Katie Couric is slammed for 'scorched earth' memoir

Katie Couric is slammed for 'scorched earth' memoir

‘She’s ruining her legacy’: Katie Couric is slammed for ‘scorched earth’ memoir in which she trashes everyone from Martha Stewart to her dead husband and is accused of using book ‘as a cry for relevance’

  • Katie Couric is facing criticism from her former colleagues and friends ahead of the release of her memoir Going There
  • In the book, Couric slams several celebrities, issuing scathing commentary about their personalities and professionalism
  • Those who have read the book say Couric’s exposé is shocking, a ‘cry for relevance’ and ultimately ‘ruining her legacy’
  • Some of the women she slams, including former colleagues Deborah Norville and Ashleigh Banfield, say Couric’s words are ‘stunning’ and ‘heartbreaking’ 
  • Couric also scorns those in her personal life including her late husband 

Katie Couric, 64, is facing criticism from former colleagues and friends after she used her new memoir to trash several people from her personal and professional life.

In her book, Going There, which is slated for release this month, the former Today Show host makes nasty comments about her deceased husband, longtime rival Diane Sawyer, TV personality Martha Stewart and many other prominent celebrities. 

Those slammed by Couric’s scathing words say they are ‘hurt’ and ‘stunned’ by her expose with one former colleague even accusing her of ‘ruining her legacy.’

‘Nobody can understand why Katie did this. She’s ruining her legacy,’ an unnamed senior news producer who previously worked with Couric told the New York Post.

‘From the excerpts I’ve seen, she’s taking down women from Martha Stewart to Diane Sawyer and Deborah Norville. She’s … so rough on other women for being ambitious like she was, it’s unforgivable. She gives fresh meaning to that old saying: ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’ 

Couric’s new book, obtained this week by DailyMail.com, has sent shockwaves through the media and show business worlds with its admissions that she deliberately avoided helping younger rivals, and that she ‘heard whispers’ about co-host Matt Lauer, who was fired in November 2017 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Katie Couric, 64, is facing criticism from former colleagues and friends after she used her new memoir to trash several people from her personal and professional life

In her book – set for release on October 26 – the former Today Show host makes nasty comments about her deceased husband, longtime rival Diane Sawyer, Martha Stewart and many other prominent celebrities

For example, Couric penned that Norville, her fellow NBC Today Show host, had ‘relentless perfectionism’ that was off-putting to viewers.

‘I’m really too stunned and, frankly, hurt to comment,’ Norville said of the exposé.

Couric also admits to ‘giving the cold shoulder’ to younger journalist Ashleigh Banfield, arguing that helping her would have been a form of ‘self sabotage.’

‘I’d heard her father was telling anyone who’d listen that she was going to replace me,’ she wrote.

Banfield, in response, told the news outlet that her father had made that comment while he was ‘senile’ and in a nursing home. 

She also shared how she is astonished by what Couric wrote, noting that the television host used to be one of her role models.

‘Her words have really hit me hard,’ said Banfield.

‘She was my North Star. I always looked at her as one of the most brave presenters … at a time when we were all called bimbos. She was the best morning show host ever. I’m just gobsmacked.’ 

Banfield also questioned whether Couric’s attitude towards her played a role in how she was treated at NBC.

‘NBC left me brokenhearted. I was at the top of my game in 2002. But just as quickly as I rose, I was derailed and given no explanation. They took away my office, my desk, my phone, my computer … They never told me why. It was the most painful mystery. When I heard about Katie’s comments I wondered if that was the reason,’ she said.  

Industry insiders echo Banfield’s comments, arguing that Couric’s treatment of Banfield was ‘certainly wasn’t an isolated incident.’

The individual, whose identity remains anonymous, claimed: ‘[Couric] definitely contributed to the toxicity [at NBC]. Katie was part of a culture that wasn’t supportive of women, and she contributed to it.’ 

Couric penned that Deborah Norville (third from left), her fellow NBC Today Show host, had ‘relentless perfectionism’ that was off-putting to viewers (Pictured L-R: Deborah Roberts, Karl Wellner, Norville, John Molner, Couric, and Al Roker at the 2018 Chaplin Award Gala in NYC)

Couric also admitted to ‘giving the cold shoulder’ to younger journalist Ashleigh Banfield (pictured in 2021 responding to Couric’s book). Couric allegedly believed that helping Banfield would have been a form of ‘self sabotage’

A CBS source, also speaking to the Post on the basis of anonymity, said that when Couric hosted CBS Evening News, she often made the work environment worse.

‘She didn’t hide that things were all about ‘her’ versus a whole team. And of course other anchors feel the same way, but they hide it better. She didn’t always have a great filter for what she really thought,’ the source said.

‘She devastated a correspondent in front of staffers by telling her that her makeup made her look like Raggedy Ann.’  

‘Katie is a lot of fun — funny, charismatic, cool … But she can also be a pretty frightening person. When you think of a mean girl, it’s her. She was not a girl’s girl, by any means. It seems she’s revealing that side of herself in the book, whether she intended to or not,’ shared another industry member.

Couric shares her competitive side with readers, claiming that she got under the skin of Diane Sawyer so much when they were competing for big interviews that Sawyer said: ‘That woman must be stopped’.

Couric and Sawyer joined TODAY and GMA respectively in 1999, setting up a rivalry between two women who would go on to become TV legends. 

Sawyer, who was co-host of Good Morning America, was supposedly taking a break while on set and watching Couric on TODAY when she fired off the missive.

Couric also that she got under the skin of Diane Sawyer (pictured with Couric in 2011) so much when they were competing for big interviews that Sawyer said: ‘That woman must be stopped’

In her memoir, Couric, writes that she ‘loved that she was getting under Diane’s skin’ during the ‘Booking Wars’ of the late 1990s between GMA and TODAY.

But Sawyer, 75, was formidable and after losing out on one exclusive Couric quipped: ‘I wonder who she had to blow to get that’, a comment that was leaked to the tabloids.

Couric also said that she couldn’t ‘get over how cool’ Sawyer was when she watched the decade-older newswoman when Couric was growing up.   

The rivalry pitted two women of different styles against each other, Couric writes. 

Couric’s former colleagues argue that she is using her memoir as an opportunity to get back at those she feels have wronged her.

 ‘I think she genuinely wants to settle scores, but she didn’t realize how bad this would be and how badly she would come across,’ one coworker said.

‘If Couric was expecting the book to be met with rah-rah enthusiasm, she’s now had a rude awakening,’ echoed another.

One of her former producers argued that Couric wasn’t actually trying to pen an exposé, but instead was looking for a way to remain in today’s headlines.

‘You would never see Meredith (Vieira) do anything like this. [Couric] just wants to be relevant. She doesn’t have a platform, so this [book] is a cry for relevance,’ the producer stated. 

The book not only slams her fellow TV stars, but also scorns those in her personal life.

The book not only slams her fellow TV stars, including Martha Stewart (pictured with Couric in 201) but also scorns those in her personal life

Couric was pictured on Friday walking along the beach in the Hamptons, close to her East Hampton home. It was the first time she had been seen in public since her explosive memoir – out on October 26 – was leaked

In one excerpt, Couric tells readers how she hired a nanny when her now 30-year-old daughter Ellie was a newborn, who became ‘delusional’ and tried to sabotage her marriage, accusing her late husband of being a pedophile.

The nanny, named Doris, became increasingly attached to Couric, who lived in New York during the week while her husband Jay Monahan – who died of colon cancer in 1998, aged 42 – lived in Virginia.

The family would reunite at weekends. 

‘I spent more time with Doris than anyone else in my life and I was completely unguarded around her,’ Couric writes, in an excerpt obtained by The New York Post. 

‘Doris and I really were a couple, in a weird kind of way.’ 

She said that Doris asked for a hug before bed, which Couric found ‘creepy’, but kept her around because she relied on her.

‘An alarming level of codependency had been achieved,’ Couric writes. 

Doris used to turn visitors away from the house, Couric says, and when Monahan said he might relocate to New York to be with the family full time, Doris threatened to quit. 

Couric writes that she realized that Doris was ‘delusional’ and trying to ‘destroy my marriage.’

Doris was fired, and then embarrassing stories were published in the tabloids, for which Couric suspected Doris to be the source.

Doris even printed flyers accusing Monahan of being a pedophile, with a photo from a family holiday showing him lying on a bed reading a story to their daughter.  

Couric and Monahan hired a former police officer to keep watch on Ellie’s preschool and toyed with the idea of obtaining a restraining order, but Doris eventually faded from their lives. 

The television personality also talks about Monahan and how he was passionate about Civil War reenactments up until his death, saying she had an ‘amused tolerance’ towards his ‘passion for the Confederacy’ and viewed it as a ‘benign hobby.’

Adding that she was embarrassed by a speech he gave to the United Daughters of the Confederacy when the organization was denied a patent renewal for their Confederate-flag logo.

‘I can’t believe that Katie is so remarkably candid to the point of cringeworthy about her dead husband Jay,’ said a friend who knew the couple said.

Couric is pictured with Monahan, who died in 1998, aged 42. The pair have two daughters

Others in her inner circle —who have expressed displeasure with her second husband, John Molner — are questioning how Couric could justify this depiction of her partners. 

‘People who have read the book are really questioning how she could be so overly deferential to her sycophantic husband John Molner,’ the friend said. 

‘I’m disappointed, but not surprised by this book. Molner has consistently misunderstood what matters most to Katie, which is building a business that also allows her to get back on TV. I’m going to say that he does enjoy the glory of being Mr. Katie Couric and he has managed to alienate so many people she dealt with,’ added another friend.

As DailyMail.com previously reported, Couric’s memoir also addresses the situation involving her former colleague Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC in November 2017 over allegations of sexual misconduct.   

In the book, Couric also admits she ‘heard the whispers’ about Lauer’s alleged sex pest behavior with female colleagues and details her experiences in the office with him.

The women who were left ‘damaged’ by Lauer’s actions spoke with Couric as she was writing her book, she revealed, although the former anchor didn’t name them.

‘I suspect they’ll be dealing with this for the rest of their lives,’ Couric writes, according to The New York Post.  

In one story involving Lauer, it is said that he would deal with women behind closed doors in his office, which was equipped with a desk button to lock the door.

Former Today Show host Katie Couric admits that she ‘heard the whispers’ abut Matt Lauer’s inappropriate office behavior in her new book

Couric writes that one unnamed producer was told by Lauer to come to the now-infamous office wearing a ‘skirt that came off easily’. 

She also claims that Lauer complained to her that he felt uncomfortable putting his arm around a female colleague to comfort her when she cried, over fears he could subsequently face an allegation of inappropriate behavior. 

Even before these allegations were made, Couric said her former co-anchor Lauer told her he thought that feminist movements such as #MeToo were becoming too powerful. 

‘This MeToo stuff feels like it’s getting kind of out of control,’ Lauer reportedly told Couric. ‘It feels like a witch hunt.’ 

She added that Lauer was ‘worried about a lack of due process, people’s livelihoods and reputations being destroyed.’  

Couric told Lauer to stop putting his arm around the women as it was making them uncomfortable, she writes.

She said that she tried to ‘imagine such a scene taking place’ and told Lauer that ‘he cannot do that – you cannot put your arm around them,’ The Post reported.

Couric also writes in the book, out Oct. 26, that she also heard ‘rumors’ that her co-star’s wife Annette Lauer had called the control room one morning looking for her husband and demanding the phone number of a TV anchor he had been linked with.

They divorced after news of Lauer’s misconduct exploded.  

She also spoke of a secret office known as ‘bunker’ where an unnamed anchor went for trysts at NBC HQ, saying it was all part of a culture where sex and affairs were rife in the workplace.

Couric alleged that only an unnamed ‘male anchor’ had the key to open the office to use it for ‘one-on-one encounters, and I don’t mean interviews,’ she is said to have written.

Couric had served as a co-anchor for The Today Show between 1991 and 2006 and worked closely with Lauer for nine years.

She has been working on her memoir for the last two years and reportedly contacted people from her past, asking them to recount memories and moments from her career.  

However, now is is allegedly outreaching to these individuals and attempting to clear the air ahead of the novel’s release. 

‘She has been calling friends telling them she’s a good person and telling them that her publisher told her to add all the gossip in order to sell more books,’ the former TV colleague said. 

‘But she has more money than any of us could ever need. This isn’t about selling books.’

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