CNN’s President Jeff Zucker weighs in after “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer was fired amid sexual misconduct allegations. Following is a transcript of the video.
Jeff Zucker: Obviously it’s incredibly, incredibly disturbing, what we’ve learned in the last 24 hours from the reporting from The New York Times and Variety. And incredibly, incredibly sad. First of all, you know you have to feel for the women who endure this and lived with it and have come forward. And you know, obviously I’ve known Matt for 25 years and I didn’t know this Matt.
Mike Shields: You didn’t see this coming?
Zucker: No, look I mean, what’s chronicled incredibly well and in Variety and the New York Times is deviant and predatory behavior. And you know, obviously, that is not something that I was ever aware of or had even heard of or had ever been suggested or anything like that. And it’s just incredibly, incredibly heartbreaking.
Shields: When you were there at the “Today” show was it, it’s been depicted as a real boys club. A ruckus kind of place, is that a fair characterization?
Zucker: Yeah, so I had been gone from the “Today” show for 17 years. I was at the “Today” show, I was the executive producer at the “Today” show from 1992 to 2000 and that’s not the way that I would have characterized the show at all at the time. And you know, obviously, in that time that I was there, I was at NBC for 25 years. For five years in my career, you know, no one ever brought to me or to my knowledge, there was never a complaint about Matt, there was never a suggestion of that kind of deviant, predatory behavior, not even a whisper of it. Nothing like that. So you know I can’t say that that’s the culture that we lived in.
Shields: What about at CNN right now? I imagine every company in the country is reconciling with this or trying to figure out, “Do we have a problem? What’s going on?” I know that at Jake Tapper’s show there was an announcement yesterday, what’s been going on at CNN in the midst of all this?
Zucker: Yeah look I don’t think it’s just the media world either, right? Obviously. But clearly, the media world is not immune. We had a producer on one of our programs in Washington, “State of the Union,” where there were, there was a behavior that was completely inconsistent with our standards and culture. And we dismissed him last week. And you know look, like the way that NBC was when I was there, the way CNN is today if we are aware of any of that. If any of that is brought to our attention will investigate immediately, and that’s what we did last week. And I think that you know, I’m sure that’s what’s going on everywhere.
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