Last September 2 Alicia Keys was a guest on The Today Show.
Alicia, two of the lady hosts (I can’t remember which ones) and Al Roker were sitting at the discussion table and the following bit of conversation took place (paraphrased).
One of the female hosts points out that Keys is one of Al’s “Hall Passes.”
Keys asks, “What?”
“Go ahead, Al, tell her.”
Al: Uh..Well, I was just telling them backstage that if my wife let me have a hall pass, you would be it.
Keys replies, “Oh..hmmm [looking somewhat displeased]… That wasn’t on the talking points.”
It’s pretty tough to offend me. I’ve seen Amy Schumer and her much nastier sister, Nikki Glaser’s stuff. But, even I thought The Today Show hosts (plural) crossed a line.
For those that don’t know, the term hall pass comes from the movie with the same title and refers to a married couple giving their spouse permission to have sex with someone else.
So, the female hosts of the Today Show and Roker told a respected and successful artist on national TV that Roker wanted to have sex with her.
When I Google that incident (search terms: “Al Roker hall pass”), I only find one Facebook status update referring to it. That person wrote:
Al Roker owes Alicia Keys a huge apology for the comment about her being his hall pass. It was a disgusting thing for him to say to her.
I agree. The uncomfortable look that I read on Keys face said to me, I’ve worked so hard to get where I am and this dirtbag still just sees me as a sex object.
A few weeks later, The Today Show suspended Billy Bush for his part in the recorded Trump conversation from 2005.
I found it ironic that Roker subbed for Bush during Bush’s initial suspension, which caused me to recall the tasteless exchange above.
I was appalled with The Today Show and its double standard. But, I suppose Roker isn’t running for President (seems to be the reasoning lots of folks use to justify their double standard on this one).
Now, I will say one thing in defense of Al Roker.
He really did not seem like he wanted to say it. He was egged on by one of the female hosts. I can’t remember which one.
It sounded like an off-the-cuff, unthinking comment he had made backstage to his co-hosts that he has a high level of comfort with and who generally know the boundaries between private and public personas.
He seemed just as shocked as Keys that his co-host crossed that boundary and egged it on.