Well, this is awkward. Disgraced journalist Matt Lauer, who has been accused by multiple women of harassment and possible sexual assault, in 2014 blasted Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand for not “calling out” harassing colleagues in the Senate. Talking to the politician on Today, the man who had a secret locking mechanism to trap young females in his office lectured, “A senator, this is a guy you admire, squeezed your waist from behind and told you not to lose too much weight because he likes his girls chubby. And you didn't name names. Why?”
He berated, “Why didn't you call them out?” The man who allegedly used his power at NBC to hide harassment of women apparently has no self awareness. He demanded, “If you had named names, did you fear a backlash? You know how things work in Washington, in politics, that behind the scenes you would have been cut off at the knees.”
For more on this, see the original 2014 blog by the MRC’s Kyle Drennen. Here is his partial transcript from September 8, 2014:
8:34 AM ET
MATT LAUER: New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is on a mission to recruit more women into politics. She's also out with a brand new memoir, Off the Sidelines, pulling back the curtain on the challenges she's faced as only the sixth woman to give birth while serving in Congress. A book that's making headlines for revealing the comments made to her by several male colleagues. Senator, good morning, it's good to see you.
KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: Good morning, Matt.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: "Off the Sidelines"; Sen. Gillibrand Looks at Sexism & The Senate]
LAUER: Book wasn't even out and you're in the headlines already because of some of what you've written about your colleagues and their comments to you during and after your pregnancy. Some examples, one House member said, quote, "Good thing you're working out because you wouldn't want to get porky." Another colleague had the audacity to say, "You're even pretty when you're fat." And a senator, this is a guy you admire, squeezed your waist from behind and told you not to lose too much weight because he likes his girls chubby. And you didn't name names. Why?
GILLIBRAND: Because it's about these challenges we all face. I use these illustrations to show these are challenges women face in the workplace in every career, in every profession. And I want to create a conversation with women about the issues they care about.
LAUER: Yeah, but you write in the book that when you heard these comments you wanted to explode. And you would have liked to have thrown some expletives out. You also write in the book, "Comments about appearance belittle women professionally. We need to start to change it by calling out undercutting remarks and educating our peers." Why didn't you call them out?
GILLIBRAND: Well, you know, when you're pregnant, Matt, out to here and someone says, "You're even pretty when you're fat," it's crazy for someone to equate pregnancy with being fat. And it was outrageous, but those comments weren't the worst. The worst were after I had the baby. The worst were when I'm just being appointed to be senator and I'm told by labor leaders and advisers that I can't win a statewide race being heavy. I was literally told, "You need to be beautiful again to win a statewide race."
LAUER: If you had named names, did you fear a backlash? You know how things work in Washington, in politics...
GILLIBRAND: Not at all.
LAUER: ...that behind the scenes you would have been cut off at the knees?
GILLIBRAND: Yeah, it's not about the specifics of any one insult throughout anytime in my career. It's about elevating the conversation so women can understand, these are challenges they're facing in the workplace that are real. And we have to be able to talk about it, to have a national conversation about how women are treated and whether they're supported in the workplace.