Katie Couric talks about sexual assault allegations against Matt Lauer

Katie Couric
Host Katie Couric speaks at a panel for "Katie" during the Disney/ABC Television Group portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 26, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

More than a month after Matt Lauer was fired from the “Today” show due to sexual harassment allegations, renowned television journalist Katie Couric has finally spoken up about the controversy facing her former co-host, saying “this was not the Matt we knew.”

Couric hosted the show with Lauer for 15 years before she left NBC in 2006. In a recent interview, Couric said that the whole thing has been very painful for her.

“The accounts I’ve read and heard have been disturbing, distressing and disorienting and it’s completely unacceptable that any woman at the ‘Today’ show experienced this kind of treatment,” she said.

The 61-year-old journalist said she had no idea that it was going on during her tenure, or after she left. She described Lauer as a kind and generous colleague.

“I think I speak for many of my former colleagues when I say this was not the Matt we knew,” she said. “Matt was a kind and generous colleague who treated me with respect.”

While she still finds the whole affair very upsetting, Couric praised how Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and rest of the “Today” show staff have handled the difficult situation.

This is the first time that the veteran journalist and television personality has broken her silence about the scandal.

Lauer, who has hosted the “Today” show for over 20 years, was fired from the show in November after NBC received a detailed complaint from a colleague about the host’s inappropriate sexual behavior. The network also said that it has reason to believe that it may not be an isolated incident.

Following his firing, Lauer released a statement where he apologized for his actions, expressing sorrow and regret for the pain he caused other people.

“To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry,” he said. “As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”