Katie Couric has more to say about Matt Lauer’s firing.
ET’s Leanne Aguilera sat down with the journalist at Nat Geo’s Television Critics Association press day on Satuday, where she revealed why she took so long to speak out on Lauer, with whom she co-hosted the Today show from 1997 to 2006.
“It’s been really crushing,” Couric said of the allegations against Lauer. “I think there’s been a lot of cognitive dissonance for me and a lot of people on the show, and clearly the behavior was unacceptable and shocking for so many of us, and yet we also all knew a side of Matt and many positive attributes.”
“So to try to kind of make sense of it has been really, almost impossible and very challenging,” she added.
Couric spoke out about Lauer, who was fired from the Today show in late November for sexual misconduct, for the first time on Saturday in an interview with People, explaining that the scandal surrounding her former co-host has been “painful.”
While speaking with ET on Saturday, she also addressed her 2012 interview on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, when she quipped that the most annoying thing about Lauer was that he “pinches me on the a** a lot.”
“I mean, I think that’s very illustrative of the current media landscape, that something can be plucked, and then taken out of context. Like, it’s a silly joke on a late night show that was just that, a silly joke, and people, I think, read into everything these days, and I think it just goes with the territory,” she shared. “But it was nice for me to be able to say that that was a joke.”
“I wanted to say that earlier, but then I thought it would open up a can of worms, and I really needed time to process all of this, like I think a lot of people do when a situation like this happens,” she explained.
Couric, who would not reveal if she’s in contact with Lauer — “That’s kind of a personal matter. I think not everything has to be for public consumption these days,” she told ET — also praised current Today co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb for how they’ve handled Lauer’s scandal on-air.
“I mean, we communicate, and listen, it’s been a very trying situation in all corners of the world, and all kinds of industries, and you know, people have to move forward,” she said. “I think Savannah and Hoda, and the whole Today show staff took a really, very upsetting and incredibly troubling situation and were able to handle with a lot of dignity and grace, and I really applaud them all.”
America Inside Out with Katie Couric premieres Wednesday, April 11, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo.
See more on Lauer in the video below.