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‘Morning Show’ Director Says THAT Door Button Isn’t Based on Matt Lauer’s Door Button

Mimi Leder also tells TheWrap how Episode 3 ”really explores the different levels of misconduct and if they are all the same“

(Warning: This post contains spoilers through Episode 103 of Apple’s “The Morning Show,” titled “Chaos Is the New Cocaine.”)

If you’ve made it to episode three of Apple TV+’s “Morning Show,” then you’ve witnessed the scene where Mia Jordan (Karen Pittman), one of the fictional morning show’s producers, walks into Mitch Kessler’s (Steve Carell) office and pushes a button under his desk that swings his door shut. (It’s revealed she knew where the button was because she was having an affair with Mitch.) And if you’ve seen that scene, then you might be wondering if it’s a direct reference to the now-infamous button that ousted “Today” show host Matt Lauer is accused of using to close his door when women were in his office at NBC News headquarters in New York.

Well, Mimi Leder, executive producer and director on the Apple TV+ drama, tells TheWrap that’s not the case. At least, it’s not only referencing Lauer’s button.

“We’re exploring the #MeToo movement, but we’re also exploring so much more,” Leder said. “And this story is not about this one experience. This show has been deeply researched and, unfortunately, there are so many stories, an epidemic of stories, to tell. So its not based on any one person’s experience, it’s not based on Matt Lauer. There are many stories out there that this is similar to.”

OK, the “Morning Show” team has shot down the idea that Carell’s character is based on Lauer a few times now, but when we saw the button, we had to check one more time.

Episode 3, titled “Chaos Is the New Cocaine,” also features a conversation between Mitch and a filmmaker named Dick (played by Martin Short) who has also been accused of sexual misconduct. Mitch invites him over to his house to discuss working on a documentary that would feature the men of #MeToo having a conversation with their accusers. Mitch slowly starts to change his opinion of Dick when the director confesses to being accused of statutory rape and he says he’s “protected” by the statute of limitations.

That’s when Mitch tries to make a distinction between the “first wave” of men accused during the #MeToo movement (who were “really bad”) and the “second wave” (which is “just different”). When Dick asks him to clarify the difference, Mitch says, “Well, you are actually a predator,” drawing a line between himself and Dick.

Leder calls this a “very nuanced scene.”

“In terms of the discussion of misconduct in the workplace and sexual assault and the different levels of assault and the different levels of who these guys are in the scene in Episode 3, it’s a very nuanced scene and it’s a very interesting scene, because it really explores the different levels of misconduct and if they are all the same,” she told TheWrap. “And I think it’s such an important discussion to have that, I think, culturally we’ve been having for a while now.”

“Is rape the same as sexual harassment? I think it’s really a fascinating discussion,” she continued. “And I think these are fictitious characters and these characters are having real discussions about all these things and realizations of, like, ‘I’m not like you, you’re a bad guy.’ There’s many different levels of bad guy, and we open up that discussion and I think that’s important. We’re in a shifting world and I think it’s really– the culture of silence is hopefully a thing of the past. And at least we’re talking about it.”

New episodes of “The Morning Show” drop Fridays on Apple TV+