The NBC host Matt Lauer has been fired over a sexual harassment allegation. He interviewed world leaders, hosted NBC’s flagship events and was one of the network’s highest paid hosts.
The fast-moving national reckoning over sexual harassment in the workplace reached the highest level of television news on Wednesday when NBC fired Matt Lauer, the co-host of its most profitable franchise, “Today,” following an allegation that he made inappropriate sexual contact with a subordinate.
NBC News told its staff it was firing Mr. Lauer some 34 hours after the woman and her lawyer visited the network headquarters in Midtown Manhattan to share details of her interactions with Mr. Lauer with company executives.
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” Andrew Lack, the NBC News chairman, said in a memo to the staff. “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
In a division-wide meeting with his staff later in the morning, Mr. Lack said Mr. Lauer’s involvement with the woman began while they were in Sochi, Russia, for the Winter Olympics in 2014, according to two people briefed on the meeting, and that their involvement continued after they returned to New York.
On Wednesday morning, Ari Wilkenfeld, a civil rights lawyer with the firm Wilkenfeld, Herendeen & Atkinson in Washington, said he represented the woman who made the complaint to NBC, but declined to publicly identify her. In a statement provided to The New York Times, he said:
“My client and I met with representatives from NBC’s Human Resources and Legal Departments at 6 p.m. on Monday for an interview that lasted several hours. Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly, as all companies should, when confronted with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace.
copied from newyorktimes