On the day NBC News fired embattled anchor Matt Lauer over allegations of sexual misconduct, “Today” show co-host Savannah Guthrie admitted she didn’t know how to “reconcile” her love for Lauer with the claims leveled against him.
Just hours later, at the start of her own morning program, NBC host Kathie Lee Gifford responded to Guthrie’s question by urging forgiveness and even shared the powerful, faith-based text message she sent Lauer that morning.
“I texted him this morning and said, ‘I adore you, and no person is perfect in this world — nobody is. We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, is what Scripture says,’” Gifford said, referring to Romans 3:23.
What else did Gifford say?
After replaying the earlier segment, during which Guthrie shared the news of Lauer’s ouster and her personal struggle with accepting the accusations on the table, Gifford shared a message straight from God’s word.
The openly Christian anchor discussed the moment she learned her late husband cheated on her and how she had to learn to forgive him:
“I’m grappling with, should I even share. ... But I guess I really should. ... When I found out my husband had betrayed me, you question your own judgment. You say, ‘Was everything a lie?’ And I think we have to fight against that.”
Ultimately, “forgiveness” was the crux of Gifford’s message on the day Lauer was fired:
“What we need now is forgiveness, and we need mercy for one another. And we don’t need taunts, and we don’t need ugliness, we have enough of that in this world. I send out my love right now to the person, whoever it is, who came forward, may God heal that person. I send it to Matt and his children and his wife, may God bless that family and heal. ... I’m sorry, Hoda, but in my long life, the only thing I’ve ever been sure of is that only God can heal it. Only God can heal it. ... There’s no bad time to reach out for his help.”
“We are all so broken, we’re broken and we need somebody to put us back together. It’s possible, I’m living proof,” she added.
What did Lauer do?
In late November, just days after the Thanksgiving holiday, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack announced the network’s decision to fire Lauer after receiving “a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”
“While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” Lack said.
Full Andy Lack memo on Matt Lauer: pic.twitter.com/RU6Br7vaZZ
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) November 29, 2017
According to Variety, which conducted a two-month long investigation, Lauer would allegedly quiz female producers about their sexual habits. He once reportedly gave a colleague a sex toy as a gift along with an explicit note describing how he would use it on her. Lauer also allegedly exposed himself to one female employee whom he had called to his office.
Several awkward interviews and encounters with coworkers surfaced in the days after Lauer’s firing, including a 2006 clip from an in-studio camera showing the former anchor making inappropriate comments to then-co-host Meredith Vieira.