The “Today” show kicked off its 8 a.m. hour on Friday morning with a panel-like discussion about sexual harassment in the workplace – wrapping up a week that saw the morning show fire its biggest star, Matt Lauer, due to sexual misconduct allegations. But some viewers found the pointed discussion decidedly awkward given the recent events at the NBC show.
Kate Snow, an NBC correspondent, introduced the segment with a pre-taped explanation of the viral #MeToo movement that included an interview with the founder of the trend that encourages women to share their experiences of sexual harassment or assault via social media.
“With sexual harassment and abuse in the spotlight, men and women are facing important, long overdue conversations about what is appropriate and what is not,” Snow said.
The intro included a mention of Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein, noting all the men had fallen from grace following harassment claims. After the pre-tape rolled, Guthrie then told the “Today” audience the plan was “dig deeper” on the subject.
She introduced the chat titled “Spotlight of sexual harassment: How the #MeToo movement is changing the workplace.”
“It hits close to home,” Guthrie noted, clearly referencing Lauer without saying his name.
The panel-like chat included journalist Tina Brown and the millennial founders of media company The Skimm.
Hoda Kotb asked the table, “If someone is accused of this, what should the punishment be?” She mused, “Should they never work again?”
Guthrie chimed in at one point that the real trouble in the workplace comes with “the gray areas” of sexual harassment. She declared, “Everyone knows assault is wrong.”
Brown said, “I think we’re in the middle of a revolution… Finally women are saying ‘enough is enough’… We have played nice for too long.”
Kotb asked The Skimm founders, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, if they deal with the same kinds of “innuendo” she put up with as a young journalist.
“We wonder, the stuff I kind of remember putting up with a young reporter… I wonder if you guys feel that, have that or tolerate anything like that?”
The pair replied with a resounding yes.
Guthrie concluded the chat by saying, “I think it really starts with a lot of internal honesty among all concerned.”
Some viewers found the segment hard to watch and "awkward."
The conversation marks NBC’s latest attempt to tackle the sexual harassment scandal plaguing the network head-on. On Thursday, anchors for the “Today” show interviewed both a Roy Moore accuser and a John Conyers accuser.
During her hour of the show, Megyn Kelly directed comments at Lauer’s accuser and invited her to come on the show.