Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lauer, Keillor Dropped over 'Inappropriate Behavior'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lauer, Keillor Dropped over 'Inappropriate Behavior'

Article excerpt

NEW YORK * NBC News fired "Today" show host Matt Lauer for what it said Wednesday was "inappropriate sexual behavior" with a colleague, making him perhaps the most familiar figure in America brought down so far by the misconduct accusations that have swept through Hollywood and the media over the past two months.

Also, former "Prairie Home Companion" host Garrison Keillor was cut loose by Minnesota Public Radio over an allegation of "inappropriate behavior." Keillor, 75, said he inadvertently put his hand on a woman's bare back in an attempt to console her.

NBC News chief Andrew Lack said in a memo to the staff that the network received a complaint about Lauer's behavior on Monday and determined it was a clear violation of company standards. NBC said the misconduct started when Lauer and a network employee were at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued beyond that assignment.

Lack said it was the first complaint ever lodged against Lauer, but "we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."

Lauer, one of the most-liked and highest-paid figures in the TV news industry, becomes the second morning host in a week to lose his job over sexual misconduct allegations. CBS fired Charlie Rose after several women who worked for him complained about his behavior.

Messages to Lauer and his agent were not immediately returned, and the network would not say whether he denied or admitted to any wrongdoing. He is married with three children.

Lauer, 59, has essentially been the king of television morning news since first being paired with Katie Couric on "Today" in 1997. For many years, "Today" was the unquestioned ratings leader, until it was eclipsed by ABC's "Good Morning America" after the ugly firing in 2012 of Lauer's co-host Ann Curry. The show had stabilized in recent years with Lauer's pairing with Savannah Guthrie.

Lauer's "Where in the world is Matt Lauer?" segments were popular for years, and he was used by NBC for other events. He had been scheduled to host the network's coverage of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony Wednesday evening.

He joins a lengthening list of media figures felled by sexual misconduct accusations this year. Besides Rose, they include Lauer's NBC News colleague Mark Halperin, Fox News prime-time host Bill O'Reilly and National Public Radio newsroom chief Michael Oreskes. The New York Times suspended White House correspondent Glenn Thrush last week.

Ari Wilkenfeld, the attorney for Lauer's accuser, praised NBC for acting "quickly and responsibly" in response to the morning host's "egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct." The attorney did not identify his client.

Lack, in his memo, said, "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. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.