Ann Curry: The Media Won't Change Unless the Glass Ceiling Is Broken
"The vast majority of men I've worked with have been exemplary," the former 'Today' co-anchor said.
Former Today co-anchor anchor Ann Curry spoke openly on Friday about the importance of the #MeToo movement and said that men should be seen as partners in "moving this revolution forward."
"The harassment is actually systematic and pervasive," she said. "But, we should remember: It's limited to very small group of perpetrators, and that should not define how we look at men."
Curry, during a lunch to promote her forthcoming PBS show, We'll Meet Again, said "the vast majority of men I've worked with have been exemplary." She said also that "it's the abnormal, the smaller group of men that is defining. And I think men should be upset that they have been defined in this manner."
She also talked about how the industry can move forward and seek to root out discrimination and bad behavior. "The story is less about the individual scandals and more about the connectivity of all women, and men as well," she said. "And what will happen from here, if anything. For example: Can corporate America actually police itself? Is it possible for HR departments to actually — where did we get the idea that they could actually confront a person in charge of a company to stop sexual harassment? Do we need an outside watch dog? Should there be changes in the structure?"
But, she expressed skepticism that media companies could set aside concerns about ratings and profits and clean house as needed, "unless the majority of people who work in all these companies stand up. … This is a restart of the women's liberation movement. Because unless we break the glass ceiling, this harassment will not end. Because it's about changing the fundamental culture."
Curry did not address the allegations of sexual misconduct that ended the Today show career of her former co-anchor, Matt Lauer. In late November, she said she was "still processing" the revelations. (Another former member of the Today family, Tamron Hall, declined comment when approached by The Hollywood Reporter at an industry event on Dec. 4).
Asked how she would cover the #MeToo movement and the larger story of sexual harassment, Curry said that "it's because of great journalism that we know so much about the pervasiveness of women's suffering."
She also discussed the current atmosphere of animosity toward journalism. "I wish that journalists would stop making themselves so vulnerable to this attack," she said. "What we should do is put our heads down and do the work."
Curry was enthusiastic about the premise for her new six-part show, which runs from Jan. 23 to Feb. 27 and will air on PBS stations around the country. The show, co-produced by Blink Films and AnnCurry Inc., will reconnect "people whose lives intersected at pivotal moments" and will include episodes tied to historical events throughout the last half-century.
She told her own heart-warming story about how her father, a former member of the U.S. Navy, met her Japanese mother during the U.S. occupation of the country after World War II. The two reconnected after her father was reassigned to the Mediterranean and then returned to Japan two years later.