Matt Lauer Has Been Fired From TODAY Show After Allegations Of 'Sexually Inappropriate Behavior'

On Wednesday morning, America was awoken with the disturbing news that Matt Lauer, co-host of the “Today” show, has been fired for “sexually inappropriate behavior.” Early in the morning, NBC News chairman Andy Lack sent a memo to the staff stating that “on Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer.”

Lack writes that while this is the first complaint NBC has received about Lauer, “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.” The memo goes on to emphasize NBC’s desire to “create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected” and “to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender.”

Lauer’s co-host, Savannah Guthrie, was well-composed but visibly upset as she made the announcement on the show Wednesday morning. She stated, “Right now, we do not know more than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story as journalists and I’m sure we’ll be learning more details in the hours and days to come and we promise we will share that with you.”

Guthrie acknowledged the heartbreak that comes with such a realization: “We are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks. How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?”

In the wake of so many sexual misconduct allegations, this is an increasingly pertinent issue. Last week after Al Franken was accused of sexual assault, women of SNL wrote a memo sending “support and gratitude to Al and his family this Thanksgiving and holiday season.” This brought up a difficult conversation: When you love a person, how do you come to terms with the fact that they did something unacceptable? By showing support for Franken instead of condemning his behavior, were the women of SNL unintentionally excusing his behavior?

It is becoming clear that misogyny and sexual assault are norms in our culture. The #MeToo movement provided evidence that very few women are exempt from being victims of sexual harassment or assault. Therefore, it is heartbreaking, but not surprising that so many powerful men are being revealed as perpetrators. Perpetrators of sexual assault are not just those we traditionally view as “villains.” They are our coworkers, our role models, our family members and our friends. Because we have for so long allowed sexual misconduct to be excused as a “cultural norm”, we have opened up the door for “normal” people to participate in it. This needs to change.

It is beneficial for us, as a culture, to see Guthrie struggling with this issue, as it opens up the door for the us to struggle alongside her. Although sexual misconduct towards women has been ingrained in society to the point where it’s excused and often encouraged, it is absolutely disgusting and unacceptable. 

“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," Guthrie said. "As painful as it, is this moment in our culture and this change had to happen.”