US

Katie Couric says she ‘heard the whispers’ about Matt Lauer’s ‘sexual misconduct’

Former Today Show host Katie Couric admits she ‘heard the whispers’ about Matt Lauer’s alleged sex pest behavior with female colleagues in her new tell-all memoir.

The book Going There details her experiences in the office with Lauer, who was fired from the show in November 2017 over allegations of sexual misconduct.

The women who were left ‘damaged’ by Lauer’s actions spoke with Couric as she wrote her book, she revealed, although the former anchor didn’t name them.

‘I suspect they’ll be dealing with this for the rest of their lives,’ Couric wrote, according to The New York Post. 

Even before these allegations were made, Couric said her former co-anchor Lauer told her he thought that feminist movements such as The Me Too were becoming too powerful.

‘This MeToo stuff feels like it’s getting kind of out of control,’ Lauer reportedly told Couric. ‘It feels like a witch hunt.’ 

She added that Lauer was ‘worried about a lack of due process, people’s livelihoods and reputations being destroyed.’ 

Former Today Show host Katie Couric admits that she ‘heard the whispers’ abut Matt Lauer’s inappropriate office behavior in her new book

He complained that he felt uncomfortable putting his arm around a female colleague to comfort her when she cried, over fears he could subsequently face an allegation of inappropriate behavior. 

Couric, however, told Lauer to stop putting his arm around the women as it was making them uncomfortable.

She said that she tried to ‘imagine such a scene taking place’ and told Lauer that ‘he cannot do that – you cannot put your arm around them,’ The Post reported.

Couric also wrote in the book, out Oct. 26, that she also heard ‘rumors’ that her co-star’s wife Annette Lauer had called the control room one morning looking for her husband and demanding the phone number of a TV anchor he had been linked with.

They divorced after news of Lauer’s misconduct exploded.  

She also spoke of a secret office known as ‘bunker’ where an unnamed anchor went for trysts at NBC HQ, saying it was all part of a culture where sex and affairs were rife in the workplace.

Couric alleged that only an unnamed ‘male anchor’ had the key to open the office to use it for ‘one-on-one encounters, and I don’t mean interviews,’ she is said to have writen.

Couric had served as a co-anchor for The Today show between 1991 and 2006 and worked closely with Lauer for nine years.  

Her book also revealed an incident that involved an unnamed female producer who received inappropriate emails from Lauer in 2004.

In response to a congratulatory email she sent following a segment with biographer Kitty Kelley for her tell-all book on the Bush Family, Lauer asked her if she was trying to ‘butter him up’ and then asked her to show him by ‘spreading it between her thighs’.

He also reportedly asked her to wear ‘a skirt that comes off easily’ into the office. 

Couric also wrote that the producer told her a ‘flustered’ Lauer visited her office after he sent the email with a book option for the show, but didn’t address the incident. Couric said: ‘They never spoke about the incident.’

DailyMail.com previously saw a manuscript for Couric’s book which also revealed that she had previously left Lauer sympathetic texts after he was fired. 

In Couric's Going There, she details her experiences working for The Today Show and with Matt Lauer who she reportedly sent sympathetic texts to after he was fired in 2017

In Couric’s Going There, she details her experiences working for The Today Show and with Matt Lauer who she reportedly sent sympathetic texts to after he was fired in 2017

‘But he betrayed me, too, by how he behaved behind closed doors at the show we both cared about so much,’ Couric said.

Behind these closed doors, women were reportedly crying and going into Lauer’s office, which came supplied with a desk button to lock the door. 

Reports said that he gave one woman a sex toy and an explicit note saying how he wanted to use it on her. He was also accused of showing another woman his penis in his office and played ‘f***, marry or kill’ in the office. 

Couric claimed that women reported instances of sexual misconduct with her that included inappropriate emails being sent to an unnamed female producer in 2004

Couric claimed that women reported instances of sexual misconduct with her that included inappropriate emails being sent to an unnamed female producer in 2004

Lauer was also accused of rape while he was in Sochi during the 2014 Olympics by former NBC producer Brooke Nevils. 

The allegation was made in Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. A number of other women also came forward to make similar complaints. 

According to Nevils, she was in Lauer’s hotel room when he pushed her onto the bed and asked if she liked anal sex, which she ‘declined several times.’

Nevils made the accusation in 2018 but Lauer has refuted them, saying all sexual activity was consensual.

‘We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex,’ Lauer said. ‘Each act was mutual and completely consensual.’ 

‘It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense,’ he said of the rape allegation. 

He then issued another public statement about the allegations in an op-ed for Mediate where he slammed Nevils for ‘false’ claims and labeled Farrow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who covered her story, as ‘manipulative’. 

Lauer angrily questioned Farrow’s reporting abilities and accused him of ‘shoddy journalism’ for the way he described Nevils’ story in his book Catch and Kill.   

Farrow’s book also published a claim that Lauer exposed himself to a female producer – Melissa Lonner – who then confided in his co-host Ann Curry.

Lonner was working as an entertainment booker for the NBC show at the time, and according to Farrow’s book, Lauer invited her into his office and exposed himself in front of her in 2010. 

She then confided in Ann Curry, Lauer’s old co-host who left the network controversially not long after he joined her on Today, who says she spoke to senior executives about Lauer’s behavior without specifically naming the woman.  

Couric said that Lauer was a 'decent' man and it 'felt heartless to abandon him'

Couric said that Lauer was a ‘decent’ man and it ‘felt heartless to abandon him’

Wife Annette Roque divorced Lauer following the scandal - a stunning fall from grace for one of the highest-paid TV hosts in the country earning $25million a year

Wife Annette Roque divorced Lauer following the scandal – a stunning fall from grace for one of the highest-paid TV hosts in the country earning $25million a year

Brooke Nevils

Lauer is pictured at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Nevils was working as a producer for his colleague Meredith Vieira and was also there

Brooke Nevils was named in Ronan Farrow’s book where she told of how Matt Lauer ‘anally raped’ her in 2014 while they were working for NBC to cover the Sochi Winter Olympics. Lauer is shown, right, at the Games 

In 2013, an alleged settlement was made over Lauer with Today producer, Melissa Lonner (pictured that year) who told anchor Ann Curry in 2010 that Lauer had exposed himself and propositioned her

In 2013, an alleged settlement was made over Lauer with Today producer, Melissa Lonner (pictured that year) who told anchor Ann Curry in 2010 that Lauer had exposed himself and propositioned her

Despite the string of salacious revelations about her former colleague, Couric also described Lauer in her book as a ‘decent’ man and it ‘felt heartless to abandon him.’ 

She writes that ‘my heart sank’ when she heard that Lauer had been fired and says that she ‘couldn’t imagine’ what it was like to be him. 

Couric says there was still a part of her that wondered if the allegations were  just wild rumors. 

On November 28, 2017, the day Lauer was fired, Couric had a brief text exchange with Lauer which she reproduces in the book.  

‘I am crushed. I love you and care about you deeply. I am here. Please let me know if you want to talk. There will be better days ahead,’ she wrote in a text to Lauer after he was fired. He responded with a blowing kiss emoji.

Lauer’s wife Annette divorced him in 2017 in a stunning fall from grace for somebody who was once the highest paid TV host in the country, earning $25million a year.

Annette Lauer had allegedly called the control room once in search of her husband and also wanted the number of an anchor who he was rumored to have been involved with, according to Couric’s book. 

Couric admitted that she initially thought it was ‘gross’ that Lauer was cheating on Annette, and allegedly taking advantage of younger staffers, ‘The general rule at the time was, ‘It’s none of your business. A don’t-ask-don’t-tell culture where anything goes, and everything did,’ she said.

She wrote in her book that she thought it was a ‘consensual fling’ and didn’t consider talking to the unnamed employee out of fear of embarrassing her. 

Going There will be released on October 26.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘I love getting under her skin’: Katie Couric reveals how toxic competition with Diane Sawyer escalated to all-out morning show war – and the truth behind infamous ‘who did she have to b***’ quip 

Katie Couric claims that she got under the skin of Diane Sawyer so much when they were competing for big interviews that Sawyer said: ‘That woman must be stopped’.

Sawyer, who was co-host of Good Morning America, was supposedly taking a break while on set and watching Couric on TODAY when she fired off the missive.

In her memoir, Couric, 64, writes that she ‘loved that she was getting under Diane’s skin’ during the ‘Booking Wars’ of the late 1990s between GMA and TODAY.

But Sawyer, 75, was formidable and after losing out on one exclusive Couric quipped: ‘I wonder who she had to blow to get that’, a comment that was leaked to the tabloids.

Couric also said that she couldn’t ‘get over how cool’ Sawyer was when she watched the decade-older newswoman when Couric was growing up.

Katie Couric attends the "Turning Tables: Cooking, Serving, and Surviving In A Global Pandemic" premiere during the 2021 Tribeca Festival at Brookfield Place on June 18, 2021 in New York City

Diane Sawyer attends the 2019 Library Lions Gala at New York Public Library on November 04, 2019 in New York City

Katie Couric (left) claims that she wound up Diane Sawyer (right) so much when they were competing for big interviews that Sawyer said: ‘That woman must be stopped’

That gave way to ruthless competition and, Couric claims, Sawyer was so desperate to win that her producers would cry on the phone to people if they didn’t agree to talk to her.

Couric details the rivalry in ‘Going There’, her memoir which is out in late October but DailyMail.com has seen the manuscript. The Sawyer passage has also been reported by the New York Post.

Our revelations have already sparked a storm as Couric admitted she didn’t help female co-stars such as a young Ashleigh Banfield because she wanted to ‘protect my turf’.

In the book, Couric maligns ex-boyfriends, former colleagues and mocks Prince Harry for stinking of alcohol and cigarettes when she interviewed him in 2012 during his party years.

Couric and Sawyer joined TODAY and GMA respectively in 1999, setting up a rivalry between two women who would go on to become TV legends.

In ‘Going There’, Couric writes that she was still a local reporter in Miami when Sawyer became a star and she was ‘envious’ watching her breaking the glass ceiling in a male-dominated industry.

Couric ‘scrutinized’ Sawyer’s interviews on 60 Minutes and ‘couldn’t get over how cool’ she was.

The rivalry pitted two women of different styles against each other, Couric writes.

She was ‘fun and feisty’ while Sawyer was ‘sleek and sophisticated’ but they were both ‘at the top of our games and both very competitive’.

Sawyer is seen during the Booking Wars of the 1990s. Couric writes that she ‘loved that I was getting under Diane’s skin - not that she wasn’t getting under mine’

Sawyer is seen during the Booking Wars of the 1990s. Couric writes that she ‘loved that I was getting under Diane’s skin – not that she wasn’t getting under mine’

Couric claims that she and Sawyer were not mortal enemies as the press made out but ‘we definitely kept tabs on each other’.

The book suggests otherwise.

For example, it got back to Couric that on the GMA set Sawyer was watching a monitor showing TODAY and said: ‘That woman must be stopped’.

A TODAY show producer thought it was so funny they printed up a pillow for Couric with the words on it signed ‘D.S.’ as if it were a gift from Sawyer.

Couric writes that she ‘loved that I was getting under Diane’s skin – not that she wasn’t getting under mine’.

Couric made her comment about Sawyer giving somebody fellatio after losing out on an interview with a woman who gave birth to twins at the age of 57.

In the book Couric claims it was a ‘wisecrack’ but when it was reported in the tabloids it ‘didn’t exactly sound that way’.

Couric details the extraordinary extent the bookers – on the ground producers – went to get the big scoops using methods that were ‘often absurd, hilarious and flat-out shameless’.

Sawyer’s bookers regularly used cry down the phone if an interview was starting to fall through to guilt trip the subject into going along with them.

TODAY would put up guests at a hotel in New York and if GMA found out where it was they would pretend to be from the TODAY show, say the interview was canceled and make their own pitch.

Or they would send a car to pick the person up and take them off to GMA instead of TODAY.

If a guest was doing GMA and TODAY next then a GMA producer would stall them in the green room after their piece with endless cups of coffee so they would never make it to the rival studio on time.

Couric writes that the ‘stakes were so high’ that she and Sawyer often became involved by making phone calls or sending hand-written notes to interviewees.

Couric, seen in the 90s, writes that she was ‘fun and feisty’ while Sawyer was ‘sleek and sophisticated’ but they were both ‘at the top of our games and both very competitive’

Couric, seen in the 90s, writes that she was ‘fun and feisty’ while Sawyer was ‘sleek and sophisticated’ but they were both ‘at the top of our games and both very competitive’

Couric calls her producer Lori Beecher her ‘secret weapon’ who helped her to get an interview with Lucille Bloch, whose diplomat husband Felix was suspected of being a spy.

Shortly after Beecher arrived at Bloch’s home the phone rang and Beecher answered.

A ‘sultry’ voice asked to speak to Ms Bloch and Beecher asked who it was. The voice said: ‘Diane Sawyer’.

Beecher said Bloch wasn’t available and that she would pass on a message – which she ‘somehow forgot to do’.

Beecher hid a letter that Sawyer sent the next day so that Bloch would only find it long after her interview with TODAY had aired.

Another tactic used by Sawyer was to portray herself as a devoted family woman to gain the trust of somebody they were looking to interview.

One of Couric’s bookers countered this by pointing out that Sawyer had never actually raised any children – while the booker was a mother of two.

Couric’s booker won the woman over and Sawyer ‘must have had steam coming out of her ears’, ‘Going There’ says.

But as the booker was driving to the hotel with the woman they noticed a GMA car behind them which suddenly gunned it and tried to run the booker’s car off the road, forcing them to call 911.

Reflecting back on those days, Couric says that the rush to get the story ‘often obscured the human suffering’ they were reporting on.

She wonders if she was a ‘journalistic voyeur selling our souls for bragging rights and ratings’.

Couric says she ‘cannot defend’ the media mentality at the time and says that it was the ‘last lurid gasp’ of tabloid excess. 


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button