Kathie Lee Gifford wanted to run the letter in USA Today, but Lauer asked it be kept in the "Today" family.
According to NY Daily News, Gifford decided to write a letter in support of Lauer, have his NBC co-workers sign it, and run it in USA Today as an ad.
In the letter, Gifford — who has faced her fair share of media scrutiny — writes:
“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.”
Over three weeks, Gifford garnered hundreds of signatures from “Today” staffers. Each signature included the employee’s position and how long they had worked alongside Lauer — many for more than 20 years.
Among the signatures — which spanned seven pages — were Lauer’s co-host, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Willie Geist and Hoda Kotb.
One name noticeably absent was Ann Curry, who Gifford says she simply hasn't seen to give her the opportunity to sign.
“She’s just not part of (the show) day-in and day-out anymore," explains Gifford. "This wasn’t about Ann, this is about our love and support for a different member of our family.”
Gifford furthered explained to the NY Daily News.
“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. 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. We all wanted to say something to Matt and nobody wanted to put him in a position that would make him uncomfortable. So unbeknownst to anyone higher up at NBC, I just started this thing.”
Gifford says Lauer was touched by the letter when she presented it to him this week, but asked that it not run in USA Today as planned, instead keeping it "in the family."
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