Speaking out

Ann Curry breaks silence after bitter departure from ‘Today’ show 5 years ago

Former 'Today' show co-anchor Ann Curry. (YouTube / CBS News)

Former Today show co-anchor Ann Curry broke five years of silence on Wednesday morning, as she is planning a return to television news. Curry appeared on CBS This Morning to discuss for the first time her very public ousting from NBC’s Today show in 2012, after less than a year as co-anchor alongside Matt Lauer. All told, Curry spent 15 years at NBC News. She also answered questions about Matt Lauer’s stunning downfall at the network, and suggested that Lauer’s misdeeds were common knowledge inside the network, and that there was an abusive culture that extended beyond him.

“I can say that I would be surprised if … 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,” she told the co-hosts. O’Donnell pressed Curry on that point, and she replied, “I don’t wanna cause more pain. But no, I’m … you are asking me a very direct question. I’m an honest person. I wanna tell you that it was. Yes. Period.” NBC executives have denied that they were made aware of Lauer’s behavior over the years, but staffers at the Peacock Network have said they were informed and they swept the accusations under the rug to protect Lauer.

When asked whether Lauer had abused her power, Curry replied, “You know, I … I’m trying to do no harm in these conversations. I can tell you that I … I am not surprised by the allegations.”

Turning to her exit from the show in December of 2012, Curry opened up about the toll that difficult time took on her, and how she moved past it. At the time, media reports blamed her removal from the show on a lack of “chemistry” with Lauer. Curry, seated inches from Matt Lauer on the Today show couch, said a tearful farewell to viewers. “This is not easy to say, but this is going to be my last morning as a regular co-host of Today,” she said, breaking down. She added “This is not as I expected, to ever leave this couch after 15 years, but I am so grateful.” She then looked directly at the camera and said, “Especially to all of you who watch.” NBC was criticized for how it handled her departure, a move that left many of the show’s fans puzzled and disappointed.

Ann Curry in a tearful departure on the NBC’s ‘Today’ show in an undated handout image. (NBC via The New York Times)

“I don’t know what was all behind it. I do know that — it hurt like hell,” Curry remarked on Wednesday. “It wasn’t a fun moment. I’ve learned a great deal about myself. I’ve really at this point let it go. I’ve just let it go.”

She echoed that sentiment in comments she made in an interview with PEOPLE magazine. “I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard,” she told the magazine. “But I had to let go. And I learned that when you not only let go but open your arms wide and learn the lessons that an experience — no matter how bad — can teach you, that’s when you rise.”

Curry also discussed the #MeToo movement and its significance. “I don’t know a single woman who has not endured some form of sexual harassment. And … and many women have endured workplace sexual harassment. It’s happened to me in multiple jobs,” Curry said.

Curry returned later in the show to discuss her upcoming new series, We’ll Meet Again, set to air on PBS. The new program, on which Curry is a reporter and executive producer, explores stories of people who are searching for someone from their past.

Watch Curry’s full interview on CBS This Morning below.

Read the full story at CBS News.

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