Matt Lauer is defending his interview with GM CEO Mary Barra after his questioning was called sexist. During the interview, Lauer questioned Barra about whether she could run a company while at the same time being a good mother.
"Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?" Lauer asked.
"You know, I think I can," Barra responded. "I have a great team, we're on the right path. I have a wonderful family, a supportive husband and I'm pretty proud of the way my kids are supporting me in this."
Barra has been under fire recently after multiple deaths and injuries were caused by cars whose defects were known by GM for more than a decade, but were not recalled.
But the social media universe did not take well to Lauer's line of questioning.
I've been up all night wondering if Matt Lauer can be a dad and have a job at the same time... @mlauer— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) June 27, 2014
I've been a single mom, a married mom, a working mom, a stay-home mom, but no matter the hat, always a good mom. Thanks, Matt Lauer.— Cathy (@66Betty) June 26, 2014
Matt Lauer asked GM CEO Mary Barra if she can both work and be a mother. My question is: how can Lauer be both a journalist and a father?— Charles Clymer (@cmclymer) June 27, 2014
The Today Show host took to his own Facebook page to defend himself, and said he was happy it had "started am important conversation.
"As part of the interview, I referenced this Forbes article where Barra talked about the challenge of balancing work life and home life," he wrote. "She said, 'My kids told me the one job they are going to hold me accountable for is mom.' She had just accepted the job as the first female CEO of a major American automotive company, and in the article she said that she felt horrible when she missed her son's junior prom. It's an issue almost any parent including myself can relate to. If a man had publicly said something similar after accepting a high-level job, I would have asked him exactly the same thing."
Lauer, who just renewed his contract with Today, is a father of three, and has faced many of the same career/work balances that Barra has. Today aired a series a few weeks ago about fathers balancing both.
"A couple weeks ago, we did a series on 'Modern Dads' and the challenges of fatherhood today," he continued. "Work-life balance was one of our focuses. It's an important topic, one that I'm familiar with personally, and I hope we can continue the discussion."
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