After producer Harvey Weinstein was brought down in October following several accusations of sexual harassment and assault, more accusations have come forward regarding many other public figures. In late November, news came out that shook up NBC's The Today Show, when longtime host Matt Lauer faced an accusation as well. In Lauer's case, it started with a single allegation of sexual misconduct. After conducting their own investigation, NBC decided the proper course of action was to fire Lauer altogether.
After the initial investigation into the first allegation, more accusations of improper behavior by Lauer were revealed. In total, eight women accused Lauer of exposing himself to them, and he gave a sex toy and sexual note to one of his colleagues. Another woman said Lauer physically assaulted her in his office, and she wound up passing out.
While many found these accusations shocking, other public moments from Lauer's past suggested he might not be the angel people thought he was. This included an appearance Katie Couric made on the talk show Watch What Happens Live. In the interview, she was asked about Lauer's most annoying habit when they worked together. Her response? "He pinches me on the a** a lot."
Also coming to the surface was video taken from a commercial break of The Today Show that wasn't supposed to be seen by the public. In the clip, Lauer can be heard talking to his then co-anchor Meredith Vieira. In the clip, Vieira leans over to get a microphone attached, and Lauer says, "Pretty sweater. Keep bending over like that. It’s a nice view."
The interview took place shortly after an embarrassing photo of Hathaway was released to the public. The pic in question was an upskirt photo of Hathaway taken by a paparazzi as she was exiting a limo. Since it was in the news, Lauer decided to bring up the topic during the interview.
So how did Matt Lauer decided to bring up this delicate topic? As soon as Hathaway sat down, he says, "Nice to see you. Seen a lot of you lately." Of all the ways to segue into the topic, you'd think a professional journalist like Lauer could find something better.
Next, Lauer says, "Let's just get it out of the way. Had a little 'wardrobe malfunction.'" Hathaway responded by uttering a disapproving "Hmm." Most likely this is because it wasn't so much a malfunction of her wardrobe as it was a malfunction of a photographer invading her privacy.
Eventually, Lauer got to an actual question, which in this case was, "What's the lesson you learn from something like that?" Again, this puts the blame squarely on Hathaway, not on the photographer. Fortunately, she knew how to respond.
In response, Hathaway said, "It was obviously an unfortunate incident. 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." So she took Lauer's attempt to shame her, and completely turned it around.
Hathaway continued, saying "I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants, which brings us back to Les Mis...That’s what my character is, she is someone who is forced to sell sex to benefit her child because she has nothing and there’s no social safety net." So not only did she give a perfect answer, she managed to plug her movie at the exact same time.
After hearing Hathaway's answer, he didn't thank her for her honesty or rational thought on the issue. Instead, he condescendingly replied, "That's one of the most creative turns of a question I have ever heard." It doesn't even occur to him that she had to turn the question around because the question itself just wasn't any good.
On Twitter, many people quickly recalled this odd interview between Lauer and Hathaway. And even before the allegations came out about Lauer, people who remembered the interview seemed to agree. At least during the interview, Matt Lauer came off just a bit on the creepy side.
For some people, they were already done with Lauer after the Hathaway interview. His 2017 firing seemed to come about five years too late. But it took some much harsher allegations before it would finally happen.
Perhaps one day Anne Hathaway will get a chance to interview Matt Lauer and turn the tables. However, if that were to happen, there would be one big difference. If she asks Lauer about what lesson her learned, in this case she would be putting the blame on the right person.