Matt Lauer is finally ready to apologize -- to a former intern. The much-maligned Today show host made a public apology toward Mark Zinni, who interned at the Today show back in 1997, via Twitter on Tuesday, March 26.
"I was an intern there in '97, his first year on the job…how do I say this…? He was… not nice," Zinni tweeted at a friend earlier that day.
Several of the journalist's online friends and followers jumped at the reference to Lauer, asking Zinni to clarify his statement. Several hours later, Zinni retweeted a pal's comments.
"'I was just a young kid with a bright future ahead of me,' Mark Zinni talking about internship at Today and 'not so nice' Matt Lauer," the follower wrote.
That follow-up retweet must have caught Lauer's eye, because the 55-year-old talk show cohost later took it upon himself to respond to the claims personally.
"Huh? Always tried to be nice Mark. Sorry you didn't think so," Lauer wrote in a tweet directed at Zinni. "Hope you're doing well. Matt."
Zinni, who is currently a Cleveland-based anchor and reporter, addressed the resulting media attention in a post to the Fox 8 website on Thursday, March 28.
"If you know me, you probably know that I don't take myself too seriously," he wrote, adding that he had "an amazing internship" at the Today show back in 1997. "So, my answer was more of a joke about being young and naive during my time at Today, but I added that he wasn't nice to me."
"I didn't slam the guy, I just made an honest comment," he continued. "Bottom line, I was shocked Matt Lauer even bothered with me and, really, he remembers me? I'm flattered."
Zinni's comments about Lauer are just the latest in a series that have painted the veteran TV journalist in a less than flattering light. Earlier this week, Lauer made headlines after a New York magazine story revealed the true behind-the-scenes drama at the Today show surrounding Ann Curry's departure -- with Lauer seemingly in the middle of it all.
"Everybody at NBC, everybody at the Today show, everybody understood that Ann was kicked out of her position because Matt didn't want her there," a prominent NBC staffer told New York writer Joe Hagan. "That's why it was so personal between Ann and Matt."