NBC News anchor Brian Williams suspended without pay

KABC logo
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
In this Nov. 5, 2014 file photo, Brian Williams speaks at the 8th Annual Stand Up For Heroes.

NBC News anchor Brian Williams has been suspended without pay for six months, effective immediately, as the network continues to investigate his misrepresentation of events that occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003.

Williams' suspension was announced in a press release from NBC News President Deborah Turness Monday evening. He had been informed of the decision earlier in the day.

"As Managing Editor and Anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times," Turness wrote in the announcement.

The controversy began when video of Williams saying that he had been in a helicopter that had been hit by a grenade was challenged by a group of veterans. Instead, it was a different helicopter that had been hit by a RPG.

Williams apologized on the air last week, saying he made a mistake in recalling the events "in an effort to honor and thank a veteran who protected me and so many others."

NBC chief executive Steve Burke said Tuesday that Williams jeopardized the trust he has built up with viewers during his decade as the network's lead anchor.

"His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate," Burke said. But he said "he deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone's trust."

Last Friday, NBC announced it was conducting an internal investigation into the accounts. Over the weekend, Williams cancelled a scheduled appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

Lester Holt will continue to anchor NBC Nightly News during Williams' suspension.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.