Kathie Lee Gifford says she doesn't judge Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.
During an interview with Andy Cohen on his SiriusXM channel, Radio Andy, on Wednesday, the Today co-host opened up about why she felt the need to reach out to the disgraced men after their respective sexual misconduct scandals.
"I, personally, since I got into this business, as a teenage girl, I have been sexually harassed, I have been sexually abused and I have been date raped," Gifford said. "Don't tell me they're all the same, because they are not. They are not the same."
"I don't want to throw everybody on the same manure pile. Being a jerk is not the same as being a rapist. It just isn't," she reasoned.
More than 60 women have come forward accusing Cosby of sexual assault or rape, and over 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and/or sexual abuse. Both Cosby and Weinstein have denied allegations of nonconsensual sex, and after being friends for "a long, long time," Gifford explained that she thinks there's hope for both men.
"I just want people to know I don't judge them. I don't like what they do, but God knows their hearts and there's hope for them," she expressed. "You can't call yourself a friend if the first minute there's trouble, you run. That's called a fair-weather friend, and that's not a friend at all."
"I hope people aren't misunderstanding this. I'm not saying that that kind of behavior is in any way acceptable. It isn't, and it's horrible, and as a woman who has experienced it, it's awful," Gifford continued. "But can we at least look at each individual case and see it for what it is? And be merciful to people who are sorry for what they've done?"
"If we stop having mercy as a part of our vocabulary, Andy, our world will completely die," she added.
Gifford was open about contacting former Today co-anchor Matt Lauer after he was fired for inappropriate sexual behavior in November, admitting on air that she texted him the morning of his termination.
"I texted him this morning and I said, 'I adore you,'" she shared. "No one is perfect in this world. What we need now is forgiveness and mercy for one another."
See more on Lauer's firing in the video below.
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