After firing Matt Lauer over his sexual harassment allegations, the Today Show and its employees are being more cautious. The long-running morning show hosted its annual holiday party on Thursday but this year, the celebration was said to be unusually “low-key.”
Page Six reported that the Today Christmas lunch party was held at the Black Barn restaurant in New York. Hosts Megyn Kelly, Savannah Guthrie, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker were all in attendance. Executive Producer Don Nash was also there and gave a short speech to thank the staff’s hard work for the year.
However, according to Radar Online, the show’s employees have been so severely affected by Matt Lauer’s scandal that the “somber” mood carried over to what could have been a fun office party. Insiders revealed that the mood of their Christmas bash was gloom, unlike the show’s past parties. Reportedly, there was no dancing, mingling, and “very little drinking.”
“It was very, very somber. There was no dancing and very little drinking like in previous years. The men on staff are frightened to even talk to the women.”
On Nov. 29, NBC fired Matt Lauer after a female employee came forward with accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior against the veteran anchor. Since then, at least two other women have filed their own separate complaints. Lauer’s sexual misconducts allegedly happened in the Today office. In one incident, the award-winning host gave a sex toy to a colleague and wrote her an explicit note about how he meant to use it on her.
Following the controversy, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim announced that the network will be conducting a thorough investigation about the issue. He vowed to punish everyone involved and even those who kept silent, Fox News reported.
“I can tell you, on a personal level, that if there is anyone who works here, who still works here, who knew about this and didn’t report it, this is going to be dealt with in the most severe way possible.”
Clearly, The Today Show’s employees are still reeling from the effects of Matt Lauer’s ousting. After all, the 59-year-old disgraced anchor has been with Today since its beginning. In January this year, Lauer celebrated his 20th year on Today. Highlights of his career include countless nominations and multiple awards for hosting the morning show.
Despite the tense situation in NBC, Matt Lauer’s firing has helped to pull up Today’s ratings. According to ABC News, the morning show dominated the ratings chart every day of the whole week since Lauer’s absence. It beat its strongest early morning competitor, Good Morning America, for the first time in three months.
On Thursday, when Matt Lauer issued his official statement about the controversy, a total of 5.2 million viewers tuned in to Today. The solid ratings also carried over to NBC’s evening news. Nightly News also beat ABC’s World News Tonight for the entire week.