Back in 2009, Matt Lauer made a tasteless joke about “sleeping with interns,” to a Vanity Fair writer, in a conversation that foreshadowed Lauer’s shocking downfall. This brief conversation left her so “queasy” that writer Nell Scovell “declined” to appear on the Today show.
The Daily Mail reports that former writer for The Late Show With David Letterman planned on appearing on Today to discuss “gender in the writing room,” but an off-color joke by Matt Lauer left a bad taste in her mouth.
Scovell, the author of a new book that comes out in March, Just the Funny Parts… And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys’ Club, recently recalled her encounter with Matt Lauer.
Nell Scovell had just written a high-profile piece for Vanity Fair, about David Letterman’s shocking admittance that he had sexual relations with many of the women that worked for the CBS late night talk show. She had been one of a handful of female writers for the comedian in the 90s, but left the show because of sexual discrimination in the workplace.
Her article included one of the most shocking revelations in late night television. David Letterman had publicly admitted on his show that he acted very badly, and had sex with several of his female staffers. Letterman had then revealed that he had been extorted for millions of dollars, and the authorities prevented some personal and very shocking information from leaking to the public.
Understandably, the Today show was interested in speaking to the Vanity Fair writer, but she had declined.
Then, Matt Lauer gave her a phone call to personally convince her to appear on the NBC morning show. This is the very call that made the writer “queasy.”
According to Page Six, Scovell told Lauer that while she wanted to talk about sexual discrimination, people wanted to hear about “interns in the bedroom.” She wanted to talk about issues, not the salacious details, thus this is why she didn’t want to go on Today.
She asked Lauer, “You’re OK if I don’t discuss Dave sleeping with interns?” Lauer’s response was a tasteless joke, “Hey, I couldn’t be held to that high standard.”
Uncomfortable with how that particular phone conversation went, Nell Scovell chose not to appear on Today.
Matt Lauer is just one of the many men that Scovell writes about in her new book. Recalling her conversation with him and how the anchor ceremoniously lost his $25 million a year Today job for some of the same reasons that David Letterman was extorted is certainly timely.
Yet, clearly, she has a lot of focus on David Letterman, as she personally worked there.
The Daily Mail reports that when David Letterman made the announcement of the Letterman extortion, she claims that it was “no surprise to anyone” behind the scenes of the Letterman show. His reputation for have inappropriate relations with female staffers was well known.
Yet, unlike the era of #MeToo, Scovell writes that “Dave pretty much got a pass for his own underlying misconduct [that prompted the blackmail].” And she pointed out “No one seemed to think the ‘terrible things’ he’d done were terrible at all.”