The two Today show co-hosts reacted to the allegation against their former colleague in a segment on Wednesday morning.
It came just hours after it was reported that Brooke Nevils, a former NBC News employee, has accused Lauer of allegedly raping her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Lauer has denied the allegation.
“This is shocking and appalling and I honestly don’t even know what to say about it,” Guthrie said on Wednesday with Kotb sitting at her side.
“I know it wasn’t easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then. It’s not easy now. And we support her and any women who have come forward with claims.”
Guthrie called the allegations “very painful” and “very, very, very difficult”.
Kotb said the situation reminded her of when she and Guthrie announced Lauer’s firing to their viewers two years ago, after Lauer faced accusations of “inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace”.
According to Variety, Lauer’s firing was the result of a complaint from Nevils, though her name wasn’t disclosed at the time.
“You feel like you’ve known someone for 12 years ... you feel like you know them inside and out and then all of a sudden, a door opens up and it’s a part of them you didn’t know,” Kotb said on Wednesday.
“And we don’t know all the facts in all of this but they’re not allegations of an affair. They’re allegations of a crime.
“And I think that’s shocking to all of us here who’ve sat with Matt for many, many years”.
Guthrie added: “I think I speak for all of us: we’re disturbed to our core.”
Lauer, Guthrie and Kotb all used to work together on the Today show prior to Lauer’s 2017 sacking. After he was dismissed, Kotb became Guthrie’s official co-anchor.
Lauer denied the claims on Wednesday, saying in a letter published by Variety that he had a consensual affair” with Nevils. “In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault. It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense,” Lauer says in the missive.
The Independent has contacted Lauer’s representative for comment.