Katie Couric Breaks Her Silence On Matt Lauer's Firing From The 'Today' Show

Couric says she and her colleagues were stunned to hear about "this other life he was leading.”

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Katie Couric has broken her silence on her longtime co-host Matt Lauer’s firing from the Today Show, following a slew of sexual harassment allegations made against him.

When the stories about Lauer broke in November, Couric did not initially comment, breaking her silence for the first time in an interview with People yesterday. “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.”

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“In this hyper-reactionary instantaneous culture where you have to have something to say right, away, I appreciated the opportunity to sit with this and to wrap my head around it before I spoke about it,” Couric told reporters at the Television Critics Association Press Tour today (January 13), following a panel for her upcoming National Geographic show, America Inside Out With Katie Couric. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people, and I’ve been doing a lot of reporting, to understand what steps can be taken to create a safer work environment for all of us.”

On the subject of a clip which resurfaced in the wake of the allegations, in which Couric says that Lauer “pinches [her] on the ass a lot”, she clarified that she was joking. “That was a complete joke, because it was so contrary to our relationship, and it was on a late night lightning round. I guess I made [the joke] because it was, again, so contrary to the relationship I had with Matt which was respectful, and professional. I never had an issue, never experienced anything, never witnessed anything like that. That’s why I think so many people on the show were stunned when they heard about this other life he was leading.”

Asked whether she had ever encountered inappropriate behavior in the workplace, Couric said that she had been “very lucky, I think because I was in a position of relative power pretty early on in my career. Yes, there were men, but I think they were all afraid of me!”

On the subject of Hoda Kotb’s promotion to co-anchor alongside Savannah Guthrie, Couric enthused “I’m really happy for Hoda – I think she’s a great person and her goodness shines through, I think the audience really likes her, and I think she and Savannah make a great team.”

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