This week, disgraced former Today show host Matt Lauer was spotted driving his BMW around Sag Harbor with a new tattoo on his forearm, a sentence inked in two rows of loopy cursive. What could it say? Is it a favorite poem of his? A reminder to practice kindness and humility? Not quite. It says: “Hatred corrodes the container it’s carried in.”
The quote appears to be from former senator Alan Simpson’s 2018 eulogy for the late president George H.W. Bush. In his speech, Simpson said: “You would have wanted him on your side. He never hated anyone. He knew what his mother and my mother always knew: Hatred corrodes the container it’s carried in. The most decent and honorable man I ever met was my friend George Bush.”
What’s been corroding Matt Lauer? Ever since he was fired from NBC News in November 2017 due to multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him, it seems clear he has seen himself as a victim. From his various multimillion-dollar estates in the Hamptons, the former anchor — who has been accused of conducting inappropriate relationships with female employees, sexual harassment, and rape — has penned several impassioned defenses of himself in which he denies the allegations against him, tries to paint the purported misconduct as consensual, and casts doubt on the motivations of his accusers in coming forward with their stories. Lauer’s tattoo made its first appearance the day after he published yet another defense of himself, this time on the website Mediaite.
In it, he goes after Ronan Farrow’s reporting on former NBC News employee Brooke Nevil’s claim that Lauer assaulted her while the two were working at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. Lauer questions Farrow’s reporting and callously argues that that Nevil’s allegation was part of a “promotional rollout” for Farrow’s book. Did he glance down at his tattoo while writing the post and worry for the state of his own container? Has he, at any point, worried about the corrosive effect his actions may have had on the containers of others? Based on this tattoo, the answer to the second question seems to be “No.”