After Al Roker called out U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte for lying about a robbery in Rio, the internet praised him. But executives at NBC are reportedly unhappy with the weatherman’s rebuttal to co-anchor Billy Bush.
Roker disagreed with Bush on the “Today Show” about Lochte’s apology for the blunder. Fellow anchor Matt Lauer interviewed the gold medalist and viewers criticized his softball questions.
The athlete told Lauer he “overexaggerated” his robbery tale.
Initially, Lochte said men posing as police officers stopped him and his teammates. He claimed one held a gun to his head and cocked it. Then, his story changed. Lochte said the group stopped at a gas station and the supposed robber pointed the gun at him and not against his head.
On Aug. 19, Roker boldly proclaimed Lochte lied, putting down Bush’s claim that only some details were false.
“He lied. He lied to you. He lied to Matt Lauer,” the morning show veteran said. “He lied to his mom. He left his teammates hanging while he skedaddled.”
Today, sources told Page Six executives and anchors tried to explain away the disagreement.
“There were several producers and talent who were left trying to explain Al’s over-the-top behavior,” one source said. “Several insiders found themselves wanting to distance themselves from his response.”
The website also reported the “Today Show” struggled to cover the scandal while maintaining a relationship with the US Olympic Committee and athletes.
“It was a great thing to watch online, but a lot of NBC staff thought that he took it way too far for something that, while it was certainly a legitimate issue and certainly bad behavior by Lochte, outrage to that level just wasn’t justified.”
But a network executive told the celebrity news site that is not true.
“No one feels this way. In fact, everyone here is happy — specifically with the ‘Today’ show’s great ratings.”
Viewers were happy too.
Activist Deray Mckesson proclaimed the journalist “holds it down for the truth.”
— deray mckesson (@deray) August 20, 2016
While Jen Wells praised Roker as the “sole voice of sanity” on the panel.
@Tuphlos We need more diversity in the newsrooms. Al Roker shouldn’t be the sole voice of sanity.
— Jen Foehner Wells (@Jenthulhu) August 20, 2016
Alexander Hardy applauded the anchor combating “white nonsense.”
— Alexander Hardy (@chrisalexander_) August 20, 2016
In light of the reports of upset NBC execs, the support continued Thursday.
Capital J. demanded haters respect Roker.
So to y'all ass clowns who are upset at Al Roker for his comments about Ryan Lochte, come get these hands. Respeck Al! Get off my mans.
— Capital J. (@JohnnyDelrico) August 25, 2016
And Annie thought the host did nothing wrong.
Fuck that… Al Roker didn't do anything wrong and has nothing to apologize for. Lochte is a tool #DGL
— Annie (@WhatACatchAnnie) August 25, 2016