- The longtime NBC host Matt Lauer jokingly pretended to be a victim of sexual harassment in a 2012 “Today” show sketch.
- The network fired Lauer on Wednesday after receiving a complaint of “inappropriate sexual behaviour.”
A video of the longtime NBC host Matt Lauer mocking sexual harassment in the workplace in a farcical sketch on the “Today” show in 2012 resurfaced on Wednesday in light of the network firing him after receiving a complaint of “inappropriate sexual behaviour.”
The four-minute segment, which “The Daily Show” posted on Twitter after the news of Lauer’s firing broke, featured Lauer pretending to report his colleague Willie Geist for swatting Lauer’s backside with a handful of folded-up papers.
In a mock interview set to dramatic music, “national investigative correspondent” Jeff Rossen introduced Lauer as “the owner of that derriere, breaking his silence.” Lauer then recounted the pretend incident in a solemn tone.
“I was standing by the doorway in the vestibule, and Willie came out, and I just said, ‘Hi, hi, Willie, how are you?’ and I thought that would be the end of it,” Lauer said in the segment.
“He reached out, and, you know,” he said, trailing off in faux anguish.
When Rossen questioned Lauer about whether he had somehow provoked the behaviour – an apparent nod to outrage over instances of victim-blaming – Lauer said he had done nothing out of the ordinary.
“That’s impossible,” he said. “I didn’t do anything differently. I wasn’t wearing a different cologne. It just, it just – this was uninitiated.”
Lauer went on to jokingly mourn that Geist had not called or written him since the incident, saying “the abandonment” was the worst part of the encounter.
The video in the “investigation” showed Lauer returning Geist’s pat by swatting his colleague on the rear.
The sketch later cut to a cameo with the actor Dustin Hoffman, who asked, “Did Willie swat him with his willy?” to the raucous laughter of Lauer, Geist, and their fellow anchors Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie on the “Today” stage.
In recent weeks, Hoffman has faced allegations of sexual harassment and groping. The actor apologised in a statement.
“I have the utmost respect for women,” Hoffman said, adding: “I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”
The “Today” sketch isn’t the only clip to resurface on Wednesday. TMZ posted a 2012 interview with Katie Couric, who hosted “Today” with Lauer for years, in which she told Bravo’s Andy Cohen that Lauer “pinches me on the a– a lot.”
Watch the full sketch:
Throwback to 2012 when Matt Lauer was the “real victim” of sexual harassment on the Today show ???? pic.twitter.com/mYdnhEV2wv
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) November 29, 2017