Pompous Today show anchor Matt Lauer was fired on Wednesday due to “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” A complaint alleging misconduct in 2014 was filed with NBC Monday night by an employee.
A morning memo issued by NBC News chairman Andrew Lack states that this is the first complaint against Lauer, but the network was “also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.” That belief probably stems from impending investigative bombshell stories about more lurid sexual harassment allegations against Lauer, so this firing is likely an effort by NBC to deflect the shit that will be inevitably splattering. The New York Times has apparently been investigating the smug morning show host for weeks, and Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh and Elizabeth Wagmeister have been working on serious accusations against Lauer for two months. Wagmeister tweeted that “there are multiple women we’ve spoken to with far-ranging accusations against Lauer,” of which NBC was aware.
So far no comment from Lauer.
A tearful Savannah Guthrie—who was informed of the decision to fire her co-host at “predawn”—made the announcement at the beginning of Wednesday’s Today show broadcast, with highly capable co-host Hoda Kotb at her side filling in for the terminated Lauer. Perhaps this arrangement could be permanent unless Ann Curry and Tamron Hall are offered the job in recompense for vindictive Lauer orchestrating their separate ousters, which has been the lasting rumor.
Lauer has held the NBC co-anchor post for over two decades, and his recent contract of “tens of millions” would have run through 2018.
Of the information flooding into today’s news cycle, the complaint from the NBC female employee supposedly makes an accusation of sexual assault during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. It should be repeated for good measure that Katie Couric, Lauer’s former co-anchor, was asked by Andy Cohen during a 2012 appearance on Watch What Happens Live! to name Matt Lauer’s most annoying habit.
“He pinches me on the ass a lot,” Couric stated.
Lauer is the latest in a gaggle of high-powered men—Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey and just as we were going to press, public radio icon Garrison Keillor —to have their cushy lives upended because their predatory sexual behavior has come to light.
(Editor’s note: Featured photo is a composite of portrait of Lauer and Lauer dressed in a Dolly Parton Halloween costume.)