NBC fires Matt Lauer after alleged ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’

first_img Related Zach Pagano/NBC/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NBC News has fired The Today Show host Matt Lauer after a colleague accused him of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” the network said Wednesday.NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack announced Lauer’s termination in a memo Wednesday morning obtained by ABC News, saying the company received “a detailed complaint from a colleague” on Monday night “about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer.” “It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards,” Lack continued. “As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.”“While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident. Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actionsthat run counter to our core values are met with consequences.”Lauer’s co-host Savannah Guthrie read the memo on air at the start of the show Wednesday morning. She told viewers that she and others were “still processing” Lauer’s firing.“We learned this moments ago, just this morning. As you can imagine, we are devastated, and we are still processing all of this,” she said. “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 heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here,” she continued. “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.”NBC News correspondent Stephanie Gosk, citing a network representative, reported on the show Wednesday morning that a “spokesperson for the company says the accuser described inappropriate sexual behavior throughout 2014. And because of the seriousness of the accusations, together with information that it may not be an isolated incident, NBC decided to terminate Lauer’s contract.”Attorney Ari Wilkenfeld, who said she represents the unnamed accuser, told ABC News Wednesday, “My client and I met with representatives from NBC’s human resources and legal department at 6 p.m. on Monday. Over the course of several hours, my client detailed egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct by Mr. Lauer. In fewer than 35 hours, NBC investigated and removed Mr. Lauer.”Wilkenfeld added, “NBC acted quickly and responsibly, as all companies should when confronted with credible allegations about sexual misconduct in the workplace.”Though commending the network’s quick response, Wilkenfeld said he is “awed by the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than asking the company do the right thing.”Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times reporter who broke the Lauer story, said in a telephone interview on “Good Morning America” Wednesday, “There had been these rumors going around for some time; reporters started chasing them, and clearly it got the attention, as it should have.”“But the move by Andy Lack was swift, and let there be no doubt that this is a seismic moment in our culture and in the media,” he added.Lauer’s firing comes a week after CBS News terminated veteran journalist Charlie Rose over accusations from multiple women of sexual misconduct.ABC Breaking News | Latest News VideosCopyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more

Obama to sign toxic chemical rules; 1st overhaul in 40 years

first_imgWASHINGTON | President Barack Obama will sign into law the first overhaul of toxic chemical rules in 40 years while hailing a rare moment of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats.Lawmakers from both parties planned to join Obama on Wednesday for the ceremony, along with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, environmental advocates and industry groups that backed the legislation. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the bill, which passed with broad bipartisan support, was an outlier in a political climate in which the two parties agree on little.“Any time you see Democrats and Republicans come together on a piece of legislation, it does reflect a measure of compromise, which means that there may be some people who will criticize it because it’s not perfect,” Earnest said.In addition to updating rules for tens of thousands of everyday chemicals used in household cleaners, clothing and furniture, the bill also sets safety standards for dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde, asbestos and styrene. The goal is to standardize on the national level what is currently a jumble of state rules governing the $800 billion-per-year industry.Congress spent more than three years working on the bill, which rewrites the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act and aims to “bring chemical regulation into the 21st century,” according to the American Chemistry Council, which backed the overhaul.The bill passed the Senate on a voice vote, reflecting an unusual degree of consensus for legislation that gives the EPA new authority to assess the safety of new and existing chemicals. In recent years, many Republicans have worked to pull funding for the EPA or eliminate it entirely.But business groups had sought a single, federal standard to eliminate the complexity of dealing with state regulations that don’t always line up with each other. Still, some Republicans opposed the legislation and called it an overzealous Washington takeover of a matter they said should be left to the states.The bill’s namesake, former New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, died in 2013 after having worked for years to fix the law.Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this report.Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joshledermanAPlast_img read more