NBC News confirmed Friday that Matt Lauer will not get a dime for the rest of his million-dollar contract.
In a memo by NBC News Wednesday, the 59-year-old former “Today” show anchor was fired after a colleague accused him of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
In a statement released one day later, Lauer said some of the allegations were “untrue or mischaracterized,” but “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
According to Variety, Lauer had just signed a contract last year, putting him in the anchor chair through 2018 and worth a reported $20 million. Lauer started at “Today” in 1994 and became an official co-anchor three years later.
NBC News’ human resources department said after firing Lauer, they were now sifting through Lauer’s emails in an effort to bring more justice to any colleagues who may have suffered in silence, with the network’s president Noah Oppenheim saying he promised swift action against anyone who may have known about sexually inappropriate behavior and didn’t report it.
NBC News reported that NBC News executives learned Oppenheim and NBC News Chairman Andy Lack previously questioned Lauer about allegations weeks before the accuser came forward. When asked about any sexual misconduct, the former anchor reportedly said that he was “racking his brain and couldn’t think of anything at all.”
The network added that they couldn’t find any evidence of previous complaints or any settlements reached at the time.
NBC News correspondent Stephanie Gosk cited a network representative in her report Wednesday:
“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.”
Washington, D.C. attorney Ari Wilkenfeld represents the unnamed accuser and referred the media to the following statement he gave to The New York Times and declined to comment further:
“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.”
Since his firing, two additional women have come forward with accusations against Lauer.