Former Today Show anchor Katie Couric opened up about Matt Lauer, who was fired in November 2017 after being accused of sexual harassment and assault. Couric, who sat next to Lauer for years on the NBC morning show, said he "ultimately turned out to be two very different people." The journalist also called for more women in leadership positions at broadcast news networks and in the journalism industry overall.
"As you can imagine, I've thought a lot about this over the last two years because it has been, to use the phrase that many have used, a reckoning," Couric told the audience at the Dress for Success Women Who Inspire breakfast in New York City on Wednesday, reports Variety.
She continued, "It's been painful for me on many levels, especially when it comes to understanding what was going on with Matt, who I think ultimately turned out to be two very different people, in terms of my relationship with him versus some of the other things that were going on."
NBC fired Lauer in November 2017 after an NBC employee alleged he sexually harassed her during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the harassment continued after the event. Multiple allegations against Lauer later surfaced.
Last month, Ronan Farrow released his book Catch and Kill, in which he alleged NBC News was aware of allegations against Lauer. Farrow also claimed Harvey Weinstein knew this as well, and used that as leverage to keep NBC News from reporting on the allegations against him.
Farrow also revealed that one of the women who accused Lauer is Brooke Nevins, who claimed Lauer raped her during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Lauer later issued a lengthy statement, denying the allegations and claiming the sexual encounter in 2014 was the start of an "extramarital affair."
Since Nevils' allegations surfaced, Lauer's former colleagues were disturbed by the revelations.
"Brooke Nevils is a credible young woman of good character. She came to NBC News an eager and guileless 20-something, brimming with talent," Ann Curry tweeted. "I believe she is telling the truth. And that breaks my heart."
Al Roker was left almost speechless during a Today Show segment in October.
"It's a — really, a sad, sad day," Roker said. "I mean, [there are] some horrific allegations, claims and charges. Again, as you said, we really feel badly for Brooke Nevils. Our heart goes out to her, it took a lot of courage for her to do that. It's just a sad, sad story."
During Couric's appearance on Wednesday, she said she was lucky to have "never really been subjected to sexual harassment, except for in small ways."0comments
"We need many more women in leadership positions in journalism and broadcast news," Couric explained. "Things don't really change unless you have a woman with real authority and decision-making opportunities, and I really do believe that the atmosphere of a company and the standards, they all come from the top."
Photo credit: Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images