Why Matt Lauer Says People Are ‘Taking Advantage’ Of Him Now
In his first interview since being fired from the Today show, Matt Lauer played the victim card claiming that people have been “taking advantage” of him recently.
It’s been several months since Lauer was ousted from the morning program following alleged sexual misconduct and in a radio interview on Checkpoint with John Campbell, he blamed the scandal for causing problems for him abroad.
The disgraced TV personality has been involved in a property dispute in New Zealand over a lakeside ranch he bought prior to his termination last November. Lauer purchased the lease for the equivalent of about $9 million and has been in a battle with government groups over allowing hunters, hikers, and fishermen to cross his property in order to get to the Hawea Conservation Park. A 25-mile gravel road located on his 16,000-acre property is the only way they can enter the park.
The issue of public access to the park has reportedly been debated for years and Lauer believes he’s being treated unfairly because of the highly-publicized allegations against him.
“In the year and a half or year-plus that I’ve owned it, I’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve the property, and now a year later they come and say, ‘Oh, wait a minute, we granted you this lease under this set of rules. We’d like to change the rules,’” he said. “I don’t think that’s fair.”
Lauer added, “I believe the groups that are behind this are in some ways, unfortunately, taking advantage of some difficult times I’ve been through over the past six months, and I think they see me as an easy mark. And what they’re going to try to do is put this through, which would set a precedent because this has not been done ever before with a pastoral leaseholder or property owner without that person’s consent.”
The former talk show host also denied claims that he isn’t allowing visitors to pass through his property, saying, “[There’s] misinformation that’s out there and it’s out there on purpose.”
Lauer’s firing last year triggered an investigation by authorities in the country, who require foreign buyers of important assets to be of good character.
The 60-year-old was let go from his longtime TV gig on Nov. 29, 2017, following accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior. One day later, he apologized in a statement read on air by his former colleague, Savannah Guthrie.
Lauer and his wife of 20 years, Annette Roque, split following the allegations and are in the midst of a divorce, which sources claim he isn’t happy about since it’s costing him a lot.
“He’s going to be forking out around $50 million,” an insider told Us Weekly. “She will receive the horse farm, their current residence, and a one-time payment of $25 million.”
Another source told ET that Lauer is planning to return to the New Zealand ranch after the divorce and will be spending most of his time there. It’s also thought that he would then halt any efforts for TV comeback attempt in the U.S.