TODAY   |  December 05, 2012

Jeff Rossen investigates Willie’s tush tap of Matt

Guys smack each other on the behind all the time on athletic fields, but is a friendly tush tap appropriate for the office? NBC’s Jeff Rossen investigates the off-air moment between Willie Geist and Matt Lauer that has the TODAY team buzzing.

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>>> back now at 8:11 with a special rossen report. the smack heard around the studio. the off-air moment involving two of our own, matt lauer and willie geist and has everyone around her talk and accusing. the whole thing was captured on surveillance cameras so we sent "today" national investigative correspondent jeff rossen just outside studio 1a to give us more. jeff, good morning.

>> reporter: hey, guys, good morning. it all happened right here. this is the door to the studio, and right over here is the staircase upstairs to matt's dressing room. matt sis around this time yesterday morning he came down the stairs, was standing about over here getting ready for an upcoming segment when willie walked in and said hey, man, and matt says he smacked him right on the tush this. kind of behavior all the times between guys, on football fields and huddles, but is it really appropriate for the workplace? judge for yourself. caught on tape, surveillance cameras are rolling as willie 's hand goes in for the swat, did you see it? here it is again from another angle. the owner of that derriere breaking his silence.

>> i was standing by the doorway in the vestibule, and willie came out, and i said hi, willie , how are you? and i thought that would be the end of it, and then he just -- he reached out and, you know.

>> reporter: yes, we do. watch what happens next. matt slaps back. is there more to this story? some would look at this and say you did something to provoke this?

>> it's impossible. i didn't do anything differently, not wearing a different cologne. this was uninitiated.

>> reporter: willie , jeff rossen from nbc news.

>> i didn't do it.

>> reporter: i think you know what this is about. had some questions for willie . have it all on tape, your hand touching matt's tush, how do you explain that?

>> it was a touch of the lower back, if you review the security footage, readily available. i had papers in my hand and the tape will show this clearly and it was a strike to the lower back, good tidings, good day to see you, sir.

>> reporter: you've never done this to anyone else in the office, never touched my butt, al's butt. almost seems like a targeted attack.

>> i have touched al's butt, just not with the cameras rolling.

>> reporter: do you feel victimized by this?

>> i'm upset for a couple of reasons, one that he denied it. why deny it? if you do it, own up to it, and secondly, since it happened, he hasn't called. he hasn't written, nothing.

>> reporter: that may be the worst part of all.

>> abandonment.

>> reporter: we've shown this tape to several experts who all agree this kind of play is only appropriate when you have the prior permission of both people which our investigation has uncovered willie did not have. guys?

>> jeff rossen , thank you so much.

>> wow.

>> cue the music.

>> check in with scarborough if it has happened before . first of all, i've retained legal counsel so there's only so much i can say.

>> you should probably stop talking.

>> if you look at the videotape it's more damning for this video.

>> rolled up paper.

>> to your lower back, and watch the return fire , if we get to this part of the tape, you're the one that has something to answer for, i would suggest.

>> oh, okay.

>> that's my lower back.

>> full-on hand.

>> we should go to dustin hoffman and ask his opinion of this. i think he can --

>> appropriate, inappropriate?

>> should i answer?

>> i'm a little confused. did he -- did willie swat him with his willie or --

>> okay. i made a mistake. we should not go to dustin hoffman

>> i think we've said all there is to say about this incident.

>> do you want to apologize?

>> no. next time, write a card, all right?