Ronan Farrow’s bombshell book “Catch and Kill” sheds new light on former TODAY Show anchor Ann Curry's knowledge of co-host Matt Lauer's sexual misconduct, as the network faces newfound criticism over her departure from the network.
An ex-NBC staffer had confided in Curry in 2010 after Lauer had exposed himself to the woman, according to Farrow. She was let go from her TODAY Show post roughly two years later.
Melissa Lonner, a former entertainment booker-turned-producer for the network, revealed to Curry in 2010 that Lauer had exposed himself to her in an office after a work event at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Center headquarters, Farrow reported in his book, which was released Tuesday.
When she brushed him off with a laugh, Lauer allegedly said he “knew that she wanted it,” Farrow wrote, according to Page Six. At the time, Lauer allegedly commented about how he “figured she liked it dirty,” before growing angry and calling Lonner “a f------ tease” who “led me on,” Farrow reported.
When Lonner later approached Curry about the encounter, it "was as close as you could get to a woman just melting in front of you in pain,” Farrow said Curry told him.
“She told me that complaints about Lauer verbally harassing women in the office were well known in her day — and that once, in 2010, a colleague had pulled her into an empty office and broken down, saying Lauer had exposed himself and propositioned her,” Farrow wrote about his conversation with Lauer’s former co-host.
Curry left the Today Show in 2012 with a tearful on-air goodbye in which she thanked viewers and apologized. She continued working for the network until 2015, Page Six reported at the time.
“For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball to the finish line,” she said during the emotional January 2012 goodbye. “But man, I did try.”
NBC claimed at the time that Curry was let go because ratings were down, according to a Fox News report.
But in 2018, Curry revealed on "CBS This Morning" that "verbal sexual harassment was pervasive" at the network.
"I can tell you that I am not surprised by the allegations,” Curry said during the segment, referring to accusations made against Lauer. She later added: "I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed."
When the identity of another Lauer accuser, Brooke Nevils, was released earlier this month, Curry tweeted her support for the former NBC staffer, and noted: “I believe she is telling the truth.”
A representative for Curry did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
“Ann and Matt never made up after her firing," a network insider told Page Six at the time. "He believes the way she handled it made him look terrible, while she believes Matt played a major role in her downfall.”
Meanwhile, NBC President Noah Oppenheim once again vehemently denied claims made in Farrow's book and provided the network's comments on Lonner's claims and Curry's involvement, according to a staff-wide memo released by Oppenheim Monday and obtained by FOX Business.
Fox Business has included the portion of the memo related to Curry. The description was provided as one of three items in a list of examples "that Farrow alleges are Lauer-related before 2017." See below:
"A woman who is named in the book. Farrow says she disclosed her allegation to Ann Curry in 2010, and asked her not to share it. Curry says she then told two executives — both of whom are no longer with the company — that Lauer 'had a problem with women.' By her own account, Curry relayed no specific complaint, nor did she say Lauer’s 'problem' regarded any specific workplace misconduct. NBCU was able to speak with one of those former executives during the 2018 review and she denied having been told even this. At the time of the employee’s exit, three years later, she still had made no complaint about Lauer, was paid 22 weeks of severance based on her years of service, and was asked to sign a separation agreement that was standard for departing employees at the time. The standard separation agreement included a routine confidentiality clause that was designed to protect proprietary company information. It was not drafted to prevent an employee from reporting misconduct, and it has never been used that way. (This employee made a complaint to management about Lauer, for the first time, after his 2017 firing.)"
A representative for NBC did not respond to a question pertaining to the circumstances of Curry's firing.