It’s been a whirlwind kind of week for Hoda Kotb and the rest of the Today team. If you’ll recall, it was announced earlier in the first week of January 2018 that Kotb would be taking over Matt Lauer’s spot next to Savannah Guthrie during the first hour of Today. This was certainly exciting news, not only because the teaming of Kotb and Guthrie would be the first time two female coanchors have cohosted the Today news hour, but also because Kotb (a seasoned journalist) was a worthy successor in the wake of Lauer’s serious fall from grace.
Now, it seems like that happiness is short-lived. On Wednesday, the entire world learned just how much Kotb, who has been with Today going on 11 years, would make in her new role versus her predecessor. According to Page Six, Kotb will only make $7 million a year on Today per the new contract she has worked up with her employers. By itself, that’s an astonishing amount of money. However, when you learn that at the time Lauer was shown the door at NBC, he was making $25 million a year, you might go from astonished to irked really quickly.
Since Lauer did occupy Today coanchor chair for over two decades, seniority could be a factor here, but it’s frankly unacceptable that Kotb’s salary comes nowhere within spitting distance of Lauer’s exorbitant salary. As one Twitter user pointed out on Wednesday afternoon, if you do the math, Kotb is making 28 percent of Lauer’s old salary. 28. Per. Cent.
It’s 2018 and gender inequality is still extremely prevelant. Hoda Kotb is being paid $7 million to co-anchor the Today Show AND Kathie Lee and Hoda. Matt Lauer was paid $25 million to co-anchor. SHE’S MAKING 28% OF WHAT HE MADE. #HodaKotb #TodayShow #GenderPayGap
— Bridget Divers (@bridget_divers) January 3, 2018
To add insult to injury, the following math-based facts will only make you angrier and angrier. Guthrie, according to Bustle, makes the same as Kotb: $7 million a year. Together, these two women (who are breaking a major glass ceiling on Today, mind you) barely make half of what Lauer did on his own. What a bunch of malarkey.
One source told Page Six that this really isn’t a big deal because Lauer had seniority, hence the bigger payday. “Hoda isn’t complaining about the money. She has landed the big job she always dreamed of, and most definitely deserves. Plus, Matt’s salary reflected the long time he was on the show — 25 years. If things go well, Hoda could ask for more next time if she re-ups her contract. But the figures underline the huge wage disparity at NBC News.”
Oh, she can “re-up” if things go well? How cute.
I (and I think I speak for women everywhere when I say this) doth protest against this nonsense. Kotb is a pro in her field. She has a Daytime Emmy for her work on Today. She is a correspondent on Dateline NBC. She’s been working as a reporter and anchor since the early ’90s, and despite the fluffy 10 o’clock hour she co-hosts with Kathie Lee Gifford, is also experienced in covering tough topics. Kotb is no rookie, and if the bulk of the argument about this egregious pay gap is about seniority and, implicitly, reporting experience, then Kotb matches Lauer pound for pound; she just hasn’t had the kind of visibility Lauer has enjoyed over the years. Big whoop.
Kotb’s current and only comments on the matter were given to People, where she did confirm she’s “not making Matt Lauer money.” Well, she softens the comment by saying she chooses jobs based on what they’re like versus what they pay, so this is about doing what she loves, but yeah, the writing is on the wall about the inequality here.
Hoda has been working at NBC for about 20 years now, Savannah has been there for just over 7 years and they are getting paid the same salary? I think tf not! The fact that Hoda is getting paid $18 million LESS than Matt speaks volumes. She needs to renegotiate her contract. pic.twitter.com/B3WOlNxt6E
— 👑🌹IM SO F*CKING GRATEFUL 👑🌹 (@QBabyQ) January 3, 2018
“I think the whole money thing for me, I’ve always been sort of — I know it sounds ridiculous that I’m going to say this, but I really have done jobs I liked for the job I liked because I never wanted to be happy every other Friday on pay day. Like, I didn’t want that to be the happy day. I wanted to feel good throughout. So no, I’m not making Matt Lauer money. Not even close,” she said.
All I know is, this pay gap is insulting to Kotb (and Guthrie!) and a bad look for Today. Hopefully, this mess gets fixed before either woman decides whether to “re-up” her contract.