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NBC fires Matt Lauer over ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’

Published: Updated:

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 allegations that have swept through Hollywood and the media over the past two months.

Also, former “Prairie Home Companion” host Garrison Keillor was fired by Minnesota Public Radio over an allegation of “inappropriate behavior.” It gave no details. MPR terminated contracts with Keillor to produce the radio show “The Writer’s Almanac” and to rebroadcast old episodes of “A Prairie Home Companion.”

At NBC, news chief Andrew Lack said in a memo to the staff that NBC 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 stationed at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued beyond that assignment.

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

Lauer’s former “Today” show colleagues, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, announced the firing on the show shortly after being told themselves. Lauer had been told of his dismissal on Tuesday night.

Lauer becomes the second TV morning host in a week to lose his job over sexual misconduct allegations. CBS News fired morning host Charlie Rose after several women who worked for him complained about his behavior.

Lauer, 59, has essentially been the king of television morning news since first being paired with Katie Couric on “Today” in 1997 and is one of the highest-paid figures in the industry.