Over a month after her former morning-show colleague Matt Lauer was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, his former Today show co-host Katie Couric has opened up for the first time on her response to the news, saying in an interview that the alleged conduct "was not the Matt we knew".
Couric told People that the ordeal has been "painful" for her.
In an interview with "People" magazine, Couric calls the accounts of Lauer's misconduct "disturbing", but says she learned about them only through the media.
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"I had no idea this was going on during my tenure or after I left", she added.
'Matt was a kind and generous colleague who treated me with respect. Subsequent reports revealed allegations of harassment and assault. It was Lauer's sunny "America's dad" reputation, in fact, that prompted Couric to joke about him pinching her ass on Watch What Happens Live, because "it was completely contrary to our brother-sister relationship".
Matt Lauer says his farewell to Katie Couric, his exiting co-host of the NBC "Today" television program in the studio, Wednesday May 31, 2006. I really admire the way Savannah [Guthrie] and Hoda [Kotb] and the entire Today show staff have handled a very hard situation, ' she added.
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NBC News fired Matt Lauer on November 29 as a result of an internal complaint about "inappropriate sexual behavior".
In a statement read on Today after his firing, Lauer said that while some of the allegations were "untrue or mischaracterized", "there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed". "There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC".
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