Hoda Kotb Will Be Getting Paid Millions Less Than Matt Lauer for Doing the Exact Same Job

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Here’s news for you. Iceland just enacted an equal pay law.

Specifically, the Washington Post writes, “companies with more than 24 employees will now need to obtain governmental certification that female employees are paid equally for the same work their male colleagues are performing.”

Iceland had a pay gap of only 5.7 percent, compared to the United States’ 18, and it’s about to get smaller. Way smaller.

Why is this important? Well, in the hallowed democracy and bastion of equal rights known as our grand old US of A, women earn 83 percent of the pay for the same jobs men do. This is according to Pew Research

Factor in black and brown women, and those statistics get even more dire. Pew Research states that black and brown women make “70% the hourly wages of similarly educated white men.” To utilize a more vulgar parlance – there’s screwed, and then there’s screwed.

Nowhere has this question of wage inequality been more glaring than in the case of Matt Lauer. As you will recall, Lauer, former Today show host and asshole extraordinaire (his coworkers words, not ours) was famously and publicly fired from the show he had helmed for the better of two decades.

The reason? Well, Lauer was what we call a serial predator. In the olden days, people might have called him a ladies man, but people in the olden days didn’t (we assume) know what we know now, which is that men who make a habit of “seducing”, harassing, or coercing women often exhibit a dangerous and predatory pattern.

In Lauer’s case, he enjoyed cornering unsuspecting women in his office and locking the door with a button he’d had installed under his desk. He also, apparently, dispensed dildos and other such choice sexual paraphernalia like Reeses pieces at a Halloween bash, and had an avowed fondness for hooking up with his interns while traveling.  

One of his “conquests” detailed the effect their “consensual” affair had on her psyche and career trajectory in the months and years after to Variety
My experience on air as an anchor turned out to be so traumatic that I quit. I was in a depression. This man who I’d held on a pedestal had made me feel like my looks and my body were my true assets. He made it clear that he wasn’t interested in my skills or my talent. It just shattered everything.

Early January, it was announced that veteran anchor Hoda Kotb, who had been filling in for Lauer in the interim would be officially replacing him. It was a moment of celebration for many. Writer Bobby Finger at feminist site Jezebel even cheered, “I’m so happy for Hoda. I’m so happy for us.”

In the midst of all this celebrating, many people had one question – would Kotb be paid a salary commensurate to the one Lauer had so famously enjoyed? After all, several sites had breathlessly reported that Lauer luxuriated in a $20 to $25 million paycheck (the exact figure was never quite solidified).

No person so succinctly encapsulated this mood as New York Times editor Johanna Barr, who snidely mused, much to our collective delight:

so is hoda getting matt lauer’s salary or

— Johanna Barr (@johannabarr) January 2, 2018

There is a commonly cited saying – Truer words were never spoken. We’re not sure if it’s from Shakespeare or some other such source, and honestly, we can’t be bothered to check at this juncture, but Barr’s question resonated. Is Hoda getting paid or what?

After all, Hoda is a veteran reporter. A cursory examination of her Wikipedia page shows she’s been working at NBC since 1998, which is, at the very least, the age of a newly-adult Gen Z-er. Also, she’s never (to our knowledge) sexually assaulted or harassed anybody, and we’d be hard pressed to imagine her installing buttons in her desk for nefarious purposes.

Call us optimistic, but Kotb doesn’t particularly strike us as the type of woman to leer over a luscious young male (or female) intern and comment on the seductive fit of his/her pants, and she certainly doesn’t seem like she would cozy up to impressionable young production assistants with the intentions of “giving them a leg up in the industry.”

Given the length of her tenure at NBC, her almost universal likability, and her track record of not sexually harassing or assaulting subordinates, you would assume Kotb would be making a decent salary, correct?  

Well, you would be wrong. Kotb is reportedly making $7 million, the very same amount cohost Samantha Guthrie is making. While $7 million is nothing to sniff at, both women’s salaries combine are, as Jezebel notes, $11 million less than Lauer’s.

Entertainment publication Variety states that “Kotb is being treated much like almost any other anchor or host who takes over a coveted and long-held post on a venerable TV program.” Citing examples such as Trevor Noah taking over The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert stepping into David Letterman’s shoes, Variety states that “few TV anchors start off making massive salaries,” and further cites declining viewership as another factor. We would very delicately like to call BS. Fact of the matter is, NBC’s viewership is up and Kotb has largely steered the media giant through what could have been a very costly crisis. Sure they don’t have to pay her and Guthrie Lauer’s salary now, but the least they can do is fork over an extra $10 million each for the women’s troubles. That’s not too much to ask, is it?