matt lauer today show nbc fired

Matt Lauer’s Been Showing Us What Kind of a Creep He Is for a Long Time Now

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As you’ve likely heard by now, Matt Lauer has been fired from NBC and the Today show over allegations of “inappropriate sexual behavior.” For some, this was a surprise. But Lauer’s past behaviorthe behavior he demonstrated on air, for yearsshows us that he’s always had problems with women, and with issues of sexual harassment and assault. Now, being a creep in interviews and actually engaging in possible criminal acts are very different. But let’s look at who Lauer is, and who he has always told us he is.

That time he did an extended sexual harassment sketch comedy bit on Today

Big thanks to The Daily Show for unearthing this 2012 segment, which is basically a long satirical skit about workplace harassment. It’s essentially mocking actual victims. I would say this didn’t age well, but I can’t imagine it was actually funny in 2012 to start with. Still, knowing what we now know about Lauer’s own behavior with colleagues, it’s all the more disgusting.

That totally gross interview with Anne Hathaway

This was what immediately came to mind when I heard about Lauer this morning. As a refresher, this was right after paparazzi had taken and distributed invasive, exploitative up-skirt photos of Hathaway, who was in the middle of her mandated Les Mis press tour. Lauer greeted her with her with the disgusting innuendo, “Nice to see you. Been seeing a lot of you lately.”

He then went on to victim-shame (while telling her to smile!), saying, “You had a little wardrobe malfunction the other night. What’s the lesson learned from something like that? Other than that you keep smiling, which you’ll always do.”

She responded beautifully:

It was obviously an unfortunate incident. It kind of made me sad on two accounts. One was that I was very sad that we live in an age when someone takes a picture of another person in a vulnerable moment and rather than delete it, and do the decent thing, sells it. And I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants, which takes us back to Les Mis, because that’s what my character is. She is someone who is forced to sell sex to benefit her child because she has nothing and there’s no social safety net, so yeah—let’s get back to Les Mis.

Tell me again why we weren’t supposed to like her?

Corey Feldman

Just this past October, Lauer interviewed Corey Feldman about his allegations of powerful child predators and pedophile rings in Hollywood. Lauer, as you might remember, engaged in some classic victim-blaming, saying, “Every day you wait, every day you try to raise money, I would imagine you believe that children are being abused by pedophiles in Hollywood.” So he asks why Feldman is talking to him instead of the police.

Feldman has to remind him that he did go to the police. And he went to the police in 1993. And yet we still have men like Lauer blaming him for the actions of abusers.

The Amy Adams attack

One of the big revelations from the Sony email hack a few years ago was the gender-based pay discrepancy between the cast of American Hustle. Amy Adams was scheduled to appear on Today to promote her movie Big Eyes, and apparently told the producers she didn’t want to talk about the emails, that she was “uncomfortable” and “would rather not add [her] voice to this conversation”

In her account of the meeting, she said that she stated her desire not to discuss the hack, they made it clear that they were going to anyway, and that was that. She recalled later, “I walked away from the conversation and went up to the room to do the interview. I assumed they were going to ask me about (Sony hacking). And I was prepared for that, to whatever degree I was prepared.”

Instead, minutes before going on air, she was informed the interview was cancelled. She was painted by the show’s producers and “sources” (*coughLauercough*) as a diva who “refused” to do the interview and made unreasonable “demands.” This isn’t the most egregious example of Lauer’s (and NBC’s) behavior, but the disrespectful nature of the entire encounter, and the attempts to publicly blame and shame Adams is telling of larger patterns.

That wholly botched Hillary Clinton interview

In September of 2016, Lauer hosted individual 30-minute interviews with Clinton and Trump. This Commander-in-Chief Forum is traditionally meant to let the candidates answer hard-hitting, practical policy questions in a way the debates don’t allow. Yet Lauer drew immense criticism at the time over his bizarre tactics, hitting Trump with the softest questions imaginable, and refusing to talk to Clinton about anything but her email server. Finally, at the end of her interview, he rushed through a couple of questions more befitting a former senator and Secretary of State, continuously interrupting her, and demanded she answer an audience member’s question about the Islamic state “as briefly as you can.”

These are just a few examples, and most definitely not all that exist, indicating just how overdue Lauer’s firing was.

ETA: There are so many examples, in fact, I completely forgot to include Ann Curry, whose 2012 firing from Today was reportedly due, at least largely, to Lauer and the “boy’s club” mentality at NBC.

Good riddance., Matt Lauer.

(image: NBC/Universal)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.