(image courtesy of David Shankbone CC BY 3.0)
After NBC fired Lauer, more accusers came forward, just as they did when Harvey Weinstein’s alleged misconduct went public. The online publication Variety published a story about Lauer that reporters said took months to investigate. The article details accounts from multiple women, beyond the first complaint NBC says it received.
Fellow “Today” show anchor Savannah Guthrie and coworker Hoda Kotb reported Lauer’s firing on-air the morning that news first broke.
CNN noted that this is not the first time women have reported news of a colleague being fired after sexual misconduct allegations. People praised Guthrie’s composure and display of raw emotions.
Kudos to @SavannahGuthrie for her poise this AM in announcing the firing of Matt Lauer
She was saddened for her friend and colleague but confirmed the import of the accuser coming forward. She was a model of grace in an unprecedented situation.
— Warriors (@twitwar2017) November 29, 2017
— Christina Reynolds (@creynoldsnc) November 29, 2017
Others criticized Guthrie and Kotb for not focusing on the women who came forward. Some even accused the cohosts of being aware of the alleged misconduct.
I understand that folks need time to process and collect their thoughts but Savannah Guthrie saying she is heartbroken FOR Matt Lauer before mentioning hurt for the victim completely misses the point of this cultural shift.
— Delamey (@loser513) November 29, 2017
I do NOT believe for ONE moment that Savannah Guthrie or others working with Lauer did not know something or heard the rumors and did nothing.
— Sports Dude™ (@ImTheSportsDude) November 30, 2017
— She Who Persists (@She_whoPersists) November 30, 2017
In the days following Lauer’s firing, more women have come forward, and videos have emerged showing Lauer acting inappropriate toward women on the “Today” show.
Lauer released a statement Thursday saying he feels “embarrassed and ashamed,” and is committed to “repairing the damage” he inflicted. He did say that some of the allegations and reporting of his misconduct is “untrue,” but offered no further clarification.
According to multiple news sources, Lauer and his wife, Annette Roque, have lived apart for years. In 2006, Roque filed for divorce, but ultimately did not follow through. The couple has three children together.
While people criticized Lauer for the behavior women accused him of, some defended him. Geraldo Rivera, a well-known reporter, tweeted about the scandal on Wednesday.
Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me. News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation. What about #GarrisonKeillor?
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) November 29, 2017
He also wrote that women should have to report harassment within a certain time period. Rivera apologized later that day after receiving backlash from people who claimed he victim-shamed Lauer’s accusers and victims of sexual harassment.
Saying this indicates that you have absolutely no concept of how sexual harassment in the workplace works. Please educate yourself. People listen to you – you need to understand what you're talking about.
— The Sassiest Semite (@LittleMissLizz) November 29, 2017
Reaction to my tweets today on #sexharassment makes clear
I didn't sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem
long hidden-Harassers are deviants who deserve what is coming
to them-Often victims are too frightened to come
forward in a timely fashion-I humbly apologize
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) November 30, 2017
Some people think that Rivera’s mindset mirrors that of many people across the United States who do not believe sexual harassment is a serious problem.
"the big takeaway is this: If Rivera’s thoughts are the prevailing view among men in the workforce, or at least men in the media, America has a long way to go to overcome this whole sexual harassment thang." writes @ckchumley #RapidReactions https://t.co/JaAOOA8fZ7
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) December 3, 2017
Another controversy that arose from Lauer’s firing involved President Trump. Trump’s complicated history with sexually inappropriate remarks is no secret, but some believe he is guilty of more than inappropriate statements. An op-ed in the LA Times asked why Trump has not been held accountable for the sexual assault accusations against him.
Twitter users wondered the same.
Matt Lauer lost his job.
Charlie Rose lost his job.
Mark Halperin lost his job.
Glenn Thrush lost his job.
Billy Bush lost his job.
Harvey Weinstein lost his job.
Kevin Spacey lost his job.
But in politics…
Conyers still in Congress.
Moore still running.
Trump still President.
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) November 29, 2017
As Trump drags Matt LAUER this morning on Twitter, let’s not forget the ACCESS HOLLYWOOD tape where TRUMP admits to sexual assault… “grab them by the…”
— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) November 29, 2017
the fact that matt lauer was fired after 1 reported incident of sexual harassment and 12 incidents by donald trump were reported during his running for PRESIDENT AND HE IS THE PRESIDENT OF OUR COUNTRY
— jackie (@imjackieee) November 29, 2017
Trump himself commented on the accusations about Lauer, but did not mention anything about his history of being accused of sexual misconduct. Instead, he continued to attack media, as he has done several times in the past.
Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2017
Lauer has not made a statement about any of the individual accusations at this time, and his conduct is still under investigation by NBC. The company will reportedly not pay out the rest of his $20 million dollar per year paycheck.