NBC News fired Matt Lauer on Wednesday (29 November) after a female colleague accused him of sexual misconduct that started during the 2014 Sochi Olympics and continued for several months. Lauer became the anchor of the Today show in 1997 and was currently earning $25m (£18.56m) in annual salary.

According to the New York Times, two other women have accused the 59-year-old of sexually abusing them.

The chairman of NBC News, Andrew Lack, in a memo circulated to staff, said the allegations were a clear "violation of our company's standards".

"While it is the first complaint about his behaviour in the over 20 years he's been at NBC News, we were also presented with a reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident," he said.

He continued, "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."

Variety has published an article in which more accusers, whose names have been withheld, have claimed that Lauer has always harassed women working under him on the popular talk show.

"He couldn't sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people because he's Matt Lauer and he's married," a former producer told the magazine. "So he'd have to do it with his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn't ever complain."

The magazine report claims the women did inform the management about Lauer's behaviour but the complaints allegedly fell on deaf ears.

A spokesperson for NBC has denied that the management was made aware of the complaints.

"We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer's conduct," the spokesperson said.

Matt Lauer
NBC News chairman Andrew Lack has said that the allegations against Matt Lauer are a clear 'violation of our company's standards' Mark Sagliocco / Getty