Katie Couric has broken her silence over her former Today co-host Matt Lauer’s firing amid sexual harassment and assault claims.
The TV veteran told People that she had ‘no idea’ about the misconduct Lauer is accused of and that the scandal has been ‘very painful’ for her.
‘The whole thing has been very painful for me.
‘The accounts I’ve read and heard have been disturbing, distressing and disorienting and it’s completely unacceptable that any woman at the Today show experienced this kind of treatment.
‘I had no idea this was going on during my tenure or after I left. I think I speak for many of my former colleagues when I say this was not the Matt we knew,’ she said.
Katie Couric finally spoke out about her former Today co-host’s Matt Lauer’s firing from NBC this weekend, claiming in an interview with People that she had ‘no idea’ of his alleged sexual misconduct and that the scandal was ‘very painful’ for her
Insisting that Lauer had always been ‘respectful’ towards her, she said a 2012 comment she made that he ‘pinched her a** a lot’ was ‘just a joke’.
Couric made the remark during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live. A clip of her saying it circulated after Lauer’s firing.
In her People interview, however, Couric dismissed the suggestion it was proof that she knew of Lauer’s reputation.
‘Matt was a kind and generous colleague who treated me with respect.
‘In fact, a joke I once made on late-night television was just that, because it was completely contrary to our brother-sister relationship,’ she said.
It’s still very upsetting. I really admire the way Savannah [Guthrie] and Hoda [Kotb] and the entire Today show staff have handled a very difficult situation,’ she added.
Couric and Lauer worked together on the NBC morning show between 1992 and 2006.
She was criticized for not addressing the scandal last year. In December, Couric said the claims were ‘upsetting’ but that she would only speak when she was ‘ready’.
Lauer was fired in November over the allegations of multiple women, one of whom claimed he sexually assaulted her while they worked on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Couric said she ‘really admires’ the way Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, the current Today hosts, addressed the scandal and pushed on with the show despite it
He apologized afterwards in a groveling statement in which he said ‘some’ of the allegations were ‘untrue’.
After he was fired, the allegations of several women who had spoken to various media outlets about his alleged impropriety emerged.
They told how he casually conducted extra-marital affairs with young staffers and had a lock in his office at 30 Rock which, it was suggested, allowed him to conduct sexual lisasions at work.
All of the Today staff who have spoken out since Lauer’s firing are unanimous in their shock over the claims of predatoriness.
Some have suggested they heard ‘rumors’ of impropriety and affairs but that the notion he was a harasser or assaulter stunned them.