Couric shares that she had dinner with Lauer in early November 2017, a few weeks before he was fired from Today. She recalls him telling her that “this MeToo stuff feels like it’s getting kind of out of control. It feels like a witch hunt.” After the dinner, she texted him, “Omg what the hell did you put in my drink? Phenobarbital???? Thank you for being such a good friend. I treasure you.” To which he replied, “The length of our friendship and the comfort that comes with that is more powerful than any drug in a drink!”
NBC fired Lauer after receiving, per a company memo, a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” At the time, he issued a statement apologizing for any behavior that may have hurt people and saying that “some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.” In her first interview addressing the scandal, Couric told People that she found the accusations “disturbing, distressing and disorienting.” She said, “I had no idea this was going on during my tenure or after I left. I think I speak for many of my former colleagues when I say this was not the Matt we knew.”
Referring to the weeks following Lauer’s firing, Couric writes in Going There, “I took [journalists’] calls and told them the truth—that it had been widely assumed Matt had a lot of problems in his marriage. I knew he was a player, but I didn’t know his extracurriculars were happening inside 30 Rock.”
However, she alleges, on one occasion Lauer accidentally sent the wrong producer a text, asking her “to wear that skirt that came off so easily or something to that effect.” She also writes of hearing a rumor about “a secret office called The Bunker” where an unidentified male anchor went to have sexual encounters.
Ultimately, Couric recalls, “The general attitude at the time was it’s none of your business. A don’t-ask-don’t-tell culture where anything goes, and everything did. Assuming Matt was having a consensual fling, I didn’t even consider talking to the young employee about it and embarrassing her.”
Couric admits being very worried about how her former co-anchor was doing and she texted him words of support: “Matt, I am crushed. I love you and care about you deeply. I am here. Please let me know if you want to talk. There will be better days ahead.”
Nowadays, though, they no longer speak and she doubts they will again. She writes, “I know Matt thinks I betrayed him, and that makes me sad. But he betrayed me, too, by how he behaved behind closed doors at the show we both cared about so much.”
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