Top US news anchor fired over 'sexual misconduct'

November 29, 2017 11:01 PM

WASHINGTON: Matt Lauer, one of the most famous TV news anchors in the US, was on Wednesday fired by NBC over an allegation of sexual misconduct.

"On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace by Matt Lauer," NBC News president Andrew Lack said in a memo to staff.

He said the allegation against 59-year-old Lauer "represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment", the New York Times reported.

Lauer's co-host, Savannah Guthrie, made the announcement on the "Today" show. "We are devastated," she said. The "Today" show is one of the most popular and most profitable franchises on American television. Lauer was the cornerstone of the programme for two decades.

Guthrie described Lauer as "a dear, dear friend" and said she was "heartbroken for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story."

Calling Lauer's dismissal part of a national reckoning, Guthrie continued, "How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?"

Lauer's dismissal was seized upon by President Donald Trump, who went on to ask in a tweet when executives at NBC and Comcast, the network's parent company, would "be fired for putting out so much fake news".

Lauer is the latest high-profile man in the media to be brought down by allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour. Just last week, CBS News fired one of its own morning anchors, Charlie Rose, after a report in The Washington Post chronicled years of alleged sexual misconduct on his part.

The torrent began when The New York Times and The New Yorker reported on allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Since then, actors Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. have been suspended or removed from projects after allegations against them became public.

And other prominent journalists, including Mark Halperin of NBC and Michael Oreskes of NPR, have been fired or suspended from their jobs.

Lauer was named a co-anchor of "Today" in January 1997 after three years as newsreader. He co-anchored NBC's coverage of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and other historic news events.

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