It has been one year since Matt Lauer was fired from the Today show after allegations that he sexually harassed a colleague were revealed. And since then, quite a lot of things have changed in a year. Scroll down to read everything you need to know about the scandal that rocked NBC and the world.
Matt’s Shocking Firing
On Nov. 29, 2017, Matt — who had worked on Today full-time as a news anchor since 1994 — was given the boot after some disturbing allegations came to light. Allegations that included an unidentified female NBC employee who reported that Matt had sexually harassed her during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. We also learned that this was not an isolated incident. Of course, after more than 20 years with NBC and with Today, Matt was fired. Matt’s co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie, shared some words to the world on Today as we all learned about it.
“This is a sad morning for us at Today show and at NBC News,” Savannah said on-air that day. “Just moments ago, NBC chairman Andy Lack sent the following note to our organization: ‘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. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.'”
Savannah also added this, while in tears, “We learned this moments ago, just this morning. As you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this. I will tell you, we do not know more than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story, as reporters, as journalists. I’m sure we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come, and we promise we will share that with you. I’m heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend, and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here. And I’m heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.”
Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News. On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. pic.twitter.com/1A3UAZpvPb
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 29, 2017
Matt Breaks His Silence
The following day, Matt himself released a statement on the matter: “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry,” the statement read. “As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
He continued, “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full-time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
Details On Matt’s Accuser
All that we have learned of Matt’s accuser is that she worked with NBC and worked the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, with a source revealing this: “This happened so quickly. She [the accuser] didn’t go to the media, she made a complaint to NBC’s human resources, and her evidence was so compelling that Matt was fired on Tuesday night. The victim says she has evidence that this has also happened to other women, but so far we don’t have evidence of that.”
While we haven’t heard from the accuser herself, her lawyer, Ari Wilkenfeld, did quickly release a statement on behalf of his client: “My client and I met with representatives from NBC’s Human Resources and Legal Departments at 6 p.m. on Monday for an interview that lasted several hours. Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly, as all companies should when confronted with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace.”
“While I am encouraged by NBC’s response to date,” Wilkenfeld continued, “I am in awe of the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than the company do the right thing.”
Matt Leaves Social Media And Is Erased From Today‘s Website
As most celebrities do when a scandal hits them, Matt then went ahead and deleted his Twitter, his Instagram, and his Facebook accounts. The move wasn’t totally surprising as Matt received a ton of backlash following the news of what he allegedly did. And for good measure, his former employer Today wiped any mention of him from their site as well.
NBC Doesn’t Give Matt A Payout
After being fired, we also learned from a report that Matt would not be receiving a payout on his $20 million contract. Since Matt’s contract was only for two years, his lawyers came up with the sum of $30 million that he would be owed by NBC after his firing, but a report revealed that NBC would not be paying a dollar.
“[Matt] will not be paid past his last day of work,” a senior NBC News source said, adding that a morality clause in Matt’s contract gave NBC every right to fire Matt for violating the clause.
“There is no way Matt is getting paid,” the source added. “There has been an irrevocable breach of Matt’s contract, there is a moral clause that says if he brings the company into disrepute — which he clearly has — NBC can terminate his employment immediately without pay and they do not have to pay out his contract.”
Another Accuser Comes Forward
More disturbing allegations came out against Matt soon after as a woman named Addie Collins Zinone, who previously worked as a production assistant for Today, revealed her own story. Addie shared that Matt once messaged her and said, “Hey, I hope you won’t drag me to personnel for saying this, but you look fantastic. I don’t know what you have done, or what is going on in your life… but it’s agreeing with you.” Soon after Matt invited Addie to his dressing room, and then he invited her to his office where he allegedly pushed a secret button on his desk and shut the door behind Addie.
“What happened with Matt held me hostage,” Addie revealed. “I was under his spell. It was all-consuming. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t concentrate. Every time I turned on the TV, because I anchored the local news in the morning, there was his face. And he was acting all jolly and happy. And here am I, carrying the weight of what had happened and fending off the national press. I didn’t want to start my career being known as one of Matt Lauer’s girl.”
Matt, His Wife, And Their Divorce
Lost was how Matt’s wife, Annette Roque, was doing amid all this. We learned that Annette, soon after the allegations, had reportedly kicked Matt out of the house. “Annette officially kicked Matt out of the house,” a source revealed. “They were both staying in separate wings of the Sag Harbor, [NY] home where they were living in with the kids. This was their arrangement ever since Matt had been fired from the Today show, but Annette finally gave Matt a deadline and told him that he had to be out of the house by the day the kids start school. So he’s out.”
As of today, their divorce has not yet been finalized.
Hoda Kotb Replaces Matt
Today eventually did name a replacement for the disgraced Matt and it was none other than Hoda Kotb. Even Savannah was all about it, saying, “This has to be the most popular decision that NBC News has ever made and I am so thrilled. You are a partner and a friend and I’m so happy to be doing this together.”
Is Matt Planning A Return To TV?
It was reported earlier this month that Matt is planning a return to television, with a source revealing that Matt “wants to host an investigative talk show, and he’s hoping HBO will give him a shot.” The insider added that Matt’s comeback would surely be an “uphill battle.”
Hoda and Savannah continue to be the first all-female coanchor team in Today’s 66-year history, and the beloved morning show is still successful as it ranks No. 1 with adults ages 25 to 54. Savannah also recently told Marie Claire that NBC seems like “it’s trying to do things as an institution to make sure that people who have complaints or need to be heard know where to go.”
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