Matt Lauer is "freaked out" that people -- and lots of them -- have been screaming at him on the streets of Manhattan, calling him names and blaming him for the demise of Ann Curry.
Network sources tell TMZ ... Matt is "miserable" over what he believes are hateful and unfair tirades. Matt says the harassment is constant, with people screaming things like "You're a bad guy,"and "You got Ann fired. Does that make you happy?"
Matt is telling people at NBC there have also been lots of sarcastic comments about his $25 million salary. He feels "abused," insisting Ann's firing is not his fault. But, as TMZ first reported, Matt made it clear when he re-signed -- he didn't want Ann in the picture.
One network source says, "It's driving him crazy. He's so unhappy."
As for Matt's future at "Today," it's secure by default. Aside from the fact that he has a contract, our network sources say NBC honchos are stuck. They have no one who can step in and stop the bleeding. As for Willie Geist, the new, 9 AM "Today" host, one very connected source says the sentiment is, "He's not ready. He's not there yet."