17 disturbing warning signs NBC ignored from Matt Lauer

17 disturbing warning signs NBC ignored from Matt Lauer

Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN & GRACE BENNETT


Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

NBC News announced on November 29 that it fired Today host Matt Lauer after “a detailed complaint” was filed about "inappropriate sexual behavior that took place during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.” The complaint also noted that Lauer’s “alleged behavior continued in the workplace after the games.” Lauer has a well-documented history of disturbing and sexist behavior that should have served as a warning sign to management long before this recent investigation took place. Here are just a few examples:

  1. According to The New York Times Magazine, Lauer was part of “the boys’ club atmosphere behind the scenes” at Today, which Curry said “undermined her from the start” and was partially responsible for pushing her out in 2013.

  2. In 2012, former Today host Katie Couric told Andy Cohen that Lauer’s most “annoying” trait was that he “pinch[ed] me on the ass a lot.”

  3. In 2006, according to video footage on TMZ, Lauer told Meredith Vieira to "Keep bending over like that. It's a nice view," during a commerical break.

  4. According to HuffPost, Lauer acted incredibly skeezy during a 2014 interview with then-18-year-old skier Mikaela Shiffrin.

  5. In a 2012 interview with actress Anne Hathaway, Lauer started off by discussing a wardrobe malfunction of hers, telling Hathaway he had “seen a lot of you lately.”

  6. Lauer, then in his late 40s, told singer Kelly Clarkson that she had a “hot new look.” When Clarkson, who was in her early 20s at the time, responded by asking “I have a hot new look?” Lauer replied, “Well, I'm back from vacation and you got my attention, I'll tell you that.”

  7. During an interview with Pippa Middleton, Lauer focused on the “very flattering” dress she wore to her sister’s wedding and the way it fit her, saying, “I thought it was the best of British pomp and circumstance.”

  8. During an interview with Lauer earlier this year, actor Corey Feldman discussed child molestation in Hollywood, including his own experience of abuse. In response, Lauer questioned Feldman’s culpability in the matter, asking why he didn’t come forward sooner: “Why are you sitting down talking to me? Why aren’t you sitting down with the police right now?” Feldman replied, “I’m the victim here. I’m the one who’s been abused. I’m the one who’s trying to come forward and do something about it.”

  9. During a 2008 “roast” of Lauer, he misogynistically joked about sleeping with his former co-hosts Katie Couric and Ann Curry, asking, “What’s with all the small-dick jokes? It was fun to look over and see Ann Curry laughing … like she doesn’t know how big my dick really is.”  

  10. In 2012, Lauer was part of an incredibly distasteful mockumentary on sexual harassment at Today, where he said he was the “real victim” after co-host Willie Geist jokingly touched him inappropriately.

  11. In a 2014 sketch, Lauer pretended to flash his colleagues, urging his female colleagues to “drink it in, ladies.”

  12. In September, Lauer, who reportedly had notable influence over which stories appeared on Today, interviewed serial sexual predator Bill O’Reilly, giving him a platform to attack a woman who had reported him for harassment and deny knowledge about the multiple settlements he’d reached for misconduct.

  13. During an interview with GM chief executive Mary Barra in 2014, Lauer asked her if she thought she could do a good job at being both a high-powered executive and a mother.

  14. During a 2015 interview with musician Adele, Lauer questioned whether she was “concerned at all that now, with the explosion of this album, that you're going to have to get back on that career treadmill and have less time to dedicate” to her young son.

  15. During a national security forum during the 2016 presidential campaign, Lauer “behaved toward the presidential candidates in a way that was consistent with much of the research about gender stereotypes and discrimination,” according to the Harvard Business Review. Specifically, Lauer “interrupted Clinton more often than Trump, asked her more challenging questions, and questioned her statements more often.”

  16. During the same forum, Lauer failed to push back on then-candidate Donald Trump’s assertion that is was “correct” to claim that rape should be “expected” when men and women both serve in the military.  

  17. While reporting on the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Lauer referred to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen as one of Brazil’s “most recognizable exports.”

A TMZ report initially identified the woman in the third bullet as Katie Couric. TMZ now reports it was Meredith Vieria. This piece has been updated accordingly.

Posted In
Gender, Sexual Harassment & Sexual Assault
Network/Outlet
NBC
Person
Matt Lauer
Show/Publication
NBC Today
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