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NBC will not be on the hook for the remainder of Matt Lauer’s handsome contract, according to a network source.
Because Lauer was terminated “for cause,” NBC won’t have to pay out the rest of his reportedly $20 million-per-year deal. Lauer’s contract runs through 2018.
Lauer’s last day as a salaried employee was on Tuesday. On Wednesday, his shocked Today colleague Savannah Guthrie announced on air that Lauer had been fired because of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” per a memo from NBC chief Andy Lack.
So-called “morale clauses” are a standard in television news, and the accusations against Lauer would seem to trigger that clause.
As previously reported, Lauer did not fight the network’s decision to terminate him. His legal team, though, is expected to push for him to be compensated for the remainder of his contract.
In Lack’s companywide email sent Friday morning, he said NBC has launched a “thorough and timely review” of Lauer’s actions and addressed the accusations against Lauer and the network’s next steps: “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.”
As of now, NBC News has learned of complaints against Lauer from three women. Monday night, the first woman came forward with her story of abuse at the hands of the former host that began in 2014. Reports have come in through media outlets and the network since then that detail similar stories of abuse and misconduct.
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