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Matt Lauer fired over allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior

Television host Matt Lauer has been fired from NBC’s “Today” show after a colleague complained that he engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, network officials said Wednesday. NBC News chairman Andy Lack said in a memo sent to staff that the company received the complaint on Monday and moved swiftly to terminate Lauer's employment. "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," Lack said.

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  1. Nov 30, 2017 7:06 AM EST: Lauer issued the following statement, which Savannah Guthrie read Thursday morning on "Today":

    "There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry.

    "As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.

    "Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul-searching, and I'm committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full-time job.

    "The last two days have forced me to take a hard look at my own troubling flaws. It's been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace."

    >> Watch the clip here
  2. Nov 30, 2017 3:46 AM EST: Fox News host Geraldo Rivera has apologized following backlash to his controversial tweets about Matt Lauer and sexual harassment.

    "Reaction to my tweets today on #sexharassment makes clear I didn't sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem long hidden," he wrote, calling harassers "deviants who deserve what is coming to them."

    He continued: "Often victims are too frightened to come forward in a timely fashion. I humbly apologize."

    >> See the apology here
  3. Earlier in the evening, Fox News also issued a statement about Rivera's tweets defending Lauer.

    "Geraldo's tweets do not reflect the views of Fox News or its management," the statement said. "We were troubled by his comments and are addressing them with him."
  4. Nov 29, 2017 5:45 PM EST: Variety reporters worked for two months interviewing staffers and confirming details on the sexual assault allegations against longtime morning show host Matt Lauer. NBC officials, however, are still saying they've never had any complaints against Lauer until Monday night.
  5. Nov 29, 2017 5:25 PM EST: After he was fired, NBC received two more complaints alleging Lauer engaged in inappropriate behavior, the New York Times is reporting. One of the complaints involved a former worker who claimed that "Lauer had summoned her to his office in 2001, locked the door and sexually assaulted her," the Times wrote.

    Read more here.
  6. Nov 29, 2017 4:29 PM EST: Former "Today" show host Matt Lauer is getting some support from an unlikely source: Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera. Rivera suggested in a Twitter post that Lauer may have just been flirting with the women who have complained about his behavior.
  7. Nov 29, 2017 3:59 PM EST: Three women told Variety magazine that they were sexually harassed by Lauer. The women declined to be identified for fear of professional repercussions.
  8. Two of the women told Variety that Lauer had button under his desk that allowed him to lock the door of his 30 Rockefeller Center office without getting up.

    "It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him," the magazine reported, citing two of the women who said they were sexually harassed by Lauer.

    Other incidents described to the magazine from current and former "Today" show employees included Lauer giving one of his colleagues a sex toy as a present and, along with it, "an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified," according to Variety.

    "On another day, he summoned a different female employee to his office, and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis," the magazine reported. "After the employee declined to do anything, visibly shaken, he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act."

    Lauer had a lot of clout at the "Today" show and sources told Variety that meant he knew that no one would complain about his advances.

    "There is such shame with Matt Lauer not liking you,” a former female employee told the magazine. “I did this special with him and we are traveling and I had a cold sore on my lip and I heard him say to Bryant Gumbel, ‘She has this really ugly cold sore on her lip,’ like that was something to be ashamed of. He was just really cruel.”
  9. Nov 29, 2017 3:34 PM EST: The "Today" show will not replace Matt Lauer for its airing of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Rockefeller Center, scheduled to air Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly reported.

    The entertainment site reported that, "the show will go ahead without Lauer, and he will not be replaced by another NBC staffer for the event. Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, and Hoda Kotb will serve as hosts as originally announced."
  10. Nov 29, 2017 1:42 PM EST: The alleged "inappropriate sexual behavior" that prompted NBC News officials to fire longtime "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer started while he was covering the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to NBC News.

    NBC News chairman Andy Lack said earlier Wednesday that the network received a complaint Monday from one of Lauer's colleagues, alleging inappropriate behavior.

    “It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards," Lack said. “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

    NBC News reported that the alleged behavior continued even after the games wrapped.

    The New York Times reported that the newspaper's journalists met with Lauer's accuser on Monday but that she said she was not ready to tell her story publicly.

    In a statement to the Times, the woman's attorney, civil rights lawyer Ari Wilkenfeld, applauded his client's courage "to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than the company do the right thing.
  11. Nov 29, 2017 12:58 PM EST: Former "Today" show co-host Natalie Morales, who still serves as the show's west coast anchor, said she was "just in shock" after learning of Lauer's firing Wednesday morning.

    "The 'Today' show, of course, has been my family for 16 years now, and it is difficult," she said on "Access Hollywood Live."

    "I think everyone is saying how difficult it is to process the news. I have personally dealt with rumors in the past for years that were hurtful to me, my family – they diminished my hard work. I've addressed those rumors head-on in the past. That is not the story today. The story today is the courage of a colleague who did come forward, and when and if she wants to tell her story publicly, I’m sure she will. But it did take a lot of courage for her to come forward. It was no doubt a very painful decision."

    Rumors swirled last year after the "Today" show announced that Morales would be moving to Los Angeles to host "Access Hollywood" and "Access Hollywood Live." Gossip sites and magazines reported that the move was prompted by the end of an affair between Morales and Lauer.

    “There is absolutely no truth to this completely absurd story," Morales told Page Six last year. "It is damaging, hurtful and extremely sexist. I have proven myself in all aspects of my job as a news professional and journalist, and am adding to my role, taking on three jobs with ‘Access Hollywood Live’ and ‘Access Hollywood,’ in addition to ‘Today.’ This move was dictated by me and my desire to grow in my career. Any insinuations beyond that are uninformed.”
  12. Nov 29, 2017 10:56 AM EST: In a statement to The New York Times, a lawyer who said he represented the woman who complained to NBC met with company human resources and legal officials for an hours long interview Monday night.

    "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," civil rights attorney Ari Wilkenfeld told the Times.

    “While I am encouraged by NBC’s response to date, I am in awe of the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than the company do the right thing.”

    The woman met with Times reporters Monday, according to the newspaper. However, she said she was not ready to publicly share her story.
  13. Nov 29, 2017 10:46 AM EST: George Scarborough, brother of MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, slammed President Donald Trump on Wednesday after he implied that the former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and current TV news host killed his intern in 2001.
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