In a disturbing twist of irony, footage from 2012 has surfaced showing the entire “Today” show cast mocking workplace sexual harassment with Matt Lauer portraying the victim.
It was announced early Wednesday that Lauer was fired from NBC after complaints of “inappropriate sexual behavior” were brought against him.
As the news of Lauer’s termination spread like wildfire, “The Daily Show” resurrected the cringe-worthy sketch on Twitter that depicts Lauer pretending to report his colleague, Willie Geist, for sexual misconduct.
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
"I was standing by the doorway in the vestibule, and Willie came out, and I just said, 'Hi, hi, Willie, how are you,' and I thought that would be the end of it," Lauer said in the fake interview set to dramatic music.
"He reached out, and, you know," he continued, alluding to a mock incident caught on "surveillance" in which Geist swatted his behind with a handful of rolled-up papers.
The segment lasts for nearly five long and uncomfortable minutes. At one point, the video features a cameo by actor Dustin Hoffman, who asked, “Did Willie swat him with his willy," which garnered laughs from the male and female hosts.
Interestingly enough, Hoffman recently faced sexual harassment and groping allegations of his own, prompting him to issue a formal apology.
“I have the utmost respect for women," Hoffman said, adding: "I am sorry.”
While it’s clear that all those involved in the sketch were willing participants, the footage suggests that lewd sexual innuendo and humor were welcomed on the set of the “Today” show and at NBC’s studios.
This lighthearted approach to an issue as serious as sexual assault likely paved the way for the real-life incidents to occur behind the scenes. This is now coming back to haunt the network as it faces scrutiny for being oblivious to Lauer's behavior.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS/Brendan McDermid