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NBC Fires Matt Lauer for “Inappropriate Sexual Behavior.” The Women of The Today Show Respond.

News broke this morning that longtime Today Show host Matt Lauer had been fired from NBC due to a complaint received by a female employee detailing “inappropriate sexual behavior.” Above, you can watch as Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie, joined by her colleague Hoda Kotb, gracefully report the news while grappling with having only recently heard about it themselves.

The NBC news organization received a memo early this morning apprising employees of the situation, that Lauer had been fired due to the complaint they received. The memo stated that his alleged behavior was a “clear violation of our company’s standards,” and that while this was the first complaint they received in Lauer’s 20+ years with the organization, NBC was “presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

NBC asserted that their “highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected.”

Both women seem visibly shaken that Lauer, whom they’ve each known, worked with for years, and considered a friend, had behaved this way. Guthrie says:

“I’m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he is beloved 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.

How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? I don’t know the answer to that. This reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important, it’s long overdue, and it must result in workplaces where all women—all people—feel safe and respected.”

It’s a refreshing change to hear Guthrie express her conflicted feelings this way, acknowledging her love of her friend while simultaneously supporting the woman who brought the complaint, not dismissing the complaint out of hand to protect someone she cares about, like some have done recently.

Kotb then shares her own feelings about the news:

“I’ve known Matt for 15 years and I’ve loved him as a friend and as a colleague…it’s hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every single day. We were both kind of woken up with the news pre-dawn, and we’re trying to process it, and trying to make sense of it, and it’ll take some time for that.”

They go on to promise that, as journalists, they will cover the story with honesty and transparency as they grapple with the situation right along with the viewers, and this might have something to do with the way that they’re handling the situation. They still have a job to do, and while they of course have personal feelings about it, they also have a responsibility to the truth.

I have several friends who either currently work, or used to work in TV news, and while Lauer’s firing was a shocking bit of news this morning, the rumors about him have apparently existed for over a decade, so the part of NBC’s statement that talks about this “not being an isolated incident” wasn’t really a surprise to them.

This was apparently a long time coming. Better late than never.

(via The Daily Beast and Vulture, image: screencap)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.