After the firing of Today show host Matt Lauer for inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, attention quickly turned to Lauer’s colleagues, including former co-host Katie Couric. For 15 years, the two hosts helmed a remarkable era of morning television side-by-side, so surely Couric had feelings about her longtime coworker?
Now, nearly a month and a half after Lauer’s ousting, Couric has shared a statement with People. “The whole thing has been very painful for me,” she said. “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.”
Couric also explained that she had no idea about the lurid behavior happening behind closed office doors, both while she was hosting and after she left her post in 2006. “I had no idea this was going on during my tenure or after I left,” she said. “I think I speak for many of my former colleagues when I say this was not the Matt we knew. 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. 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.”
The joke Couric mentioned refers to her 2012 appearance on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live show. During the visit, Couric joked that Lauer, her “brother’ would occasionally pinch her butt. The clip resurfaced again recently.
After the disturbing details of Lauer’s behavior became public, many of the women who worked with him addressed the news with either trepidation or shock. Couric remained fairly silent, with the exception of responding to an Instagram commenter that the news was “incredibly upsetting.”
Considering how the discussion of sexual harassment has quickly evolved into a much larger #MeToo movement, simply being "upset" over a friend's behavior feels unbalanced. This is the statement fans sought a month and a half ago. While Couric’s official statement to People explained that this was all “still very upsetting” to her, this would've been an ideal time to condemn the behavior on a broader scale.