In the wake of Matt Lauer’s firing from “Today” after allegations of “inappropriate sexual behavior,” several of his cringe-worthy interviews and moments with co-anchors are resurfacing on social media:
“Good morning, nice to see you,” Lauer said. “Seen a lot of you lately.”
“Sorry about that,” Hathaway said with a laugh.
Lauer referred to the invasive photo as “a little wardrobe malfunction” and asked, “What’s the lesson learned from something like that other than that you keep smiling, which you always do?” Hathaway was praised for her graceful response:
“Well, it was obviously an unfortunate incident. It kind of made me sad on two accounts. One, 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,” Hathaway said.
“And I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants,” she added, before pivoting to the subject of her film, in which she played a poor single mother forced into prostitution.
Ann Curry’s departure
Lauer was widely criticized after Curry lost her co-hosting spot on “Today” in June of 2012. There were rumors that the two did not get along well, and Lauer was reportedly instrumental in getting Curry removed from the show. New York magazine reported that the show lost a half-million viewers amid the behind-the-scenes drama.
In 2012, Washington Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes called Curry “the victim of her insufficiently girlish rapport with show star Matt Lauer.”
The tension was palpable as Curry tearfully announced her departure while seated next to Lauer on the “Today” couch. At one point, he attempted to kiss her on the cheek, but Curry appeared to dodge a bit and he ended up kissing her near the top of her head.
And it wasn’t just critics and viewers who blamed Lauer for Curry’s firing. Later that summer, Al Roker appeared to toss a jab at Lauer during an interview with several members of the women’s Olympic rowing team.
“The tradition here in New York is you throw her in the Hudson river,” Lauer said.
“Which is different than our tradition, which is you throw one of us under the bus,” Roker piped in to nervous laughter from his colleagues. “That’s another story.”
His comments about Katie Couric
Lauer and his former co-anchor have been asked often about their on-air chemistry, and Lauer spoke candidly about his former co-host in a 2013 interview with Howard Stern, who asked Lauer if he was ever attracted to Couric.
“I think … every man in America was attracted [to Couric],” Lauer said. “She’s a very attractive woman, not only physically, but her personality … if she’s a 9 or 10 physically, she’s a 14 because — I hate to do that — because she’s got a great personality. She’s fun.”
Couric had confessed in an earlier interview with Stern that she had a “little crush” on Lauer during his time as the news anchor at New York’s WNBC.
On Wednesday, TMZ unearthed a 2012 clip of Couric telling Bravo’s Andy Cohen that Lauer’s most annoying habit was “pinching me on the ass a lot.”
On his Sirius XM radio show Wednesday, Cohen said that he didn’t remember the context of the comment, which Couric made during the show’s trademark “Plead the Fifth” segment in response to Cohen asking about Lauer’s “most annoying habit.”
Making light of sexual harassment
“The Daily Show’s” Twitter feed resurfaced this 2012 “Today” segment that made a joke of sexual harassment. Savannah Guthrie talked about “the smack heard round the studio” to lead into an ostensibly serious “Rossen Reports” installment, hosted by investigative journalist Jeff Rossen.
“It was an off-air moment involving two of our own, Matt Lauer and Willie Geist,” said Guthrie. “And it has everyone around here talking and accusing.”
Guthrie then tossed to Rossen, who detailed upcoming “surveillance footage” showing Geist playfully swatting Lauer on the rear. “Look, this kind of behavior happens all the time between guys on football fields, in huddles, but is it really appropriate for the workplace?” Rossen asked.
Lauer appeared next, accompanied by somber music. “I was standing by the doorway in the vestibule and Willie came out and I just said, ‘Hi Willie how are you?’ And I thought that would be the end of it. And then he just, he reached out and, you know.”
“Some would look at this and say you did something to provoke this,” Rossen said.
“That’s impossible,” Lauer said. “I didn’t do anything differently. I wasn’t wearing a different cologne. It just — this was uninitiated.”
A 2014 segment found Lauer taking off his pants in an NBC studio hallway after having coffee spilled on them. “Drink it in, ladies,” he said, clad in his suit jacket and boxers, as several co-hosts including Jenna Bush and Tamron Hall passed by.
Lauer received poor reviews after moderating the NBC News Commander-in-Chief Forum with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump in September of last year.
The consensus was that Lauer went easy on Trump and saved the hardballs for Clinton. The criticism led to the Twitter hashtag #LaueringTheBar, which Deadline reported to still be trending the following morning.