“I think everybody was surprised,” Vieira, 65, told Us Weekly exclusively at the Veep final season premiere at Alice Tully Hall in New York City on Tuesday, March 26. “It was handled by HR and the network, and that’s the way it should be done … I don’t think people ever saw [it coming].”
She continued, “I worked closely with Matt. He was always very kind to me and my family and [was] a great dad from everything I could tell. You never know.”
The View alum, who cohosted Today with Lauer from 2006 to 2011, added that his behavior went “beyond” him allegedly cheating on his estranged wife, Annette Roque. She explained, “There’s bad-boy behavior and then there’s something beyond that. If you’re going to nail people for being cheaters, a lot of people wouldn’t have jobs. This went beyond that.”
Ultimately, Vieira feels bad for those who were directly affected by the disgraced 61-year-old journalist. “You never know in life about a lot of things. It’s just kind of a given,” the former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host said. “At my age … I know anything is possible, but I do think his family is lovely and I’m sorry for any pain that they’ve gone through along with all the women, obviously. But there are so many people who are in a situation like that; a lot of collateral damage.”
Lauer was fired from NBC in November 2017 after he was accused by a colleague of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” Today cohosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced the news on air and said they were “devastated” by the developments.
Five months later, Lauer released a statement and confirmed that he took part in sexual activity with a colleague, but denied any aggression. “I fully acknowledge that I acted inappropriately as a husband, father and principal at NBC,” he told The Post. “However, I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive, or abusive actions on my part, at any time, are absolutely false.”
In May 2018, the network released findings from their investigation and revealed that executives did not receive complaints about Lauer prior to November 2017, even though multiple women came forward after his firing to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Ann Curry, however, claimed that she reported Lauer for sexual harassment on behalf of a colleague in 2012. Lauer has not responded to Curry’s claim.
“All four women who came forward confirmed that they did not tell their direct manager or anyone else in a position of authority about their sexual encounters with Lauer,” the report concluded. “Current and former members of NBC News and Today show leadership, as well as News HR, stated that they had never received a complaint about inappropriate workplace behavior by Lauer, and we did not find any contrary evidence.”
With reporting by Nicki Gostin
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