Former “Today” show co-host Ann Curry said Wednesday that she was “not surprised” by the sexual misconduct allegations that led to the firing of her former co-host Matt Lauer ― but was reluctant to elaborate on what she knew, saying she wanted to “move on” from her tumultuous time at the show.
“I’m trying to do no harm in these conversations. I can tell you I am not surprised by the allegations,” the veteran journalist said on “CBS This Morning,” in her first extensive comments about Lauer since NBC ousted him in November amid accusations from staffers of sexual harassment and assault.
“I’m trying not to hurt people. I know 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 somebody else,” Curry went on, when asked to elaborate. “But I can say that ― because you’re asking me a very direct question ― I can say that I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed.”
After Curry suggested that she’d seen what she called “verbal sexual harassment,” host Norah O’Donnell asked her whether such an environment was “pervasive.”
“I don’t want to cause more pain, but no, you’re asking me a very direct question. I’m an honest person. I want to tell you that it was,” Curry responded. “Yes, period.”
Curry was forced off of “Today” in 2012, with executives citing low ratings. But Lauer, who clashed with Curry, reportedly played a role in her ousting, culminating in a humiliating farewell appearance for Curry.
“I don’t know what all was behind it,” Curry said Wednesday. “I do know 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 just let it go. It has been years, and I want to really move on from that.”
Curry briefly spoke about Lauer’s firing in November, telling People magazine that she was “still really processing” the news.
“The women’s movement got us into the workplace, but it didn’t make us safe once we got there,” Curry said then. “And the battle lines are now clear. We need to move this revolution forward and make our workplaces safe. Corporate America is quite clearly failing to do so, and unless it does something to change that, we need to keep doing more ourselves.”
Over the past few months, the #MeToo movement has exposed alleged sexual misconduct involving many powerful figures in politics, entertainment, business and media ― including Lauer and former “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose, who was fired from CBS and his PBS program after allegations of serial sexual misconduct from female staffers.
On Wednesday, Curry again said that the “reckoning” was “frankly long overdue.”
“We’re waking up to a reality and injustice that’s 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 power and power imbalance, where women are not valued as much as men.”
Curry said she was glad that NBC has put Hoda Kotb alongside co-anchor Savannah Guthrie in Lauer’s stead, marking the first time in the show’s history that two women have anchored its first two hours.
“The idea that women are involved speaking to women is actually an overdue idea,” she said. “So absolutely, I think it’s a good idea.”