News broke early this morning that NBC News has fired their longtime morning news anchor Matt Lauer after being accused of sexual harassment from a colleague at NBC. Lauer’s hypocritical treatment of Bill O’Reilly, Trump and others has come back to bite the liberal news anchor, now facing similar accusations.
However, this 2012 clip from the Today show might be one of the most awkward throwbacks yet, in light of what we know now about Lauer’s behavior in the workplace.
The clip, which is basically a comedy sketch, shows Matt Lauer playing the “victim” of unwanted sexual harassment by fellow co-host Willie Geist (who’s now a regular at MSNBC’s Morning Joe.)
Anchor Savannah Guthrie, who had taken over Ann Curry’s anchoring spot when she was forced out just six months before, touted the “special” investigative report she had to share with viewers about sexual harassment in their own workplace.
“The smack heard around the studio, it was an out there moment involving two of our own, Matt Lauer and Willie Geist and it has everyone around here talking and accusing,” Guthrie began.
“The whole thing was captured on surveillance cameras,” Guthrie noted, before handing off to NBC’s investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen.
“It all happened right here,” Rossen noted, standing behind the scenes. He goes on to describe the incident of “harassment:”
This is the door to the studio, and right over here is the staircase upstairs to Matt’s dressing room. Matt says around this time yesterday morning, he came down the stairs, was standing around over here, getting ready for an upcoming segment, when Willie walked in, said, ‘Hey Matt.’ Then Matt says, he smacked him right on the tush. Look, this kind of behavior happens all the time. Between guys on football fields, and then huddles. But is it really appropriate for the workplace? Judge for yourself.
Rossen then plays the video clip showing Geist smacking Lauer’s rear.
“Caught on tape. Surveillance cameras are rolling as Willie goes in for the swat. Did you see it?” Rossen asks. “Here it is again from another angle!”
“The owner of that derriere breaking his silence,” Rossen states, sitting down with Lauer.
“I was standing by the doorway...and Willie came out and I just said, ‘Hi Willie. How are you?’” he stated as sad music played in the background.
“I thought that would be the end of it. And he just reached out and...you know,” Lauer stated somberly, looking as if he were going to cry.
But there’s a twist, Rossen revealed.
“Watch what happens next. Matt slaps back! Is there more to this story?” he asked, showing the full clip with Lauer reciprocating the butt slap.
“Some would say, you did something to provoke this,” Rossen stated to Lauer.
“It’s impossible. I didn’t do anything differently. I wasn’t wearing a different cologne. It just--it just-- this was uninitiated,” Lauer stated.
NBC cameras then follow Rossen into the studio to confront Geist.
“I didn’t do it!” Geist immediately responded, seeing the cameras. Rossen responds, “I think you know what this is about.”
“We have it all on tape Willie, your hand touching Matt’s tush,” Rossen charges Geist, as laughter could be heard in the background.
“It was a touch of the lower back, I think if you review the security footage,” Geist states, clearly trying not to chuckle.
“This seems like a targeted attack,” Rossen charged. “You’ve never touched my butt, you’ve never touched Al’s butt,” he said. Geist joked, “I have touched Al’s butt, just not with the cameras rolling.”
Rossen then cuts back to the “victim” Lauer.
“Do you feel victimized by this?” he asks.
“I’m upset for a couple of reasons. One that he denied it. I mean why deny it? If you do it, own up to it. And secondly since it happened, he hasn’t called, he hasn’t written,” he gushed.
“That may be the worst part of all,” Rossen sympathized. “The abandonment,” Lauer agreed.
The hosts continued to joke about the incident on-air. To make things more awkward, the hosts turned to guest Dustin Hoffman, who has recently been accused of sexual harassment as well.
The panel asked, “Dustin, inappropriate, appropriate?”
“I’m a little confused. Did Willie touch him with his willie?” Hoffman joked, to the panel’s laughter.