NBC News Chairman Calls Matt Lauer's Behavior 'Appalling' in Staff Memo

Andy Lack promises "thorough and timely review" following sexual misconduct allegations against 'Today' host

NBC News chairman Andy Lack called Matt Lauer's behavior "appalling" in a new memo to staffers following the host's termination for sexual misconduct. Credit: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

NBC News chairman Andy Lack called Matt Lauer's behavior "appalling" in a new memo to staffers following the Today host's shocking termination for sexual misconduct.

"Many of you have asked what we are doing to learn as much as we can about the circumstances around Matt Lauer's appalling behavior, why this was able to happen, and why it wasn't reported sooner," Lack wrote, adding that a "thorough and timely review" of the matter was underway, the Hollywood Reporter writes.

"This week we saw that when an employee comes forward to report misconduct, the system works. The complaint is quickly assessed and meaningful action is taken. But we also learned that we must do a much better job of making people feel empowered to take that crucial first step of reporting bad behavior."

On Thursday, Lauer issued a statement apologizing for his actions and addressing the multiple claims of sexual misconduct against him.

"There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I've caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I'm writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC," Lauer said.

Read Lack's memo below:

Dear Colleagues,

The most vital thing we’ve done since terminating Matt Lauer’s employment on Tuesday night has been spending time listening to your concerns, your feedback, your ideas on how we move forward as an organization.

As I said in my note on Wednesday: our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender.

Many of you have asked what we are doing to learn as much as we can about the circumstances around Matt Lauer's appalling behavior, why this was able to happen, and why it wasn’t reported sooner.

This week we saw that when an employee comes forward to report misconduct, the system works. The complaint is quickly assessed and meaningful action is taken. But we also learned that we must do a much better job of making people feel empowered to take that crucial first step of reporting bad behavior.

To that end, I have three things to share with you.

A team of the most experienced NBCUniversal Legal and Human Resources leaders have begun a thorough and timely review of what happened and what we can do to build a culture of greater transparency, openness and respect for each other. At the conclusion of the review we will share what we’ve learned, no matter how painful, and act on it.

Second
while our company has had mandatory online training for all employees on sexual harassment and other workplace issues, we need to do better. Therefore in addition to what is already in place, the News Division is launching an immediate effort to implement in-person training on sexual harassment awareness and appropriate behavior in the workplace. We will share more details on this effort very shortly.

And third — we need to keep communicating. In addition to the meetings we’ve had this week with various show teams and departments, we are encouraging the leaders of every group to have smaller, more informal gatherings to further discuss this crucial issue now and on an ongoing basis.


And, as we have done regularly over the last few months, but cannot do often enough, we want to remind you again that we encourage all employees to speak up and raise any concerns you have about inappropriate conduct you have experienced or observed. We also want to reinforce with our managers and leaders their responsibility to bring forward concerns about inappropriate workplace behavior they see or hear about. It is always the right thing to do, and any concerns raised should be done without fear of retaliation, and with full assurance that they will be investigated.

This has been a very tough week for all of us. Thank you again for your honest feedback. I’ll continue to share information and updates with you in the days and weeks ahead.

Andy