Katie Couric has finally opened up on her former "Today" co-host Matt Lauer's shock firing over sexual harassment allegations.
Over a month after Lauer lost his job and reputation amid reports of sexually inappropriate behavior during his decades at NBC, Couric told People magazine, "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. Matt was a kind and generous colleague who treated me with respect."
As for her now-infamous comment on "Watch What Happens Live" that Lauer used to "pinch my ass a lot," Couric points out she was totally kidding. She said, "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 she is not only surprised by what the man she worked with for 15 years is alleged to have done, she is in pain over the revelations — but her priority is lending support to any women subjected to bad behavior: “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."
Lauer was fired in November when NBC received a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior." He said in a statement at the time, "There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions... To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC."