Matt Lauer's abrupt termination from NBC News immediately made headlines on Wednesday morning. In an emotional moment on the Today show, his co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie reported Lauer's firing on-air for alleged "inappropriate sexual behavior" toward a colleague.
Guthrie quoted much of a memo sent to staff by NBC News' chairman Andy 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.
Guthrie also noted that she and Kotb had only learned of Lauer's termination that morning, and did not know anything more than the information that had been released thus far to the public.
"How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?" Guthrie asked. "And I don't know the answer to that."
Guthrie noted it was a "dilemma" faced by many in the wake of dozens of high-profile men being accused of sexual harassment and misconduct over the past several months. But she commended the bravery of the colleague who had come forward with her story, saying she was "heartbroken" for her. Guthrie also said she felt heartbroken for Lauer, a "dear friend" and colleague.
"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.
Guthrie and Kotb promised to be "transparent" and "straightforward" as further details of the allegations against Lauer come to light.
Guthrie ended TODAY's report on Lauer by observing that "there's no real way to do this." But she said they would keep reporting the news, along with the crew and viewers and "people that love this show."
Guthrie and Kotb were not the only women on Today who reacted to news of Lauer being let go from the NBC network. Megyn Kelly also weighed in, focusing on the toll sexual harassment takes on women in the workforce.
[W]hen this happens, what we don't see is the pain on the faces of those who found the courage to come forward. And it is a terrifying thing to do. We don't see the career opportunities women lose because of sexual harassment — or the intense stress it causes a woman dealing with it when she comes to work each day. I am thinking of those women this morning, and hoping they are OK.
Lauer is the latest in a string of public figures to lose his job over allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct. Among the highest paid TV anchors in the industry and one of an elite few to achieve household name status, Lauer's firing garnered immediate and widespread attention.
There were plenty of tweets responding to the news of Lauer, some of which expressed less shock than others.
Others noted the way news of Lauer's firing was playing out politically. One of the most noted tweets about Lauer came from President Trump himself, an act that drew its own swift reaction.
As several Twitter users argued, one journalist's career is perhaps not as newsworthy as North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Others pointed out the POTUS should perhaps have something more pressing to pay his attention to than allegations of sexual misconduct leveled at a news anchor. Some brought up the fact that Trump has himself been accused several times of sexual harassment and assault (Trump has denied all allegations against him.)
More details of the allegations against Lauer will almost certainly come to light in the coming weeks. And when they do, Guthrie and Hodt have promised to report those details transparently.