Katie Couric finally admitted she “heard the whispers” about longtime co-anchor Matt Lauer’s lecherous behavior behind the scenes at the “Today” show — and she claims the women he “damaged” reached out to her.
In her new blockbuster memoir, “Going There” — which was obtained by The Post — Couric said there were plenty of tales that kept folks by the water cooler chatting.
One story involving Lauer — who was fired in November 2017 following complaints of alleged sexual misconduct — actually dealt with women behind closed doors in his now-notorious office, which was equipped with a desk button to lock the door.
Couric wrote in the book that Lauer allegedly said that sometimes women came into his office “crying,” and he worried that if they sat next to him on the sofa, he “can’t even put [his] arm around them.”
The former anchor said she tried to “imagine such a scene taking place” and advised Lauer that “he cannot do that — you cannot put your arm around them.”
Meanwhile, Couric goes on to claim one woman confided in her after she received an inappropriate email from Lauer following a segment with biographer Kitty Kelley for her tell-all book on the Bush family in September 2004. A female producer who retold the story to Couric said she reached out to Lauer to congratulate him on the combative interview.
The unnamed producer said that Lauer asked if she was “trying to butter him up” in an email. When she said that was not the case, as Couric wrote, Lauer reportedly responded offering to “show her” how to butter him up and suggested she “spread it on her thighs.” Couric also wrote that the producer told her that he proceeded to invite her into his office, requesting she wears a “skirt that came off easily.”
Couric also recalled the producer telling her that a “flustered” Lauer visited her office after sending the email with a book option for the show, but didn’t address his blunder.
“They never spoke about the incident,” Couric alleged.
Reps for Lauer did not immediately respond to The Post’s requests for comment.
This was all part of a culture where sex and affairs were rife in the workplace, Couric said, nothing that she later learned about “a secret office they called ‘the Bunker.’” Couric alleged that only an unnamed “male anchor” had the key to use it for “one-on-one encounters, and I don’t mean interviews,” she wrote.
But it seems Lauer himself also knew what the future lay ahead, she recalled in the memoir.
“’This MeToo stuff feels like it’s getting kind of out of control,’” Lauer reportedly told her, according to the book. “’It feels like a witch hunt.’”
She added that she thought Lauer was “worried about a lack of due process, people’s livelihoods and reputations being destroyed.”
Couric, who quit the NBC flagship “Today” show in 2006 to helm her ill-fated CBS “Evening News” show, also told how she heard office “scuttlebutt” that Lauer had had a fling at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
In 2018, Brooke Nevils, a former NBC producer in Sochi, accused Lauer of raping her in his Sochi hotel room, prompting his exit from “Today.”
Lauer said in a lengthy statement that it was “consensual,” noting that they “engaged in a variety of sexual acts. “We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual,” Lauer wrote.
Although Couric initially thought it was “gross” that Lauer was cheating on his now ex-wife Annette, and taking advantage of a young staffer, she added: “The general rule at the time was, ‘It’s none of your business. A don’t-ask-don’t-tell culture where anything goes, and everything did.”
Couric wrote in her book that she assumed it was a “consensual fling” and didn’t “consider talking to the young employee” for fear of “embarrassing” her.
Couric also wrote in the book, out Oct. 26, that she also heard “rumors” that Annette Lauer had called the control room one morning looking for her husband and demanding the phone number of a TV anchor he had been linked with.
But when Lauer was fired, Couric did reach out to him, calling him a “decent man” whom she felt “heartless to abandon.”
When reached by The Post for comment, a spokesperson for Little, Brown and Company said: “We’re excited for people to read Katie’s book, which is heartfelt, hilarious and very honest. Readers will get the complete story from Katie herself about her incredible life and career.”
After initially texting with him after his NBC exit, she couldn’t bring herself to keep the friendship up, noting she’s “sad” he thinks she “betrayed him.”
“But he betrayed me, too, by how he behaved behind closed doors at the show we both cared about so much,” she said.
She also claimed in her book that she “connected” with “women Matt damaged” and was able to “hear the shame and humiliation in their voices.”
“I suspect they’ll be dealing with this for the rest of their lives,” she wrote.
Published on: Article source