Ann Curry still doesn’t fully understand why she was ousted from her seat next to Matt Lauer on the Today show eight years ago, but she’s proud of her own behavior amid the messy situation.
The former Today co-host said as much in a new interview with Elle. Her abrupt departure from the show, announced in June 2012, became a hot topic again after Lauer was fired from the network in 2017 amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.
“I still don’t really understand,” Curry said of her Today exit. “I know I did nothing wrong. I know I was good at my job.”
She continued, “They say where there’s smoke, there’s fire. You can read the tea leaves. But you know, I’m a fact-based reporter, so it’s hard for me to go out there, with something so close to the vest. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Asked directly whether she thinks the fact that she went to NBC executives over Lauer’s behavior prior to her firing had anything to do with it, Curry was diplomatic.
“I still don’t really understand it,” she said. “If I had known what was happening in the back rooms of power, then I would know. I obviously was not in those rooms… I think that many people have guessed why [I was replaced], but I’ve held myself back. I’ve asked people why, and I haven’t gotten a good answer.”
However, she made it clear that she does not question her own behavior or ethics.
“I have no regrets about how I’ve behaved,” she said. “And I’m very proud, in spite of everything, of all the work I was able to achieve. I don’t really think about it very often; I really don’t. But when I do, it does hurt still, because it takes time to heal. But what I’ve learned is that you rise stronger.”
But that doesn’t mean the pain hasn’t been stubborn.
“The bottom line is that it still hurts,” she admitted. “It honestly hurts really deeply, because I really think I did nothing wrong. But in spite of the pain of it, which still lingers, I know that I contributed to some people suffering less. But I tell you, it was tough. It was hard to walk that line, to not add more [suffering]. Boy, oh boy, was it tough.”
While Curry could break her non-disclosure agreement with NBC and detail exactly how tough it was, don’t expect her to do that.
“I mean, it’s been eight years, right? And I think at this point, after all that’s been said and done, it just feels unhelpful, and potentially hurtful, to talk about this.” And while NDAs are roadblocks in getting the truth out there, she said, “I decided a long time ago that I don’t care about that. My biggest concern is not hurting others at the moment. Helping but not hurting.”
Curry went on say that women have continued to confide in her about claims of Lauer’s inappropriate workplace behavior.
“There has been more than one [woman] who’s come to me now,” she said. “I hope they’ve come to me because they know that I’ll be empathetic and compassionate. I’m a right-and-a-wrong girl… And I’m happy to be their friend. This is a deep level of suffering, from what I’ve learned. They’re dealing with trauma that threatens to be lifelong.”
And asked about her previous comments that the Today show had a “climate of verbal sexual harassment,” she told Elle, “Are you asking me if I’ve ever been verbally sexually harassed? Yeah, of course. Who hasn’t? It’s still going on in many places, and it was going on where I worked.”
Curry joined NBC in 1990 and eventually took the co-host spot, vacated by Meredith Vieira, opposite Lauer in June 2011. However, in 2012, there were unrelenting reports in the press that she was going to be pushed out of her new job amid chatter that she lacked “chemistry” with Lauer as well as reports that he didn’t like her.
In June of that year, Curry tearfully announced she would be leaving the show, as Lauer sat by her side. She was replaced by Savannah Guthrie on Today, but stuck around with NBC News as a special correspondent until 2015.
For his part, Lauer said in 2013 that he was “disappointed” by the way the press reported Curry’s departure — and admitted NBC didn’t handle Curry’s “transition” well. (“You don’t have to be Einstein to know that,” he said.)
Of course, more came out after Lauer was fired from NBC in 2017. Curry revealed in 2018 that she reported him to NBC brass for the alleged sexual harassment of another woman in 2012 — the year she was pushed out of Today. She didn’t reveal who the female staffer was but said she came to her and claimed she was “sexually harassed physically” by Lauer, so Curry made the complaint.
Last year, when Brooke Nevils came forward to accuse Lauer of rape at a hotel during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Curry publicly supported her, calling “Nevils is a credible young woman of good character.”
Lauer denied Nevils’s rape claim. He did acknowledge inappropriate sexual behavior with NBC colleagues, but said it was consensual.
In Lauer’s op-ed for Mediaite earlier this year rebutting Ronan Farrow’s book, Catch and Kill, which outlined the allegations against him, he criticized Curry being a source, saying her “personal and professional animosity toward me is well documented.”