Lauer was fired from NBC News after a colleague complained about his inappropriate sexual conduct. Chairman Andy Lack said that this complaint clearly violated NBC News’ standards, and the company is looking into Mr. Lauer’s behavior as well as whether there were any other misconducts that had gone unnoticed.
Prior to last week, NBC News had not received nor responded to complaints filed against Mr. Lauer and is now trying to figure out what kept employees from bringing these issues to light. The incident reported last week happened in 2014 when the network was covering the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Since then, two others have filed formal complaints to NBC News against Mr. Lauer.
According to Noah Oppenheim, president of the news division at NBC, he and other NBC executives, including Mr. Lack, asked Mr. Lauer several times whether or not he engaged in sexual misconduct against other staff members. Mr. Lauer responded by saying that he has no recollection of any such behavior and that at one point, “I’m racking my brain but can’t come up with anything.”
In the memo from Mr. Lack on Wednesday announcing Mr. Lauer’s firing, the chairman said that the allegation made two days prior was “the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News.” Nevertheless, NBCUniversal’s legal and human resources executives have begun reviewing the incidents and creating ways to improve the work environment.
Fans of the “Today” show have expressed their opinions on Mr. Lauer’s firing after watching the live broadcast on Thursday morning. Some were shocked and disappointed, saying that it was “sad to hear,” also conveying their empathy for the other anchors of the show who had to go on air without Mr. Lauer and discuss their opinions of the situation. Other fans were not surprised by the allegations, saying that people of power “end up doing this all the time.”
In a statement on Thursday morning, Mr. Lauer professed “sorrow and regret for the pain” that he had caused his accusers. He claimed that not all of the rumors were true, but admitted that there was “enough truth” in the complaints to cause him shame and regret. Mr. Lauer concluded his statement by saying that he would be spending a lot of time correcting his flaws and by thanking those around him “for their patience and grace.”