Eight years ago, veteran journalist Ann Curry was swiftly and mysteriously removed from her position as co-host to Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today. Her stint was all too brief—from June 2011 to June 2012—and the timing suspect. Before her dismissal, Curry says she warned NBC management that “they had a problem” with Lauer, “and they needed to keep an eye on him and how he deals with women.” Six years later, after NBC fired Lauer following rape allegations, Curry appeared on CBS This Morning and mentioned a “climate of verbal sexual harassment” at the show, but left it at that.
Now, for Elle’s September issue, she’s gone deeper on her experience at Today. “Are you asking me if I’ve ever been verbally sexually harassed?” she tells writer Carrie Battan. “Yeah, of course. Who hasn’t? It’s still going on in many places, and it was going on where I worked.”
As for the elephant in the room—whether Curry believes her firing was related to her warning her then-employer about an unnamed Today staffer who confided in her that she was “sexually harassed physically” by Matt Lauer—Curry said she has no answers. “I still don’t really understand it,” she told Elle. “If I had known what was happening in the back rooms of power, then I would know. I obviously was not in those rooms... I think that many people have guessed why [I was replaced], but I’ve held myself back. I’ve asked people why, and I haven’t gotten a good answer.”
Even years later, Curry says her time at Today is still painful to talk about:
“In so many ways, [I’ve had to be] like water between rocks... I mean, it’s been eight years, right? And I think at this point, after all that’s been said and done, it just feels unhelpful, and potentially hurtful, to talk about this. I would say that we all know, especially we women, we know what those rocks are.” For many women, a nondisclosure agreement is a big one. “It’s a rock for a lot of people,” she says. “But I decided a long time ago that I don’t care about that. My biggest concern is not hurting others at the moment. Helping but not hurting—that’s the water between rocks.”
And Curry explained that women have continued to come to her with stories about Matt Lauer:
When I ask Curry about her relationship with her former colleagues, her tone is respectfully chilly. “I still have some friends,” she says. If she is not exactly best pals with the top brass, Curry remains a confidante for many of the women who are still there, trying to sort out their experiences. “There has been more than one [woman] who’s come to me now [about Lauer],” she says. “I hope they’ve come to me because they know that I’ll be empathetic and compassionate. I’m a right-and-a-wrong girl. And I’m happy to be their friend,” she adds. “This is a deep level of suffering, from what I’ve learned. They’re dealing with trauma that threatens to be lifelong.”
“If I had to do it over again, and it meant going through it all over again, to accomplish the kind of reporting I’m really proud of, I would,” Curry says of her short time at Today, but “the bottom line is that it still hurts. It honestly hurts really deeply, because I really think I did nothing wrong. But in spite of the pain of it, which still lingers, I know that I contributed to some people suffering less. But I tell you, it was tough. It was hard to walk that line, to not add more [suffering]. Boy, oh boy, was it tough.”
Read the full article here.