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Curry says "verbal sexual harassment was pervasive" during her time at NBC
Journalist Ann Curry, who co-anchored Today with Matt Lauer from 2011 to 2012 before she was forced out, is returning to TV this year with her own PBS show called We'll Meet Again. She's entering a TV news landscape that has changed drastically since she left NBC for good in 2015, with Lauer himself recently forced out of Today due to alleged sexual misconduct.
Curry broke her silence on Lauer's firing during an interview with CBS This Morning on Wednesday, a show that has also been hit by the #MeToo wave, with co-anchor Charlie Rose fired over sexual harassment allegations. Curry, choosing her words very carefully, said she was "not surprised" by the allegations against Lauer, saying that there was a pervasive culture of sexual harassment during her time at the network.
Lauer is accused of, among other things, giving a colleague a sex toy as a present along with a note graphically describing how he wanted to use it on her and exposing himself to a female employee and getting angry when she didn't perform a sex act on him.
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Gayle King asked Curry if she thought Matt Lauer was behind her firing and Curry declined to answer, saying she doesn't know and would like to move on from the past. She added that getting bogged down in the details of individual scandals takes the focus away from fixing the culture that allows for rampant workplace sexual harassment.
"I don't know a single woman who has not endured some form of sexual harassment," she said. "And many women have endured workplace sexual harassment. It's happened to me in multiple jobs. And it is a way of sidelining women. You know, and 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. And really ultimately also we should be talking about the victims. 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 gonna do to make sure these women work and are not sidelined and prevented from contributing to the greater good that we all are trying to do?"
John Dickerson asked how she thinks that can be done, and she answered, "I think that until the glass ceiling is broken, until the balance of power is even-- and remember that women are one-to-one in this country. And in many years we are the majority. Right? So until that balance actually occurs 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."
We'll Meet Again premieres Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 8/7c on PBS.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)