With Matt Lauer’s firing from NBC’s “Today” over charges of sexual misconduct, some of his old interviews are getting a second look — particularly a tough one he conducted with ex-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in September.
As O’Reilly offered repeated denials about the sexual harassment accusations he has faced, Lauer pressed with probing questions.
“Over the last six months since your firing, have you done some soul searching. Have you done some self-reflection and have you looked at the way you treated women that you think about differently now than you did at the time,” said Lauer.
“My conscience is clear,” O’Reilly responded defiantly. “What I have done is organize a legal team to get the truth to the American people.”
When O’Reilly raised the fact that one of his accusers once filed a false police report, Lauer immediately offered skepticism.
“I just want to mention, the two things can be mutually exclusive.” he said. “She could have filed a false report in 2015 and still be telling the truth about you.”
In a statement to TheWrap, a lawyer for Lauer’s accuser said he was pleased with NBC’s response to the Lauer matter.
“My client and I met with representatives from NBC’s Human Resources and Legal Departments at 6 p.m. on Monday for an interview that lasted several hours,” said the woman’s lawyer, Ari Wilkenfeld, of the firm Wilkenfeld, Herendeen & Atkinson. “Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly, as all companies should, when confronted with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace.”
Lauer’s accuser has not been named.
NBC News chairman Andy Lack explained the decision to part ways with Lauer in an internal memo to employees and said a “detailed complaint” against the host had been filed by a staffer on Monday night.
“It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards,” Lack wrote. “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.”
The news of Lauer’s termination was broken on-air Wednesday by his former TODAY show colleague Savannah Guthrie while sitting next to her colleague Hoda Kotb.
It is unclear who will replace Lauer on the iconic program.