Matt Lauer isn’t very popular in many newsrooms this week, but he’s got one person still in his corner — Bryant Gumbel.
Gumbel, 69, co-hosted “The TODAY Show” for nearly two decades until 1997 when he was replaced by the now-disgraced Lauer. The two have been close friends for years and are reportedly golf regularly, according the NY Daily News.
As Gumbel and his wife Hilary Quinlan attended the American Museum of Natural History’s Gala, the current “Real Sports” host was asked about the scandal.
“He’s my best buddy,” he immediately proclaimed. “I was the best man at his wedding. He was the best man at mine. I still love him!”
Earlier this week, TMZ caught up with Lauer’s “TODAY” co-anchor, Hoda Kotb, who also proclaimed her love.
“I love him,” she shared while greeting fans.
Kotb and Savannah Guthrie had the difficult responsibility of reporting on Lauer’s alleged sexual misconduct allegations throughout the week, but the pair carried out their duties well and, on occasion, with emotion.
When news broke on Tuesday, told the “TODAY” audience that the team was “heartbroken” while Kotb shared that they were still “processing.”
Lauer, 59, had been on “TODAY” for 20 years. NBC News said it decided to fire him after a woman met with network executives on Monday to describe her interactions with him. The woman said Lauer’s misconduct started when she was with him covering the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and that it continued when they returned to New York afterward, according to the New York Times.
Fellow journalist Geraldo Rivera was met with backlash from his own defense of the embattled Lauer. He tweeted:
#SexHarassment allegations should require: 1-made in a timely fashion-say w/n 5 yrs. 2-some contemporaneous corroboration, like witnesses, electronic or written communications. W $ settlements in multi-millions slight chance exists some victims are motivated by more than justice.
He then continued, “This issue is so red hot right now there is no room for any thought or opinion but hang em high. If News wasn’t (formerly) a flirty biz then how do we explain so many newsroom courtships that have led to happy marriages?”