Matt Lauer: NBC sacks star Today Show host over sex allegation

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Matt LauerImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Lauer had a contract worth a reported $20m per year

Matt Lauer, one of the most famous TV news anchors in the US, has been fired by NBC over an allegation of sexual misconduct.

NBC said: "On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace by Matt Lauer.

"As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment."

Lauer co-hosts The Today Show. NBC said it had "reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident".

In another bombshell, one of the most beloved voices on US public radio, Garrison Keillor, said he was fired because he touched an upset woman's bare back to console her.

Minnesota Public Radio said an individual who worked with Keillor on his variety show, A Prairie Home Companion, had accused him of inappropriate behaviour.

Of the Matt Lauer allegations, NBC News chairman Andy Lack said it was the first complaint about their star anchorman's behaviour in his time there, more than 20 years.

But Mr Lack added it represented a "clear violation of our company's standards".

Hours later on Tuesday, Variety magazine reported that multiple women had allegedly accused Lauer of sexual harassment.

The magazine, citing unnamed sources, reports the television star allegedly exposed himself to a female employee, invited multiple female staff members to his hotel room while on assignment and had a button installed beneath his desk that allowed him to lock his door without getting up.

Lauer has not responded to the alleged claims.

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Lauer co-host reacts to allegations: 'I'm heartbroken'

Last year, Lauer signed a new contract with the network worth a reported $20m (£15m) per year.

As well as fronting the morning show, he was chosen to moderate an election debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

And he has conducted high-profile interviews, such as the one in which Charlie Sheen confirmed he is living with HIV in 2015.

In an emotional video, Today co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb said they were "heartbroken".

"As I'm sure you can imagine we are devastated and are still processing all of this," Guthrie said.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Lauer (left) with Today co-hosts Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Carson Daly

"I'm heartbroken for Matt - he is my dear, dear friend and my partner and he has been loved by 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."

Workplaces 'must be safe'

She added: "This reckoning that so many organisations 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."

Lauer's agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The New York Times quoted lawyer Ari Wilkenfeld as saying he was representing the woman who had made the complaint and that they met NBC legal and HR staff on Monday, for an interview that lasted several hours.

The US president posted his response to Lauer's sacking on Twitter.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Lauer's departure comes two weeks after NBC executive Matt Zimmerman, who was reported to have worked closely with Lauer, was fired after allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Last October, Billy Bush left The Today Show after a tape emerged of him making lewd comments with Donald Trump in 2005.

Last week, CBS sacked Charlie Rose, one of its leading anchors, amid allegations of sexual misconduct. In April, Fox News sacked its best-known presenter, Bill O'Reilly.

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