Comedy writer Nell Scovell was asked to appear on the show in 2009 after she authored a Vanity Fair article about alleged behind-the-scenes sexual discrimination and misconduct on The Late Show With David Letterman.
Scovell wrote in her new book, Just the Funny Parts, that she turned down the opportunity, to which Lauer called her to try to convince her to change her mind.
“I finished writing my piece, ‘Letterman and Me,’ and it went live on vanityfair.com at 12 A.M. on October 27,” she wrote in the memoir, an excerpt of which was published by Vanity Fair. “The next morning, I opened my laptop. My inbox was flooded. The story had been picked up by several web sites, and requests for appearances came pouring in. I turned down the Today show, and then hours later, my phone rang. I picked up and heard a familiar voice.”
She said Lauer was “smooth and charming” as he attempted to coax her into appearing on the morning program.
Scovell told Lauer she was hesitant to appear on Today because "people want to hear about interns in the bedroom, and I want to talk about gender in the writers' room."
Scovell said she asked Lauer at the time, "You're OK if I don’t discuss Dave sleeping with interns?" She claimed that Lauer replied, "Hey, I couldn’t be held to that high standard."
"Matt's' 'joke' made me queasy. With apologies, I passed a second time," Scovell wrote.
The writer’s alleged encounter with Lauer occurred nearly a decade before the longtime broadcaster was ousted by NBC on Nov. 29 following allegations sexual misconduct.
While at least eight women have since come forward to allege sexual misconduct by the veteran host, he issued a statement to Today one day after his firing to express “sorrow and regret” for his actions — though he painted some of the claims as untrue.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” he said. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.”0comments
“Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching, and I’m committed to beginning that effort,” he continued. “It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
Lauer and his wife Annette Roque have reportedly endured a rocky relationship following the news. Despite divorce rumors and the couple being seen without their wedding bands, no official word of their split has been confirmed.