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
After NBC fired veteran anchor Matt Lauer following an allegation of sexual misconduct, The Daily Show dug up a 2012 sketch featuring the Today host as a "real victim" of inappropriate touching.
Today tried to spoof a news segment on sexual harassment in the workplace after colleague Willie Geist slapped Lauer on the butt. It also includes cameos by Today co-hosts Savannah Guthrie, Jeff Rossen, Al Roker and Natalie Morales.
After showing surveillance footage of Geist tapping Lauer on the backside, investigative reporter Rossen reveals that “the owner of that derriere is breaking his silence,” cutting to a teary-eyed Lauer.
“I’m upset for a couple of reasons," Lauer said in the sketch, which looks eerily similar to a true NBC News broadcast. "One, why deny it? If you do it, own up to it. Secondly, since it happened, he hasn’t called, he hasn’t written. Nothing.”
The clip is uncomfortable at best in light of the allegations against Lauer. It also puts NBC in a poor light for mocking what it now deems a serious offense.
The serious tone of the spoof might lead viewers to believe the incident was the real deal, but the playful “accusations” between the on-air colleagues reveal it’s a segment meant to incite laughs for the late night comedy show.
But viewers of the sketch aren't laughing.
This Today show segment is part of the problem. Real harassment is not a joke.— Susan Hulett (@SusanHulett) November 29, 2017
"Breaking his silence" ???— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) November 29, 2017
this is a sick satire and is in seriously poor taste— ZissouNP(S) (@theloneyoni) November 29, 2017
On Wednesday, Today anchor Savannah Guthrie announced that Lauer had been terminated by the network following a complaint alleging "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace" by a colleague. Reports claim that the incident may have occurred when the twenty-year veteran reporter was covering the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
NBC Chairman Andy Lack said Lauer was fired based on a "clear violation of our company's standards" and claimed that his actions "may not have been an isolated incident."