Katie Couric Explains the Matt Lauer 'A** Pinching' Comment She Made in 2012 (Exclusive)


Katie Couric has more to say about Matt Lauer's firing. 

The famed journalist sat down with ET's Leanne Aguilera at Nat Geo's Television Critics Association press day on Saturday, where she addressed addressed an old interview on Watch What Happens Live that went viral after the allegations against Lauer surfaced.

"What is Matt's most annoying habit?" Andy Cohen asked her in 2012. Her response: "He pinches me on the a** a lot."

"I think that's very illustrative of the current media landscape, that something can be plucked, and then taken out of context," Couric explained to ET on Saturday. "It's a silly joke on a late night show that was just that, a silly joke, and people, I think, read into everything these days, and I think it just goes with the territory. But it was nice for me to be able to say that that was a joke."

In fact, Couric wanted to address the now-infamous comment earlier, but didn't feel it was right at the time.

"I wanted to say that earlier, but then I thought it would open up a can of worms, and I really needed time to process all of this, like I think a lot of people do when a situation like this happens," she shared. 

Couric also opened up about her reaction to Lauer being fired from the Today show in late November for sexual misconduct.

"It's been really crushing," Couric said about Lauer, with whom she co-hosted the Today show from 1997 to 2006. "I think there's been a lot of cognitive dissonance for me and a lot of people on the show, and clearly the behavior was unacceptable and shocking for so many of us, and yet we also all knew a side of Matt and many positive attributes."

"So to try to kind of make sense of it has been really, almost impossible and very challenging," she added.  

As for whether she is still in contact with Lauer, she wouldn't say. "That's kind of a personal matter. I think not everything has to be for public consumption these days," she told ET.

But Couric is still in touch with Hoda Kotb, who recently took over Lauer's co-anchor seat.

"Yes, we communicate," she said. "And listen, it's been a very trying situation in all corners of the world, and all kinds of industries, and you know, people have to move forward. I think Savannah [Guthrie] and Hoda, and the whole Today show staff took a really, very upsetting and incredibly troubling situation and were able to handle with a lot of dignity and grace, and I really applaud them all."

America Inside Out with Katie Couric premieres Wednesday, April 11, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo. 

See more on Lauer in the video below. 


'Today' Show Staff Not Upset Over Loss of Matt Lauer, Source Says (Exclusive)

Willie Geist Raves About Hoda Kotb's 'Today' Promotion, Says He's Been In Touch With Matt Lauer (Exclusive)

Katie Couric Speaks Out on Matt Lauer's 'Painful' Firing