Katie Couric is not convinced that all of the stories about her former colleague Matt Lauer are completely true. In a telling sit-down with talk show host Wendy Williams, Couric, who co-hosted the Today show with Lauer for 15 years, said there has been a lot of misinformation reported about the disgraced NBC newsman’s alleged sexual misconduct.
Matt Lauer was fired by NBC last fall after the network investigated an internal complaint about “inappropriate sexual behavior” by Lauer while he worked in the high-profile position at NBC News. The initial complaint was followed by additional allegations from multiple women accusing Lauer of sexual harassment.
Katie Couric told Wendy Williams the past six months have been “a very painful time” for a lot of people who worked with Matt Lauer, including colleagues who “knew him, really care about him, and who never witnessed or experienced any of this behavior that is now obviously being talked about.”
Couric admitted she doesn’t know the full extent of what really happened between Lauer and his accusers, but she stood by the stance she has had from the beginning of the scandal.
“I can only talk about my personal experience, and I was always treated respectfully and appropriately.”
While Couric said she doesn’t think all of the details have been “truly revealed” and that “a lot of stuff gets misreported and blown out of proportion,” she did have some insight on the story that Lauer had a “secret button” under his desk in which he could lock his office door remotely.
Katie Couric said news reports made Lauer’s office sound like “a den of iniquity,” but she explained that in reality, the button was a common executive perk meant for privacy. Katie explained the controversial button Lauer reportedly had under his desk.
“I don’t know what was happening, but a lot of NBC executives had those buttons that opened and closed doors. It was really just a privacy thing. I think it was just an executive perk that some people opted to have, but I don’t think it was a nefarious thing, and I think that’s been misconstrued.”
In December, a source for NBC confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter that the desk buttons were common and were used to open and close doors, but not lock them.
Katie Couric has also gone on record to apologize for her past comment about Matt Lauer pinching her behind. Couric made the comment during a 2012 appearance on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, telling host Andy Cohen that Lauer’s most annoying habit was that “he pinches me on the a** a lot.”
In the aftermath of the allegations against Lauer, the clip has since gone viral but according to Entertainment Weekly, Katie now says her comment about his annoying habit was a joke.
“I was joking! It was a total joke,” Couric said. “t was so antithetical to the nature of our relationship… I thought it would be funny because it was so weird. I was really sorry I had made that joke because people misconstrued it.”
You can see Katie Couric’s full interview with Wendy Williams below.