“Oh, don’t worry,” former Today co-anchor Ann Curry joked Wednesday morning on CBS This Morning. “I’m not going to start crying.”
Curry’s tearful 2012 exit from the NBC morning show has become an infamous moment in broadcast history—and when she was pushed out of her post after a brief, rocky tenure, disgraced Today anchor Matt Lauer received the lion’s share of the blame from viewers for Curry’s departure. As Curry sat down with Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, and John Dickerson on Wednesday, she noted that she hopes “to do no harm in these conversations”—but added that she was “not surprised” to hear the graphic allegations against Lauer, which led to his own dismissal from Today in November.
Curry’s appearance played double duty: in addition to discussing Lauer, Curry was there to promote her upcoming PBS show, We’ll Meet Again, a six-part series that reunites people whose lives intersected at pivotal moments in history.
When King asked Curry what she meant by saying she was not surprised by the Lauer allegations, Curry chose her words carefully, speaking slowly. “See, now I’m walking down that road. I’m trying not to hurt people, and I know what it’s like to be publicly humiliated. I never did anything wrong to be publicly humiliated, and I don’t want to cause that kind of pain to somebody else. But I can say that—because you’re asking me a very direct question, I can say that I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed. I think it’d be surprising if someone said that they didn’t see that,” she said.
When asked what led to her dismissal from Today, Curry suggested the hosts ask someone else for more information, because she still doesn’t know all of the factors behind it. “I do know that it hurt like hell,” Curry said. “It wasn’t a fun moment. I’ve learned a great deal about myself. I’ve really at this point let it go.”
Curry also thinks that the current Today setup, a historic one that has paired two women as co-anchors, is long overdue—especially since the bulk of the morning show’s audience is female. “The idea that women are involved speaking to women is an overdue idea,” Curry said. “So absolutely, I think it’s a good idea.”
She does have one concern about the wave of sexual misconduct allegations that has rocked several institutions across the country, however: what will be done with all the anger that’s been building up. “It’s not just, obviously, about where I used to work,” Curry said. “It’s not about where you’re now working,” she added to O’Donnell and King—who had to grapple with similar allegations against their former CBS This Morning co-anchor, Charlie Rose.
Instead, Curry said, the problem of sexual harassment is “pervasive across industries in workplaces across America.” The question, ultimately, is what we’ll do about it, Curry continued, wondering whether focusing on individual scandals will ever actually give way to “creating something better in the future.”
“I don’t know a single woman who has not endured some form of sexual harassment, and many women have endured workplace sexual harassment,” Curry said. “It’s happened to me in multiple jobs, and is a way of sidelining women. It’s ultimately not only bad for the women—it’s bad for the companies and it’s bad for our nation, because it’s a limiting of people.”
The people we should really be talking to, Curry said, are the victims. “What are we going to do to remove the stigma and the shame?” Curry said. “What are we going to do to make sure these women work and are not sidelined and prevented from contributing to the greater good that we’re all trying to do?”
Perhaps Dylan Farrow will have thoughts about that during her own just-announced appearance on CBS This Morning Thursday.
Get Vanity Fair’s HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com. She was formerly an editorial assistant at Slate and lives in Brooklyn.