Jane Hanson, who co-hosted “Today in New York” with Matt Lauer before his promotion to the national “Today,” spoke out about the veteran NBC News star’s sudden termination on Wednesday following reports of sexual misconduct in the workplace.
“We’ve all heard these rumors for years have we not,” Hanson told Erin Burnett on CNN’s “OutFront” Wednesday night — before quickly clarifying that she was talking specifically of consensual relationships.
“I was the first person that he worked with when he came to NBC and when he came he had been at a number of different programs, none of which had been successful,” said Hanson of her time with Lauer in the early 1990s.
“He was thinking about becoming a tree-trimmer that he was going to give up broadcasting,” said Hanson. “When he came to that program he was humble and grateful and what I saw was a lot of change over the years but back then there were no signs of any of this.”
Tree-trimming never seemed to be an option for Lauer, who, until his dismissal earlier this week, bestrode the set of “Today” like a colossus for two decades.
The broadcast icon was undone after NBC management received a detailed allegation of misconduct on Monday evening. By Tuesday, Lauer was out and on Wednesday his former co-host Savannah Guthrie told the world live on set that he had been terminated.
In a statement Thursday, also read by Guthrie on “Today,” Lauer apologized for his behavior.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry,” he said. “As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”