Former Today host Ann Curry has broken her silence on the Matt Lauer sex scandal.
At the end of November, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack announced that an employee came forward to report Lauer for “inappropriate sexual behaviour” in the workplace. After more than two decades on Today, Lauer was fired.
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“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. So it was… a verbal… sexual…,” she said in an interview on CBS This Morning Wednesday.
“She just said that verbal sexual harassment was pervasive,” CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell interjected.
“Yeah,” Curry replied.
“At NBC at the time when you were there?” O’Donnell said.
“I don’t want to cause more pain,” said Curry. “But no, you are asking me a very direct question. I’m an honest person. I want to tell you that it was. Yes. Period.”
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O’Donnell then asked Curry if she thought Lauer abused his power while co-hosting Today.
“You know, I’m trying to do no harm in these conversations,” replied a cautious Curry. “I can tell you that I am not surprised by the allegations.”
“We clearly are waking up to a reality, an injustice that has been occurring for some time,” she continued. “And I think it will continue to occur until the glass ceiling is finally broken. I’m not talking about people being attracted to other people. I’m talking about people in the workplace who are powerful, who are abusing that power … and women and men are suffering.”
Curry was on Today for 15 years, and co-anchored next to Lauer from 2011 to 2012, before her high-profile departure from the company in 2015. She’ll be returning to TV on PBS with her own show, We’ll Meet Again.
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Lauer issued an apology shortly after his firing, acknowledging his behaviour and its repercussions.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer said in the statement. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry.”
(You can watch the interview in the video, top.)