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Katie Couric says Bryant Gumbel gave her “a lot of s***” for taking maternity leave while working on ‘Today’: “Incredibly sexist”

Katie Couric shed light on her former co-worker Bryant Gumbel‘s attitude toward her ahead of her maternity leave in 1991.

The Today alum — who served as a co-anchor from 1991 through 2006 — reflected on the experience during her appearance on Sunday’s (April 14) episode of Club Random with Bill Maher, per Entertainment Weekly After host Bill Maher noted that he was friends with Gumbel and deemed him “a guy’s guy,” Couric echoed him, noting that Maher “got that right.”

“He was prickly, but, what a talent,” she continued. “He’s such a seamless broadcaster, eloquent. I mean, when that countdown would happen — five, four, three, two, one — he would just hit it perfect.”

She proceeded to call him “a complicated guy,” but still praised him as “a natty dresser,” a “really talented guy,” and “incredibly smart.” However, she ultimately recalled that “he got mad at [her] because [she] was doing something on maternity leave.”

“And he was giving me endless shit for taking like a month or two off,” she shared. “I was having my first baby.”

While Maher conceded that he “could see that,” Couric added, “He was like, ‘Why don’t you just drop it in the field and come back to work right away or something?’”

Maher said that “sounds like he was kidding,” prompting Couric to clarify that “he was kidding.”

“He was goofing on me but giving me a lot of shit,” she added. “But it was emblematic of sort of an incredibly sexist attitude.”

Then Maher highlighted that Matt Lauer — who was booted from the NBC morning show in 2017 due to various allegations of sexual misconduct — was also a part of “that era of NBC morning news,” ultimately adding that “obviously, there was a tradition of an old boys’ network.”

Couric noted that “it was a very different environment” and that there was “lots of fraternization,” which she called “a polite way of saying inner-office schtupping.”

In turn, Maher replied, “And women had to put up with more. They just did. I mean, you know, not to get all fuzzy and Lifetime Channel about it, but people like you and Barbara Walters or just like women comedians of a certain age, you have to really tip your hat to them because it was harder.”

Couric reiterated that “it was,” eventually noting that she “do[es]n’t want to use the word micro-aggressions, but if you think about the true definition of the word, it was replete with micro-aggressions.”

Decider reached out to representatives for Today, but did not hear back by time of publication.

Gumbel and Couric’s Today tenures overlapped from 1991 until the former’s departure in 1997. In 2019, Couric resurrected a clip of Gumbel’s remarks in her newsletter, writing in part at the time that it was “pretty shocking to watch it” 28 years after, per USA Today. Nonetheless, she told the outlet at the time that their relationship is “very friendly” and that “it’ll be interesting to hear his reaction,” while clarifying that they “had a great working relationship.”

“I think some of [his attitude] was sort of in jest and clearly he was giving me a hard time, but just in context of all the conversations these days it was interesting to watch,” she said.

Watch Couric’s Club Random appearance above.

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