Returning to the show she had co-hosted for nine years with Matt Lauer, former Today anchor Katie Couric revealed Tuesday that she now has “no relationship” with Lauer following his 2017 firing for sexual misconduct, adding that her one-time partner is “reckless and callous, and honestly abusive to other women.”
Discussing her upcoming memoir Going There with current Today anchor Savannah Guthrie, Couric claimed she did her own digging into Lauer’s conduct after she heard about the accusations of sexual harassment, and what she found “was really upsetting and disturbing.”
“It was really devastating, but also disgusting,” Couric declared. “I think what I realized is that there was a side of Matt I never really knew, and I tried to understand why he behaved the way he did, and why he was so reckless and callous, and honestly abusive to other women.”
At the same time, Couric acknowledged that it “took a long time to process” the reality of Lauer’s alleged abuse, saying that she had previously known him to be a “kind, considerate, and good colleague.”
Asked whether she had seen things in a different light while writing her book, Couric said that looking back there was a “very permissive environment in the ’90s” that would “often result in serious transgressions.” She further noted that “our notion of what a consensual relationship has changed dramatically.”
In her book, Couric includes personal text exchanges she and Lauer shared following his dismissal from NBC, writing that “Matt thinks I betrayed him” but “he betrayed me, too, by how he behaved behind closed doors at the show we both cared about so much.”
Pressed by Guthrie on where her friendship with Lauer stands now, Couric bluntly responded: “We have no relationship.”
“You know, I think I used those text messages because I thought they were very illustrative of how our relationship evolved and ultimately deteriorated,” she continued. “So I thought that was a powerful way to kind of really let the reader into my thought process and as I got more and more information how it was harder and harder for me to reconcile these two sides.”
Elsewhere in the wide-ranging conversation, Couric discussed the fallout over the revelation that she deliberately omitted newsworthy comments from a 2016 interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an effort to “protect” her. At the time, Ginsburg said those who kneel during the national anthem were showing “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.”
While expressing regret over her decision to edit out Ginsburg’s remarks, Couric also offered up some justifications for excluding the late liberal hero’s pointed criticism of athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling to protest racial injustice.
“I think what people don’t realize is, we make editorial decisions like that all the time, and I chose to talk about this and put it in the book for a discussion,” she said.
“I mentioned that it was a conundrum that I asked Justice Ginsburg about Colin Kaepernick and taking a knee and how she felt about that,” Couric added. “And I did include the fact that she said it was dumb and disrespectful, it was stupid and arrogant, and quite a bit of what she said. There was another line that I thought was—I wasn’t sure what she meant exactly, and I thought it was subject to interpretation.”
The veteran news anchor would further say she wished she had “asked a follow-up to clarify” or just run Ginsburg’s full answer in its entirety, though she insisted she still covered the main sentiment of Ginsburg’s remarks.
“Ultimately, I think I should have included it,” she told Guthrie. “But I also think it’s really important to look at what I did include. She had to make a statement afterward saying her comments were harsh and dismissive.”