Padma Lakshmi was supposed to appear on Wednesday’s broadcast of “TODAY” to do a cooking segment with Matt Lauer when she heard the news that he had been fired from NBC.
The “Top Chef” host opened up about hearing the news from a tearful Savannah Guthrie as she was in the car on the way to Rockafeller Center in a post to Instagram on Wednesday.
“This morning I woke up expecting to do a cooking segment on the Today show with my friend @MattLauerNBC. Driving uptown I was in shock as I heard the news of his dismissal due to allegations of sexual misconduct at work. As I watched @SavannahGuthrie read Andy Lack?s statement, I was utterly shaken up,” she began the lengthy post.
“I must say that in all the many years I have been on the @TodayShow I have only experienced a warm, cordial and respectful environment. When I walked into 30 Rock it felt like someone had died. The mood was somber to say the least, shell shocked would be more accurate. Like finding out your dad has been cheating on your mom and the happy family you thought you were living in is in fact broken,” she continued.
Lakshmi added, “I must say that in all the years I have known Matt, and worked with him on the Today show, I have never found him to be anything but empathic, kind, totally appropriate, and respectful of me; a consummate professional. But as someone who has experienced sexual assault and sexual harassment I know how hard it is to come forward or even properly process that it is indeed happening to you. Especially when it?s someone who holds such a high place in one?s profession. I don?t know who the women who have come forward are but I can tell you how hard it is to even admit that it?s actually happened.”
“I am deeply saddened about Matt as I am saddened about @CharlieRose, two people I have very much looked up to in television. Their presence and contributions to our industry will be sorely missed. But I stand in solidarity with the victims. And while this is a painful period in our cultural history, it is a good and necessary purging of one of the most harmful aspects of the ?old boys club?. There is always pain when the thorn gets pulled out of the flesh. But only when it?s gone can the healing begin. #MeToo,” she concluded.
On Thursday’s broadcast, Guthrie read a statement about the allegations from Lauer.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC,” Lauer said in a statement.
“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” Lauer said. “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly ? repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job.”
He continued, “The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling?I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”