Ann Curry "Not Surprised" by Matt Lauer Claims
The former 'Today' co-host spoke out about her former colleague's ouster during an appearance on 'CBS This Morning.'
Former Today co-host Ann Curry said she was "not surprised by the allegations" against her former colleague Matt Lauer.
Curry made the remarks during an appearance on CBS This Morning on Wednesday, in which she spoke about the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment and a need for a shift in the balance of power between men and women in the workplace.
Although she was asked about Lauer, and about many people viewing him as being behind her stepping down from Today in 2012, Curry was careful not to point blame at her former colleagues at NBC News, saying that she's "let it go" and wants to move on from her highly publicized exit from Today.
Curry began her appearance talking about the power imbalance in the workplace, in response to a question from Norah O'Donnell about the nationwide "reckoning" as numerous high-profile men have been accused of sexual misconduct.
"I think [this reckoning] is, in general, overdue. We are clearly 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," she said. "This is about a power imbalance where women are not valued as much as men.… 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 asked if Matt Lauer "abused his power," Curry said she was "trying to do no harm in these conversations."
But, she added, "I can tell you that I am not surprised by the allegations."
When Gayle King pressed her further as to what she means by that, she hemmed and hawed a bit, saying she didn't want "to hurt people" as she knows "what it's like to be publicly humiliated. I never did anything wrong to be publicly humiliated and I don't want to cause that kind of pain to someone else."
"But I can say, because you're asking me a very direct question, I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed," she said. "I think it would be surprising if someone said that they didn't see that. Verbal sexual harassment was pervasive."
King also asked Curry for her thoughts on the view that Lauer was responsible for her Today exit, but she declined to answer whether she believed that to be the case.
"You know you should ask someone else. I'm not the one to ask about that," she said. "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. I've let it go. It's been years and I want to really move on from that. At this point I'm thinking 'Hakuna Matata' — it's just sort of over. I think the real question, in my view, is what are we going to do about all of this anger, and it's not about where I used to work, it's not about where you're now working. But it's about the problem that's pervasive across industries in workplaces across America. And this is actually the issue and the question is ultimately what are we going to do about it. I wonder, if we keep focusing on these individual scandals, if we're actually going to move off of that foot into creating something better in the future."
Curry spent a year as Lauer's co-anchor on Today before she left with a tearful departure on the NBC morning show. In published reports by The New York Times and New York magazine, Lauer was speculated to have played a role in her sudden exit. Curry stayed at NBC News until 2015, when she left and created her own production company. Her new PBS series, We'll Meet Again, premieres Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m. The show, which Curry executive produces, reports and hosts, features dramatic reunions of people whose lives crossed at pivotal moments.
When asked what she thinks of two women (Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb) anchoring Today now, Curry said she thought that was "overdue," arguing that "many of the viewers of the morning broadcast now are women."
New CBS This Morning anchor John Dickerson also asked Curry what she was referring to when she tweeted #MeToo in October, with her saying she was merely speaking to the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace.
"I don't know a single woman who has not endured some form of sexual harassment. And many women have endured workplace sexual harassment. It's happened to me in multiple jobs, and it is a way of sidelining women," she said. "And it's 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 really ultimately also we should be talking about the victims. We're talking about scandal, scandal, scandal. What about the victims? What are we going to do to remove the stigma and the shame. What are we going to do to make sure that these women work and are not sidelined and prevented from contributing to the greater good that we all are trying to do."
Curry later repeated her call for the glass ceiling to be broken, which she also made at a lunch promoting We'll Meet Again earlier this month.
"Until the glass ceiling is broken, until the balance of power is even — and remember women are one-to-one and sometimes the majority — and until that balance occurs, the culture that we're talking about, that enables the diminishing of women, will continue. This is what we need to fix."
Watch video of Curry's interview below.