Katie Couric has finally spoken publicly about the serious allegations against her former Today show co-host Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview with People magazine.
Couric and Lauer shared the morning show spotlight for 15 years, before Couric left NBC in 2006 for a position at CBS. And she now tells People that she was unaware of Lauer’s alleged behavior.
In November, NBC abruptly fired Lauer after a female staffer claimed that Lauer had engaged in sexual misconduct when they were in Sochi covering the 2014 winter Olympic games. Following those allegations, multiple women have come forward to accuse Lauer of harassment, and one former NBC employee said the two had an ongoing affair on corporate premises. Multiple sources reportedly spoke of a button Lauer had on his desk that locked his office door from the inside.
Until her People interview, Couric had only commented once on the Lauer scandal, last month on Instagram in response to a user asking her why she had not spoken up.
“It’s incredibly upsetting and I will say something when I’m ready to. Thanks for your interest,” Couric wrote on Instagram.
The veteran news anchor told People she is still struggling to process the allegations.
“The whole thing has been very painful for me,” Couric told People.
“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.”
Though Couric made a lighthearted comment in 2012 on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen claiming that Lauer “pinches me on the a** a lot,” she clarified to People magazine that she wasn’t serious. The comment has gotten renewed attention in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations.
“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,” Couric said.
“It’s still very upsetting.”
[Feature image: Associated Press/Katie Couric and Matt Lauer]