After NBC News fired Today Show anchor Matt Lauer late last month for alleged sexual harassment, viewers began digging into the YouTube archives to find past interviews with hints of Lauer's behavior. Since he became the Today Show co-anchor in 1997, Lauer has interviewed hundreds of thousands of celebrities and newsmakers, and many of them are now seen as windows into how he thinks about women.
Lauer was fired on Nov. 29, leaving Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb to deliver the news. NBC News said it received a complaint from a woman about an alleged incident at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics that lead to his firing. After that, more women came forward to accuse Lauer of misconduct, claiming he exposed himself and had sex toys in his office. Lauer also reportedly had a button in his office to lock the door from the inside.
"There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. 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," Lauer said in a statement after he was fired. "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."
Several of Lauer's old interviews went viral after he was fired. Here's a look at his most questionable TV moments.
"Why Are You Still Famous?"
In a 2003 Dateline interview with Madonna, Lauer asked the Queen of Pop about a New York Times article that questioned her relevance after her latest album wasn't a hit. Madonna explained that she's not trying to appeal to the same audience as Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera.
Later on, Lauer asked her point-blank, "Why are you still famous?"
"Look, Marilyn Monroe is still famous and she's been dead for ages," a frustrated Madonna replied.prevnext
"You're Naked For Most of This Movie"
While promoting The Proposal in 2009, Sandra Bullock stopped by Today. During the interview, Lauer was weirdly obsessed with her nude scene in the romantic comedy.
"The major thing that's changed since I've seen you last: I've seen you naked," Lauer said right at the start of the interview.
"I am so sorry about that, were you able to sleep afterwards?" Bullock asked.
"It's now my screensaver," Lauer told her. "You're naked for most of this movie… except for a carefully placed washcloth, is that what it is?" Bullock said it was a loofah.
At the very end of the interview, Lauer told her to come on the show again.
"No," Bullock said. "Not after this interview."prevnext
"We've Seen a Lot of You Lately"
Lauer's most infamous TV moment came during a 2012 interview with Anne Hathaway. The actress was promoting Les Miserables, which she would win an Oscar for a couple of months after the interview.
The interview happened after a photo of her wardrobe malfunction was published. Rather than ask about the movie, Lauer opened the interview with that.
"We've seen a lot of you lately," he told Hathaway.
Even though she was clearly embarrassed and didn't want to talk about it, Lauer kept pressing.
"Well, it was obviously an unfortunate incident," Hathaway told Lauer. "It kind of made me sad on two accounts: One was that I was very sad that we live in an age when someone takes a picture of another person in a vulnerable moment and rather than delete it, and do the decent thing, sells it. And I'm sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants."prevnext
"She's Got a Hot New Look"
In 2004, Kelly Clarkson was promoting Breakaway with a performance on Today. Lauer introduced the then-23-year-old singer as having a "hot new look."
"I have a hot new look? That's exciting," a surprised Clarkson says.
"Well, I'm back from vacation and you caught my attention in a hurry. I'll tell you that," Lauer replied.prevnext
"The Sexual Side" of Miley Cyrus
After Miley Cyrus' famous twerking performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2013, Lauer couldn't stop grilling the singer about the performance. At one point, he asked her, "Is the sexual side of you that we're seeing a lot of right now something that's going to be here for a while?"
"I heard when you turn 40, things start to go a little less sexual," Cyrus replied. "Probably around that time, I heard that's when people don't have sex anymore. I guess maybe around then."prevnext
The Ann Curry Exit
In 2012, Ann Curry left the Today Show after a brief run as Lauer's co-anchor. Lauer reportedly played a major role in her leaving, and she later called the Today set a "boys club." During her tearful goodbye, Lauer tried his best to appear as if he cared. Lauer sat back on the couch while Al Roker and Natalie Morales reached over to comfort her.prevnext
"As a Woman and a Mom, You Could Present a Softer Image"
Lauer was criticized for his 2014 interview with General Motors CEO Mary Barra. He kept harping on the fact that she is a woman and a mother, rather than her qualifications for the job.
"There are some people who are speculating that you also got this job as a woman and as a mom, because people in General Motors knew that this company was in for a very tough time and, as a woman and a mom, you could present a softer image and softer face as this company goes through this horrible episode," Lauer said. "Does it make sense, or does it make you bristle?"
"Well, it's absolutely not true. I was selected for this job based on my qualifications," Barra said.
Lauer then asked if she could be both a CEO and mother "well."prevnext
The Hillary Clinton Commander-In-Chief Forum
In September 2016, NBC News aired a "Commander-In-Chief Forum," where Lauer interviewed Hillary Clinton for a half-hour before interviewing future President Donald Trump for a half-hour. Lauer's performance was instantly criticized, as he obsessed over Clinton's emails but gave Trump softball questions. He also frequently interrupted Clinton. NBC executives reportedly considered it a "disaster."prevnext
The "Today Show" Musical Boxers Scene
In December 2014, Today aired a 15-minute sketch called Today The Musical!. In one scene, someone spills a drink on Lauer's pants, forcing him to change in the hallway. The female Today anchors arrive, and he opens his suit jacket.
"Drink it in, ladies!"
"Again Matt? That's the third time this week," they reply.prevnext
Lauer Jokes About Sexual Harassment in 20120comments
"I didn't do anything differently, I wasn't wearing a different cologne. This was uninitiated," Lauer tells Jeff Rossen. "I'm upset for a couple of reasons. One, that he denied it. I mean, why deny it? I mean, if you do it, own up to it. And secondly, since it happened, he hasn't called, he hasn't written…[the worst part is] the abandonment."
The Daily Show staff shared the video hours after Lauer was fired.
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