Viewers of the “Today” show were outraged while watching Monday’s episode, which featured Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira‘s coverage of the Olympics from London’s Olympic Park. Lauer used the term “Indian giver” to refer to someone who gives a gift and then later takes it back. The phrase is an offensive and racist reference to Native Americans.
Vieira handed Lauer a pair of Stella McCartney-designed Olympic underwear. When she reached to take the panties back, Lauer held them out of her reach and said, “No, no, no, they’re mine. Don’t be an Indian giver.”
The term is even listed as “offensive” in the American Heritage Dictionary.
It wasn’t Lauer’s only insensitive remark on the broadcast. When Vieira handed the knickers over, she joked, “Matt had these on earlier.”
He responded with, “We’re used to this. For five years Meredith came to the show every morning carrying her underpants.” While Vieira chucked at the joke, some viewers pegged it as an offensive and misogynistic jab.