Matt Lauer told Kathie Lee Gifford, “Thanks, but no thanks,” after his TODAY show colleague planned to submit a full-page ad in USA TODAY of a letter signed by the show’s cast and crew pledging their support. Signed by everyone except Ann Curry, that is.
“We all wanted to say something to Matt and nobody wanted to put him in a position that would make him uncomfortable,” Gifford told the NY Daily News. “So unbeknownst to anyone higher up at NBC, I just started this thing.”
The letter read, “We the people of the ‘Today’ show who work side by side, day by day, year in and year out with Matt Lauer are tired of unfounded and unrelenting stories by faceless characters regarding his character and reputation. No one has coerced us to sign this. With our signatures we stand in support of our colleague and friend.”
While notable NBC names like Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Willie Geist and Hoda Kotb were among the seven pages of signatures Kathie Lee collected, it’s noteworthy to mention Ann Curry did not affix her signature to the letter.
Kathie Lee said she never got to give Curry a chance to sign the letter, as the former co-host has been working abroad and apart from the show’s New York City base.
“She’s just not part of day-in and day-out anymore,” Kathie Lee said of Curry. “This wasn’t about Ann, this is about our love and support for a different member of our family.”
Kathie Lee said she’s been incensed by the battering Lauer has received in the media in the wake of Curry’s controversial departure last June.
“We read the same newspapers and saw all the media reports, and it was frustrating for all of us watching it day to day and feeling a little helpless,” Gifford said, noting her contempt for reports citing unnamed sources. “No one seemed to be interested in the truth, and that was really frustrating for me because I have a deep sense of injustice about things.
“I don’t like somebody taking credit for something they had nothing to do with and I certainly don’t like somebody taking blame for something that they’re not responsible for.”