Disgraced television host Matt Lauer has been fired for sexual harassment and Today Show ratings are higher than they’ve been in years.
Now, months later, Katie Couric is speaking out about Lauer and what it was like to work with him and how she insulated herself against harassment.
She also speaks about what she hopes for Matt Lauer’s present and future.
While speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast at SXSW, Katie Couric discussed the #MeToo movement and what it’s been like as a woman in her position to experience that for these past months.
And, very naturally, she also speaks about her fallen former colleague, Matt Lauer.
First, she acknowledges that she’s been immersed in this perilous world since long before the #MeToo movement came about.
“I certainly dealt with sexist environments and environments that marginalized and didn’t give women their due, and didn’t treat women as intellectual equals.”
Katie says, however, that the accusations against Matt Lauer and ensuing scandal were much more personal.
“But it’s hit very close to home with Matt Lauer and what happened there.”
Katie elaborated about how listening to #MeToo stories has been illuminating for her.
“It’s been an important experience for me because I never faced this kind of treatment.”
A lot of people — men and women — are discovering for the first time just how perilous the world can be.
Katie knows why predatory men were wary of her.
“I was one of the lucky ones — I think I am harassable and I’m not harassable in that sense, and I think it is because I was in a position of power early in my career.”
To be clear, she’s not saying that there’s something special about her demeanor that makes people unwilling to harass her. Women who are targeted for harassment do not “invite” it.
Rather, she’s saying that securing a position of power as early as she did made men like Matt Lauer treat her as a colleague rather than as a potential target.
Here comes what’s probably her most controversial line.
Katie Couric speaks about what she hopes that Matt Lauer is up to now.
“I hope he’s trying to figure out and understand his behavior and why he did it and why it was so wrong.”
So she hopes that he learned his lesson. Does she imagine that Matt Lauer might have a career after this?
Even in this context, she can’t help but sound like she’s singing his praises.
“We had a wonderful working relationship.”
Perhaps she’s trying to speak of how
She says that she’s still reeling from the revelations about Matt Lauer.
“It’s shocking, honestly, and disturbing, disorienting, disheartening — all of those d-words.”
She points out that there are others, probably countless men who are still employed, who are predatory wolves in sheep’s clothing.
“But I think, he’s not the only one who behaves in this way …”
That has been made abundantly clear since the autumn of 2017.
“Cultures have existed in the media, and in every arena, where behaviors were tolerated, people looked the other way, it was an accepted way of doing business.”
She says that, regrettably, most people looked the other way.
“I don’t think people paid much attention to it.”
Some accuse Katie Couric of hypocrisy.
She took part in a secret roast of Matt Lauer back in 2008. The content of that roast was said to have mentioned his alleged sexual exploits.
But there’s a difference between someone cheating on his wife (obviously, Annette Roque has finally filed for divorce) and someone preying upon colleagues who don’t feel like they can say no.
And then there was the woman who accused him of locking her in his office, bending her over, and sexually assaulting her — and of only stopping and unlocking the door when she passed out.
It’s probably safe to say that most colleagues who didn’t know the truth chalked up rumors about him as exaggerations and didn’t realize how sinister their colleague’s alleged activities really were.
The Hollywood Gossip