“Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie was seated at the anchor desk with Hoda Kotb on Wednesday morning. Noticeably absent was Matt Lauer.
“Hoda’s here with me this morning, because this is a sad morning here at ‘Today’ and at NBC News,” Guthrie said, briefly gripping Kotb’s hand as they opened the show.
Guthrie then read a memo from NBC News Chairman Andy Lack she said they had received just “moments ago.”
The memo went on to state that the complaint had represented “a clear violation” of company standards, and that Lauer had been terminated after a “serious review.”
She continued: “As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this,” Guthrie said. “And I will tell you right now, we do not know more than what I just shared with you.”
Guthrie promised the show would cover the story and share details with viewers as they learned them “in the hours and days to come.”
Guthrie continued, repeatedly turning to Kotb.
“And we are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks: How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? And I don’t know the answer to that,” Guthrie said. “But I do know that this reckoning that so many organizations 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.”
Kotb then spoke for the first time on Wednesday’s show.
She said she agreed with Guthrie that it was the right time for such a cultural sea change — but that they were still in shock.
They had both been awakened with the news before dawn that day, Kotb said.