Former “Today” co-host Ann Curry has spoken publicly for the first time about being ousted from the NBC morning show and the recent firing of her former co-host, Matt Lauer, over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Curry, who was with “Today” for 15 years before being let go in 2012, was interviewed by Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King and John Dickerson on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday.
Asked about the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movement, which has resulted in the ouster of Lauer, former “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose, and other media personalities, Curry said:
“I think it’s in general overdue. We clearly are 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. This is about power, a power imbalance where women are not valued as much as men.
“I’m not talking about people being attracted to other people. I’m talking about people in the workplace who are powerful, who are abusing that power — and women and men are suffering. And 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.”
Regarding Lauer, she said, “I am trying to do no harm in these conversations. I can tell you that … I am not surprised by the allegations.”
Appearing reluctant to get into specifics, Curry said, “I’m trying not to hurt people. And I know what it’s like to be publicly humiliated. I never did anything wrong to be publicly humiliated … I don’t want to cause that kind of pain to someone else. But I can say that … I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed. I think it’d be surprising if someone said that they didn’t see that. So it was … verbal, sexual.”
Curry also did not want to address the question of whether Lauer was behind her firing, as is widely believed. “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 … It’s been years and I want to sort of really move on from that.”
Speaking about sexual harassment in the workplace, she said, “I think that the real question, in my view, is what are we going to do with all of this anger? And it’s not just, obviously, 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 … I wonder if we keep focusing only on these individual scandals, if we’re actually going to move off of that … into creating something better in the future …
“I don’t know a single woman who has not endured some form of sexual harassment. And many women have endured work place sexual harassment. It’s happened to me in multiple jobs … It is a way of sidelining women … It’s ultimately 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 …
“We’re talking about the scandal, the 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 make sure these women work and are not sidelined and prevented from contributing to the greater good that we all are trying to do? …
“Until the glass ceiling is broken, until the balance of power is even … then the culture that we’re talking about that enables the diminishing of women will continue. And this is really what we need to fix. And this is … one of the reasons why breaking the glass ceiling is so important.”
Curry also discussed her new PBS show, “We’ll Meet Again,” which will premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 23.
An interview with Curry also appears in the latest issue of People magazine.