Matt Lauer allegedly sexually assaulted a female NBC staffer during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, sources told Page Six.
An NBC insider said Lauer’s alleged victim complained to HR on Monday: “This happened so quickly. She didn’t go to the media, she made a complaint to NBC’s human resources, and her evidence was so compelling that Matt was fired on Tuesday night. The victim says she has evidence that this has also happened to other women, but so far we don’t have evidence of that.”
Another source tells us that the decision to fire Lauer was made late Tuesday night by NBC News chairman Andy Lack.
Lauer’s firing comes amid rumors that several news outlets were working on stories about his alleged sexual misconduct.
Reporters for the New York Times had been investigating Lauer for several weeks, according to sources who had been contacted by the paper, CNN reported.
Lauer’s co-anchor Savannah Guthrie made the stunning announcement Wednesday morning at the top of the show by reading a statement from Lack.
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment,” Lack wrote.
“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,” he continued.
“Our highest priority is 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.
“We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization — and do it in as transparent a manner as we can.”
A visibly shaken Guthrie, who has worked with Lauer since 2012, said she was informed about his ouster just a few moments before going on the air.
“We just learned this moments ago, just this morning. As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this,” she said.
“And I will tell you right now, we do not know more than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story as reporters, as journalists. I’m sure we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come, and we promise we will share that with you.”
She added: “We are heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for Matt — he is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he has been loved 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.”
Her co-host Hoda Kotb called it a “tough morning,” noting that she has known Lauer for years and “loved him as a friend and a colleague.”
“It’s hard to reconcile with what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every single day,” Kotb said. “We were both woken up with the news, kind of pre-dawn, and we’re trying to process it and trying to make sense of it — and it’ll take some time for that.”
Al Roker, who was giving the weather report, also was visibly upset, saying that he was “trying to process” the news about his friend of three deacdes.
Lauer’s axing comes a week after CBS News fired one of its own morning anchors, Charlie Rose, after several women accused the “CBS This Morning” co-host of sexual misconduct.
“Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.’ But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!”
Comcast is NBC’s parent company.
Lauer, 59, was named co-anchor of “Today” in January 1997 after three years as the news reader.
His wife, Annette, famously filed for divorce in 2006, accusing him of “cruel and inhumane” behavior, but withdrew the filing a month later after they reached a private agreement.
They ostensibly live separate lives — she lives full time in the Hamptons with their children, while Matt resides in the city during the week.