The American television network NBC announced that it would be suspending veteran anchor and news-hour celebrity Brian Williams for a period of six months.
The disciplinary action comes in the wake of the scandal that snowballed after Williams admitted to embellishing a story he told several times about his experience in the 2003 Iraq War.
“The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately”
Said NBC News President Deborah Turness. “We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute anchor the NBC Nightly News.”
Williams had previously apologized on air after US soldiers from the 159th Aviation Regiment brought the inaccuracy of his story to the attention of the media.
In several interviews, over a period of approximately 10 years, Williams had given several, differing version of what happened to him in Iraq.
The most extreme version and that which got him in trouble, consisted of Williams being in a Chinook helicopter that was fired upon and forced to land.
“I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago”
Williams said afterwards – calling his evolving story a conflation of the facts. “I want to apologize.”
Williams, shortly after the story exploded in the US media, voluntarily stepped down from his nightly program for an undefined period of time, presumably because the respected TV personality could not justify delivering the news while his own name was one of the headlines.
He released a memo stating, “As managing editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue.
Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”