Hoda Kotb on Matt Lauer Following 'Today' Firing: 'I Love Him'

While some celebrities have been swift to speak out against Matt Lauer following his firing from NBC's TODAY Show for "inappropriate sexual behavior," his co-workers are slower to reach judgment.

When asked by TMZ if she has a message for Lauer, Kotb responded, "I love him."

Kotb's message for Lauer comes after she and her co-host, Kathie Lee Gifford, discussed their conflicting emotions about the ordeal on the air during their 10 a.m. hour segment of the show.

"You've loved someone so much," Kotb said. "And then you hear something and you go, 'Wait, what? How does that make sense?' You grapple with that in your head, and you try to make sense out of it."

Gifford added that she prays for forgiveness for Lauer.

"I don't know," the 64-year-old co-host said. "I'm grappling with [whether] I should even share something, but I guess I really should. I don't feel that Matt has betrayed us in any way at all."

In 1997, tabloids reported on Frank Gifford's secretive meet-ups with another woman. The scandal was highly publicized, and the Giffords weren't quiet about how embarrassing it was for them. Frank Gifford died in 2015.

"No person is perfect in this world," she said. "Nobody is. We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, is what scripture says. And what we need now is forgiveness, and we need mercy for one another."

Gifford said victims often feel like they're to blame for the consequences of a scandal like this and the only way to "heal" and move forward is with forgiveness on all sides.

"I send out my love right now to the person — whoever it is — that came forward. May God heal that person," she said. "I send it to Matt, and his children and his wife. May God bless that family and heal."

Lauer's former co-host, Natalie Morales, who left her position as an anchor for Access Hollywood in 2016, applauded the "courage" of the alleged victim who shared her story.

"I woke up to the news like everyone this morning — just in shock," Morales said on Access Hollywood Live. "The TODAY Show, of course, has been my family for 16 years now and it is difficult. I think everyone is saying how difficult it is to process the news. I have personally dealt with rumors in the past for years that were hurtful to me, my family – they diminished my hard work. I've addressed those rumors head-on in the past. That is not the story today. The story today is the courage of a colleague who did come forward, and when and if she wants to tell her story publicly, I'm sure she will. But it did take a lot of courage for her to come forward. It was no doubt a very painful decision."

Lauer was terminated from his long-time position as head anchor of the TODAY Show on Tuesday night after an unnamed woman filed a "detailed complaint" of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace against Lauer.

The incident allegedly took place during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and Lauer's alleged accuser reportedly had evidence that he had acted inappropriately toward multiple other women as well.

NBC News chariman Andrew Lack wrote in a statement that Lauer's behavior could have been part of a pattern.


"While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he's been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident," Lack's statement read.

Photo Credit: Getty / NBC / Contributor