In her first interview since leaving NBC four years ago, Ann Curry said she was the subject of constant “verbal harassment” at the network. Curry appeared on CBS This Morning on Wednesday morning (Jan. 17) and she opened up about her rocky relationship with and feelings about her former co-host, Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC in late November amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
“I can say that I would be surprised if — if — many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment — that existed. I think it’d be surprising if someone said that they didn’t see that,” she said, answering “yes” when asked if verbal sexual harassment was pervasive during her time at the network. Curry began as a substitute news anchor on Today in 1994 and rose to the position of Today co-anchor in 2011, though her tenure was short-lived and her exit a year later tumultuous.
As for whether Lauer abused his power as the lead anchor on the then-No. 1 morning news show, Curry said, “I’m trying to do no harm in these conversations. I can tell you that I — I am not surprised by the allegations.” Curry also weighed in no her feelings about the #MeToo movement, which has resulted in a number of high-profile men in media — including Lauer, Charlie Rose and Harvey Weinstein, among dozens of others — getting fired or stepping down in the wake of allegations of sexual assault or harassment.
“I think it’s in general overdue,” she said. “We clearly are waking up to a reality, an injustice that has been occurring for some time. And I think it will continue to occur until the glass ceiling is finally broken. This is about power, a power imbalance where women are not valued as much as men. I’m not talking about people being attracted to other people. I’m talking about people in the work place who are powerful, who are abusing that power — and women and men are suffering. And I think the fact that people are speaking out is important and the fact that we are moving against this imbalance of power is absolutely overdue.”
When Gayle King pressed Curry on whether, as rumored, Lauer used his then-considerable power to derail her career and push her out of Today, the host of the new PBS show We’ll Meet Again said she was “not the one to ask about that,” adding “I don’t know what was all behind it. I do know that — it hurt like hell. It wasn’t a fun moment. I’ve learned a great deal about myself. I’ve really at this point let it go… it’s about the problem that’s pervasive across industries in work places across America. And this is actually the issue. And the question is ultimately what are we going to do about it? And I, I wonder if we, if we keep focusing only on these individual scandals — if we’re actually going to move off of that foot into creating something better in the future.”
In contrast, Lauer’s former Today show co-host Katie Couric recently said the public fall of her friend has been “very painful” for her and that she had “no idea” that the alleged harassment was going on during her tenure. “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,” she said.
Explaining why she tweeted the #MeToo hashtag in October, Curry said she does not know “a single woman who has not endured some form of sexual harassment. And — and many women have endured work place sexual harassment. It’s happened to me in multiple jobs. And — and it — and it is a way of sidelining women. You know, and it’s ultimately not only bad for the women it’s bad for the companies. And it’s bad for our nation because it’s a limiting of people. And — and really ultimately also we should be talking about the victims. We’re talking about the scandal, the scandal, scandal. What about the victims? What are we going to do to remove the stigma and the shame? What are we gonna do to make sure these women work and are not sidelined and prevented from contributing to the greater good that we all are trying to do?”
Watch the interview below: