FLASHBACK: Matt Lauer Opens Up About The Time Willie Geist Sexually Harassed Him

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Thomas Phippen Associate Editor
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Former “Today” Show host Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC Wednesday in light of undisclosed sexual harassment allegations, once charged colleague Willie Geist with sexual harassment as a juke during a 2012 show.

During a four minute segment Dec. 5, 2012, NBC played up the relationship between Geist and Lauer in a jocular segment where Today hosts and investigative reporter Jeff Rossen dug into whether a butt-slap from Geist amounted to unwanted contact.


The segment takes a tongue-in-cheek look at sexual harassment, with Lauer blaming Geist for slapping his butt backstage before a show. The Today Show even brought in Jeff Rossen to investigate.

“This kind of behavior happens all the times between guys on football fields and huddles, but is it really appropriate for the workplace?” Rossen said. The reporters review security footage which shows Geist enter a hallway and swat Lauer on the backside with a wad of papers. After the two shake hands and Geist passes, Lauer then slaps Geist’s rear with his open palm.

“We’ve shown this tape to several experts who all agree this kind of play is only appropriate when you have the prior permission of both people, which, our investigation has uncovered, Willie did not have,” Rossen said.

Lauer agreed that he felt victimized by the incident. “Why deny it? If you do it, own up to it,” Lauer said.

The hosts then refer to the day’s guest, Dustin Hoffman, who has himself been charged recently with inappropriate behavior, for his opinion. “I’m a little confused. Did Willie slap him with his willie?” Hoffman asked.

Geist, who now works with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” told host Joe Scarborough on Wednesday that he was stunned by Lauer’s departure and was unaware of the allegations against Lauer.

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