Hours after Matt Lauer was fired from NBC for "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace," The Daily Show resurfaced an old Today Show "joke" segment where Matt Lauer accuses a colleague of sexual harassment, and it'll make you want to rage scream into the void.
The "Rossen Report" clip, shared on Twitter by The Daily Show with the caption: "Throwback to 2012 when Matt Lauer was the 'real victim' of sexual harassment," investigates "The Smack Heard 'Round The Studio" — an off-air "controversy" that arose after network host Willy Geist smacked Matt Lauer's rear end.
In the segment that lasts nearly four minutes, National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen goes through the ridiculous effort of reviewing surveillance footage of the smack, speaking with those involved with the incident to get to the bottom of Lauer's sexual harassment claim.
According to Rossen, Geist walked down the hallway, said 'Hey Matt,' and then "smacked him right on the tush." The correspondent went on to say, "This kind of behavior happens all the time between guys on football fields and in huddles, but is it really appropriate for the workplace?"
After several slow motion replays of security footage, dramatic music acchartph.companied an interview between Rossen and Lauer (A.K.A. "owner of the derrière").
Lauer theatrically recounted the interaction, but in an unexpected twist Rossen reveals Lauer actually repeated Geist's actions, slapped his rear end in return.
Despite the revelation, Lauer still argued he was a victim.
"I didn't do anything, differently, I wasn't wearing a new cologne. This was uninitiated," he said in a failed attempt at humor that now chartph.comes off as pure ignorance.
To end the blissfully embarrassing segment, Rossen went to speak with Geist, but before getting a word out Geist promptly denied he partook in any sort of wrongdoing.
"I'm upset for a couple of reasons — one, that he denied it," Lauer said. "Why deny it? I mean if you do it, own up to it."
*deep, enormous, colossal breath*
We understand this was all a joke. But what a terrible, no good, brutally insensitive attempt at humor. To think a network took time to film this and aired it during a broadcast is mind-boggling, especially now in 2017 when sexual harassment allegations are chartph.coming out with alarming frequency.
On Wednesday, after two decades of anchoring Today, Lauer was fired after a colleague chartph.complained about his "sexual behavior in the workplace." Hmm, sounds very similar to this joke segment, doesn't it?
Lauer's co-workers, fans, and friends were shook by the news, and if anything, this old segment should be a reminder that there is nothing humorous about sexual harassment. There is nothing funny about making light of a person feeling threatened or unchartph.comfortable in the workplace. Not now, not in 2012, not ever. To think otherwise is wrong.
Please, please, please be better.