Matt Lauer: 4 times he interviewed people about sexual harassment this year

Writer, Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle
Yahoo TV
Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly, and Corey Feldman. (Photo: Getty Images)
Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly, and Corey Feldman. (Photo: Getty Images)

After Matt Lauer’s swift firing from NBC following a complaint about “inappropriate sexual behavior,” the former host of the Today show is in the hot seat. Lauer has now been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women in a report published by Variety.

The veteran TV journalist has conducted several interviews on the topic of sexual harassment in the last three months — and they’re all especially awkward to look back at now. Here are a few:

Bill O’Reilly

Lauer scored an interview with the former The O’Reilly Factor host, who was let go by Fox News after his own sexual harassment scandal earlier this year.

“You were probably the last guy in the world that they wanted to fire, because you were the guy that the ratings and the revenues were built on. You carried that network on your shoulders for a lot of years,” Lauer said. “So doesn’t it seem safe to assume that the people at Fox News were given a piece of information, or given some evidence, that simply made it impossible for you to stay on at Fox News?”

“That’s false assumption,” O’Reilly retorted. “It was a business decision that they made. But there isn’t any smoking gun.”

“But you don’t let your No. 1 guy go unless you have information that you think makes him. …” Lauer said, before O’Reilly jumped in with, “Sure you do. … That’s not true. There are billions of dollars at stake in business deals, and they made a business decision that they could possibly prosper more without me.”

Later on, Lauer asked, “So why didn’t you sue those women if you say you did absolutely nothing wrong? … Think about those five women and what they did. They came forward and filed complaints against the biggest star at the network they worked at. Think of how intimidating that must have been, how nerve-wracking that must have been. Doesn’t that tell you how strongly they felt about the way they were treated by you?”

Politics aside and keeping in mind the events of today, the entire eight-minute sit-down is uncomfortable, to say the least.

Julia Roberts

A few weeks ago, Lauer chatted with the actress about her film Wonder, and he brought up the prevalent topic. “While Roberts’s family and career are on track, the movie industry has been derailed by recent revelations and admissions about sexual abuse by several powerful men in Hollywood,” Lauer says in a voiceover. “As a staple in the business, I asked Julia to weigh in.”

After Roberts condemned what has been going in in Hollywood, Lauer brought the #MeToo movement in, asking, “I mentioned you’re a huge name in Hollywood, but it wasn’t always the case. You were a young and up-and-coming actress — did you have these experiences?” After Roberts said she was lucky not to have experienced harassment, Lauer asked, “Do you think as a 21-year-old — that Mystic Pizza Julia Roberts — you would have known how to deal with it? Being put in one of those situations?”

In Variety‘s article, Lauer has been accused of focusing his attention on attractive young women with career ambitions.

Corey Feldman

Last month, former child star Corey Feldman was interviewed by Lauer about his plans to expose Hollywood pedophiles in an upcoming feature film. The Today host opened the interview by asking Feldman how prevalent the abuse in Hollywood is.

“I believe there’s a lot of darkness in Hollywood right now. … As we’ve seen with the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it continues to unfold. New names come forward every day … it’s going to continue unraveling,” Feldman said. “Everything you’re seeing is building up to what I believe is going to be a dam breaking open.”

The entire interview was contentious. Feldman was quick to explain his thoughts about the “hostile” sit-down on Twitter after news of Lauer’s firing broke.

Ronan Farrow

The NBC News correspondent helped blow open the Harvey Weinstein scandal with his piece for the New Yorker. It contained on-the-record accounts from some of the disgraced producer’s alleged victims, as well as the first allegations of nonconsensual sex (something Weinstein has denied). Farrow sat down with the Today show and talked with co-hosts Lauer and Savannah Guthrie about his story. At the end of the three-minute interview, Lauer told Farrow, “It’s an extraordinary article; nice job.”

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