In light of Matt Lauer’s recent ouster from the Today show, it’s natural for a people to go back and watch some of his more notorious moments, reexamining them in a different light. One of Lauer’s interviews that has experienced renewed interest since news broke of his firing Wednesday morning was a 2012 interview with Anne Hathaway.
Prior to the interview, Hathaway had been in the news thanks to photographers snapping a distasteful upskirt photo of the actress as she exited her limo for the New York premiere of Les Miserables. When she later appeared on the Today show to promote the movie, Lauer welcomed her by saying “Anne Hathaway, good morning. Nice to see you. Seen a lot of you lately.”
Hathaway, ever the professional, tried to move on, responding “Sorry about that. I’d be happy to stay home.” Lauer though, did not pick what up what the Oscar-winning actress was putting down, and continued to talk about the unfortunate incident from a few days earlier.
“Let’s just get it out of the way,” he continued. “You had a little wardrobe malfunction the other night. What’s the lesson learned from something like that, other than that you keep smiling, which you’ll always do.”
Matt, come on, “what’s the lesson you learned from something like that?” It’s quite the move on his part to make the incident seem as if she was at fault, as opposed to the vulture paparazzi who not only took the pictures, but then spread them. Lauer’s line about Hathaway continuing to smile all but reeks of condescension.
To her credit though, Hathaway responded like a champ.
“Well, 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. And I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants, which brings us back to Les Mis, because that’s what the character [Fantine] 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 yeah—let’s get back to Les Mis.”
Not only did Hathaway tackle Lauer’s unfortunate questioning with poise and class, she also managed to tie it into the movie she was promoting, and I’d add, not at all in a opportunistic way. And to think, I don’t think anyone would have blamed her if she had told Lauer to pound sand and walked off the set.
Lauer was abruptly fired after NBC executives “received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” which NBC News chairman Andy Lack said “represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards.” The news of Lauer’s dismissal was passed along to his former co-workers moments before Wednesday’s episode began, forcing his former co-host Savannah Guthrie to not only grapple with the news in real time, but report it.
As of Thursday, Hathaway has not commented on Lauer’s firing.