Katie Couric Gets Candid About Matt Lauer, Reveals If They Still Speak
Former “Today” anchor Katie Couric is speaking out about old colleague Matt Lauer, who was fired after allegations of sexual harassment. He has denied any wrongdoing.
While promoting her new memoir “Going There,” Couric opened up to People about her initial reaction to the news about the Lauer news, and how she feels now.
"What upset me the most about hearing these stories [was] that obviously [his behavior] was grossly inappropriate, but also it just seemed so callous," she said.
The 64-year-old explained, "And that's not the Matt I knew. There's a duality in human beings, and sometimes they don't let you see both sides."
She went on, "I think we've learned a lot. I think our understanding of what is a consensual relationship has changed dramatically, and now we know if there is a power dynamic, it can't really be considered consensual."
Looking back, Couric said she didn’t notice any inappropriate behavior. "He might comment on a movie star or something, saying, like, 'Oof, she's unbelievable,'" she recalled. "He was admiring of beautiful women. But I never felt he was pervy or inappropriate in my presence, ever."
Katie went on, "I think we have all these euphemisms that we used to use for bad behavior — and player was one of them. He was a flirt. Certainly I read that he was unhappy in his marriage. But, honestly, I never had that discussion with him."
She insists they “didn’t share intimate parts of our lives with each other,” adding, “I could count on one hand the times that I talked to him as I would a confidant or a really close friend."
There were reports of inappropriate behavior taking place in Lauer’s office, but Katie says, "Our offices were next to each other, and so I think when he engaged in this kind of behavior, he was extraordinarily secretive about it. I [had] heard a few pieces of gossip, that he was involved with an anchor, and I remember thinking, 'Who knows if this is true?' I think it was considered nobody's business. At many news organizations in the '90s and early 2000s there was a lot of inappropriate fraternization."
Couric does reveal in her book that she was aware of an email Lauer sent to a colleague by mistake that included sexual comments.
"I remember being shocked and disappointed," she said of learning about the email years ago. "But also I think I thought more about the infidelity aspect than the idea that he was taking advantage of someone. The idea of something being consensual was interpreted very differently than it is now. If I had to do it again, I would have made sure that young woman was okay."
As far as the more recent allegations are concerned, she said, "It took me a very, very long time to kind of come to terms with it. Also, to appreciate the damage that was done to women who were taken advantage by many powerful men."
Katie said she no longer speaks with Matt, sharing, "We're starting to look at, as a culture, certain offenses — and I'm not putting Matt in this category, but where is there room for redemption, personal growth and grace?" she says, "It's not for me to say with Matt."
She added, "It's really not for me to forgive him. This is Matt's story, and it's the story of the people he exploited."
Couric says the book was written as “a gift” to daughters Ellie, 30, and Carrie, 25, and is meant to “impart some wisdom” from her life experiences. “Going There” also covers private moments from her life, including the loss of her husband Jay Monahan, who passed away at 42 after a battle with colon cancer.