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TV's Lauer, Radio's Keillor Fired Over Sexual Misconduct Charges

  • VOA News

FILE - Matt Lauer attends the Matrix Awards, hosted by New York Women in Communications, at the Sheraton Times Square in New York.

Two major American broadcasters were abruptly fired Wednesday over allegations of sexual misconduct.

NBC's Matt Lauer and public radio's Garrison Keillor are the latest famous figures to either lose their jobs or fight for their political and professional survival because of alleged inappropriate behavior toward women.

NBC fired Lauer just hours before he was to have taken up his regular chore as host of the early morning Today show.

WATCH: NBC Fires Morning Show Host Over Harassment Allegations

Lauer's on-air colleagues, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, opened Wednesday's Today broadcast by explaining why viewers were not seeing his familiar face greeting them with their daily coffee, saying they are heartbroken.

"How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?" Guthrie asked, but added that all women and all people must feel safe and respected in the workplace.

"On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards," NBC News chairman Andy Lack said in a statement.

Lack said this was the first such complaint against Lauer in the 20 years he hosted Today. But Lack said the network has reason to believe this was not one-time incident and decided to fire him.

NBC did not give any details of Lauer's alleged behevaior.

But the show business newspaper Variety said Wednesday its two-month-long investigation uncovered accounts of Lauer giving a female co-worker a sex toy, dropping his pants in front of another woman, and quizzing female colleagues about their sex lives.

Variety said Lauer's alleged shenanigans were no secret among many NBC news staffers and that management failed to act until now because of the high ratings of the Today show.

Also Wednesday, Minnesota Public Radio fired Keillor for what it called "improper behavior."

Keillor is known worldwide as the former host of A Prairie Home Companion and, until Wednesday, recorded a daily series about poetry and literature called The Writer's Almanac.

Minnesota Public Radio also canceled repeats of Keillor's Prairie Home broadcasts. The regular series with host Chris Thile will continue.

Minnesota Public Radio gave no details of the allegations against its flagship personality.

FILE - Garrison Keillor talks at his office in St. Paul, Minnesota, July 26, 2017.
FILE - Garrison Keillor talks at his office in St. Paul, Minnesota, July 26, 2017.

But Keillor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper that he had touched a female co-worker on her bare back.

"I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches," he said. "She recoiled, I apologized."

Keillor said he apologized again to her in an email and that she had accepted it, had forgiven him and had told him to forget the whole thing. He said he and the woman were friends "right up until her lawyer called."

Keillor told the newspaper he was 75 years old and had "no interest in arguing about this."

Lauer and Keillor were the latest U.S. celebrities to be confronted with charges of inappropriate behavior.

FILE - TV host Charlie Rose arrives for the Time 100 Gala in the Manhattan borough of New York, April 25, 2017.
FILE - TV host Charlie Rose arrives for the Time 100 Gala in the Manhattan borough of New York, April 25, 2017.

CBS and PBS fired longtime journalist Charlie Rose last week for alleged sexual advances toward co-workers.

U.S. Democratic Senator Al Franken says he is "embarrassed" by a picture showing him grinning and holding his hands over the chest of a sleeping woman in 2006, when he was a television comic.

FILE- Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., speaks during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 4, 2017.
FILE- Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., speaks during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 4, 2017.

U.S. Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, is under pressure to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct — a charge he denied.

Others confronted with charges include actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, and Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama.

About 16 women have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment and worse. He has labeled the accusations “fake news.”

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