Katie Couric is speaking out about her former “Today” colleague Matt Lauer.
The 62-year-old opened up about the disgraced anchor and the #MeToo movement during the annual Women Who Inspire breakfast put on by the not-for-profit group Dress For Success Wednesday, according to Variety.
Couric hosted the “Today” show with Lauer for 15 years until she left in 2006. In 2017, “Today” host Savannah Guthrie announced on-air Lauer had been fired over sexual harassment allegations.
In October, journalist Ronan Farrow released his book “Catch and Kill,” which detailed more sexual misconduct allegations at NBC, including a producer who claimed Lauer raped her. (Lauer denied the allegation.)
“It’s been painful for me on many levels, especially when it comes to understanding what was going on with Matt, who I think ultimately turned out to be two very different people, in terms of my relationship with him versus some of the other things that were going on,” Couric said at the New York City event.
According to Couric, she entered the journalism industry “when there were still men who wanted to get the broads out of broadcasting” and “when ‘harass’ was two words instead of one.”
“It was really the first time women were really integrating this industry in full force,” said Couric, who started her career in 1979. “It was this culture where fraternization existed and was going on unabated, where people were having relationships with other people within the business, and I’m sure there were policies against that, but they were never really enforced… Now, I hope these big broadcast organizations are also having a reckoning and realizing there are certain standards, certain behaviors.”
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Couric suggested “there should be a zero tolerance policy of anyone of fraternization in a business.”
“I think that’s hard for us to wrap our heads around in some ways, especially with these demanding jobs where you spend so much time at work, but I just think you have to have a binding policy,” she added.
Couric added she thinks a way to make lasting change is to have more women in leadership.
“We need many more women in leadership positions in journalism and broadcast news,” she said. “Things don’t really change unless you have a woman with real authority and decision-making opportunities.”
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Though self-advocacy can be difficult, Couric said women should strive to stand up for themselves.
“I was in a position where I had a lot of leverage,” she said. “And I think it’s much scarier if you don’t, and you’re not in this position where they really want you or they see that you’re going to be bringing a lot of money to a big entity like the ‘Today’ show, so I do think that it’s challenging, but I still think that women need to stand up for themselves in any way they can.”
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ex-‘Today’ host Katie Couric: Matt Lauer scandal was ‘painful’
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