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NBC News fires 'Today' anchor Matt Lauer after sexual misconduct allegations

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NEW YORK -

NEW YORK (AP) - The Latest on NBC News' firing of longtime "Today" show host Matt Lauer for "inappropriate sexual behavior" (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Natalie Morales says she was shocked when she woke up Wednesday to learn that her former "Today" show co-anchor Matt Lauer had been fired.

She says the "Today" show has been her family for 16 years and learning about the allegations against Lauer is very difficult. Morales made her comments while hosting "Access Hollywood."

Morales said she has already addressed rumors that an affair between her and Lauer led to her departure from "Today." She called them hurtful to her and her family and said they should not be the story at the moment. Instead, she said the focus should be on the unnamed woman whose accusation led to his dismissal.

NBC said the misconduct started when Lauer and the employee were stationed at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued beyond that assignment. It has not said whether Lauer admitted or denied any wrongdoing.

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1:30 p.m.

Deborah Norville says she was "stunned" to hear of the firing of "Today" show host Matt Lauer for alleged sexual misconduct. And the longtime "Inside Edition" anchor says it's upsetting to see yet another fellow journalist brought down by scandal.

But Norville, herself a past "Today" host before Lauer joined the broadcast, notes that no profession is immune to sexual harassment, as recent events are demonstrating.

She expresses hope that other women who've been harmed will see NBC's swift action as confirmation that credible accounts of such misconduct will be heeded.

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12:15 p.m.

The lawyer for Matt Lauer's accuser is praising NBC for acting "quickly and responsibly" to fire the "Today" show host for alleged sexual abuse.

Ari Wilkenfeld says in a statement that representatives from NBC's Human Resources Department met with him and his unnamed client Monday night for her account of "egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct" by Lauer.

By Wednesday morning, NBC had investigated and removed Lauer.

Wilkenfeld says he is impressed by NBC's response, but he's "awed" by the courage his client displayed in voicing her grievance while asking nothing more than for NBC to correct it.

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11:40 a.m.

Willie Geist has commended the NBC employee who stepped forward to allege "inappropriate sexual behavior" by Matt Lauer.

Geist, a co-anchor at MSNBC and anchor of Sunday "Today," says on MSNBC that bringing up the allegations to NBC managers "took some real courage." He called Lauer "the most powerful person at NBC News."

NBC says it fired Lauer Wednesday after a review of the complaint, saying it represented "a clear violation" of the company's standards.

Geist says he didn't know any details.

He says he "loves" Matt and considers him a friend, but "I don't want to lose sight of a person who took a pretty big leap and stepped out on a ledge to take on someone of Matt's stature."

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10:15 a.m.

Megyn Kelly says Matt Lauer is a friend, but her concern is for any woman he may have sexually abused.

Opening her hour of NBC's "Today" show Wednesday, Kelly spoke of the startling dismissal of Lauer, a fellow "Today" anchor, for allegedly harassing an NBC News colleague.

Kelly replayed the pained announcement by "Today" hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb from two hours earlier. But she says what is missed is the pain on the faces of those with the courage to report their harassment. She says it's a "terrifying thing to do."

She says it's a sign of progress that more and more women are speaking up. Recalling her own harassment that led to her departure from Fox News Channel earlier this year, Kelly says she learned that "a news organization is bigger than any one person."

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9:25 a.m.

Matt Lauer's abrupt dismissal was announced in an internal memo issued Wednesday morning by NBC News head Andrew Lack disclosing a complaint from a colleague that details inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by the "Today" show anchor.

Lack says the decision was reached to fire Lauer as a result of the complaint.

Lack says it was the first complaint about Lauer's behavior during more than 20 years at NBC News, but there is reason to believe the reported incident may not be the only one.

Lauer's firing comes a week after CBS News fired morning anchor Charlie Rose amid reports of sexual misconduct.

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8:30 a.m.

Matt Lauer's former "Today" show colleagues were emotional on-air while dealing with the aftermath of his firing by NBC for what it termed "inappropriate sexual behavior."

Co-host Savannah Guthrie fought back tears while calling Lauer "my friend and my partner." She added that she was "heartbroken" for her unnamed colleague who the network said reported Lauer's behavior Monday night. Hoda Kotb, who replaced Lauer in the anchor chair for the morning, added that she loved Lauer "as a friend and as a colleague" and said it was "hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know."

Weatherman Al Roker was also visibly upset on-air, saying he was "still trying to process the news" while giving his report.

___

7:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is responding to the termination of "Today" show host Matt Lauer, saying executives at NBC and Comcast should be "fired for putting out so much Fake News."

On Twitter Wednesday, Trump says "Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for 'inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.' But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News."

Trump then cited the NBC News chairman adding: "Check out Andy Lack's past!" It was not immediately clear what that comment referred to.

NBC announced Wednesday that it had terminated Lauer for inappropriate behavior at workplace. Lauer's co-host Savannah Guthrie made the announcement at the top of Wednesday's "Today" show.

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7:25 a.m.

NBC News says longtime "Today" show host Matt Lauer has been fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior."

Lauer's co-host Savannah Guthrie made the announcement at the top of Wednesday's "Today" show.

Guthrie read a statement from NBC News chairman Andy Lack, stating that the company has received a detailed complaint from a colleague Monday night "about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace" by Lauer. Lack's statement said the company found that after a serious review of the complaint it represented "a clear violation" of the company's standards, and Lauer was terminated as a result.

Lack added in his statement that it was the first complaint about Lauer in more than 20 years at NBC, but "we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."

The move comes a week after CBS News fired morning anchor Charlie Rose amid reports of sexual misconduct.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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