‘Today’ Show Fans React: ‘I’m Very Disappointed in Him’


A day after the announcement that Matt Lauer was fired as co-host of the “Today” show, hundreds of tourists and die-hard fans gathered outside the NBC studio on Rockefeller Plaza. It is a daily occurrence that has become as much a part of the show as Al Roker’s weather forecasts. On Thursday, many fans carried homemade signs proclaiming their affection for the morning show, but they were also processing the sexual misconduct allegations against Mr. Lauer, who, for some, has been a part of their morning ritual for decades.


Burlington, Ky.

Dan Burns, 56, and Lisa Burns, 56

The couple, who work in radioactive waste management, said visiting “Today” was a priority during their trip to New York. They made posters before their arrival.

“We actually had Matt on it,” Ms. Burns said. “We made it Tuesday night! And we get here, it was like: We have to take Matt off.”

Being outside the studio on a day when the “Today” anchors were reporting on Mr. Lauer’s firing also made for some surreal moments.

“The crowd, each time the news would come on, they were subdued and solemn and just a little sad,” Mr. Burns said.


New port Richey, Fla.

Angela Napolitano, 49

Ms. Napolitano, a travel agent, said she had debated standing outside “Good Morning America” but had decided on “Today” once she heard the news about Mr. Lauer.

“I thought it would be a little bit more interesting even though it is a very touchy subject,” she said. “I’m very disappointed in him.”

She added: “I was shocked. I was like, ‘Him? Of all people?’ Because I always thought he was a really nice guy. Some people you think are slime or pigs, but I really didn’t think he was like that.”


Nokesville, Va.

Joe Blake, 57, and Deborah Linton-Blake, 52

Mr. Blake, an airline pilot, and Ms. Linton-Blake, a real estate agent, were visiting New York with friends. The couple said they weren’t surprised by the revelations about Mr. Lauer.

“Men of power, you know, end up doing this all the time,” Mr. Blake said. “It’s pretty sad.”

Ms. Linton-Blake said she felt sorry for Mr. Lauer’s former co-anchors, who had to go on the air and deliver the news about their colleague.

“It’s got to be tough for them in the morning to have to talk about it,” she said. “I wanted to see how they were actually going to address it.”


Newport, R.I.

Michele Douglas, 63

Ms. Douglas said her husband had wanted them to go because of the news surrounding Mr. Lauer.

“I thought: ‘Well, you know what? This might be fun,’” she said. “And it was.

“It was very interesting just to listen to how the show had to come out and not defend him,” she added. “But it must have been very uncomfortable for them to have to go on the air this morning without him there and explain how they felt. I felt a little uncomfortable for them.”


Wilmington, N.C.

Sarah Bramlett, 11, and Traci Bramlett, 53

The mother and daughter are longtime fans of the program and were excited to visit the studio while on a girls’ trip to New York.

“It was very sad to hear. Shocking,” Ms. Bramlett, a nurse practitioner, said of the allegations against Mr. Lauer.

But it didn’t stop them from going to the plaza, and it won’t stop them from watching the show.

“Of course, he seems to have been a cornerstone or, you know, a familiar face,” Ms. Bramlett said. “But there’s other personalities there that are just as warm and inviting that I enjoy.”


Charlie Frederiksen, 60

Mr. Frederiksen, who restores old houses, has been watching the show for 27 years and has been to a live broadcast six times.

Mr. Frederiksen said he had seen abuses of power throughout his former career as a city planner.

“I’m not surprised that someone who has been around so long and has so much power that — how many women have thrown themselves at them for so many years,” he said of Mr. Lauer. “With people of fame, you know, people give them everything, and they feel powerful.”


Clifton Forge, Va.

Ricky Swoope, 51, and Amy Swoope, 47

Mr. and Mrs. Swoope, who were in New York on a four-day bus tour, watch “Today” every morning, saying they feel that it’s lighter and more positive than the other morning shows.

“I think everyone’s in shock because you spend your mornings with people on TV and you think you know them when really, at the end of the day, no one knows anyone,” Ms. Swoope said. “But forgiveness and grace, because everyone makes mistakes.”


Jacob Trusnik, 18; Barrett McDaniel, 18; Ruhan Syed, 17

The students were in town for a conference with a high school club, which always includes a visit to “Today.”

“We did talk about it a little bit on the way back to our hotel last night,” Mr. Trusnik said. “But we still decided on the ‘Today’ show because everyone was excited to participate in the events here.”

Mr. McDaniel added, “In my personal opinion, the bad actions of one guy don’t negatively reflect on the company as a whole.”