Addie Collins Zinone appeared on the Today show Monday morning to speak to Megyn Kelly about Zinone's claims that she had an affair with Matt Lauer 17 years ago while she was a 24-year-old production assistant at Today.
Despite the courage it took for Collins Zinone to come forward with her story, the now-41-year-old shared that she has been receiving backlash online after sharing her experience, explaining that she's been called a "slut" and a "whore."
"It's difficult to talk about," Collins Zinone told Kelly. "My family is shattered by this; they're afraid for me. This all trickles down to a lot of people being affected, so having these conversations is really important. But also, there's a lot of shame attached to what I did. My goal was to try to get him to see me as a human being, so it seems odd I would continually go see him, but it seemed like an opportunity to get him to see me as a human being."
"[The affair] was a massive mistake and I know who I am at my core and the core values I have, but of course you carry shame. He has a wife. I don't want to pour salt on these wounds, and that's a really scary thing. You do carry that your whole life. you're thinking…why could I not get out of it? Why did I do that?" she continued.
The 41-year-old explained in a piece published by Variety that while the pair's affair was mutual, Lauer wielded his power over her in an unhealthy way. Last month, Lauer was fired from NBC for inappropriate sexual behavior.
Collins Zinone added to Kelly that she wanted to come forward to "put a face and a story to these women's accusations."
After Today shared the video of Collins Zinone's interview on Twitter, users instantly began slamming her for her story.
"YOU knew he was married and you still had sex with him," one commenter wrote. "Sorry but that makes you a slut, tramp."
"All this does is detract from the Me Too movement and woman who have actually been assaulted or sexually discriminated against," opined another.
Despite the negativity, Collins Zinone also has plenty of supporters.
"She is sharing her mistake so that young girls are enlightened," one person commented. "That is bravery."
Photo Credit: Today