One of the former executive producers of Today has spoken out about the firing of Matt Lauer following sexual harassment allegations, calling the situation "incredibly heartbreaking."
Jeff Zucker, the former president and CEO of NBC Universal and current president of CNN, commented on Lauer, saying, "I didn't know this Matt."
In 1997, when Lauer first became co-anchor with Katie Couric, Zucker was serving as executive producer of Today, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
When asked if he had any previous knowledge of Lauer's "deviant and predatory behavior," Zucker responded by saying, "That is not something I was ever aware of, or had even heard of, or had even been suggested."
"There was never a suggestion of that type of deviant, predatory behavior, not even a whisper of it," Zucker added. "Nothing like that."
Zucker praised the women who came forward with their stories of Lauer's misbehavior.
"You have to feel for the women who endured this and lived with it and have come forward," he said.
Zucker did, however, push back against the idea that Today cultivated a toxic culture.
Many have commented on Lauer's behavior and subsequent firing since news broke on Wednesday, but maybe none were more controversial than Geraldo Rivera.
"Sad about [Matt Lauer] great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me. News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of [Sex Harassment Allegations] may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it [with] predation," the FOX News contributor tweeted.
He then went on to offer what he considered to be helpful suggestions on how to handle sexual harassment allegations, but was met with much pushback.0comments
FOX eventually came out and condemned Rivera's remarks in a statement.
"Geraldo's tweets do not reflect the views of FOX News or its management. We were troubled by his comments and are addressing them with him," the statement read.