Yikes. Katie Couric gave all of us an unpleasant trip down memory lane by reminding us of her obnoxious (and misogynist) former Today co-host, Bryant Gumbel, and his comments on Couric’s maternity leave in 1991.
Couric posted a clip to her subscribers-only newsletter of a thoroughly cringe-worthy segment of the show — in which Gumbel grilled the then-very-pregnant Couric on the validity of her imminent maternity leave. She had a good reason for sharing the footage: Couric posted the “uncomfortable exchange” in hopes of changing the dialogue about working parents’ needs even today.
Of the clip, Couric wrote, “I was about to go on maternity leave, and let’s just say, Bryant Gumbel didn’t quite get it. It’s pretty shocking to watch it now, 28 years later!”
“Why so long?” demanded an obviously dismissive Bryant in response to Couric saying she’d be taking nine weeks off. (She wound up only taking four weeks off. Ahem.)
Really, you’ve got to see it for yourself. Our jaws dropped.
At the time, Couric was due to give birth to her firstborn, Elinor Monahan.
“I’m going to relax for three weeks, as much as you can relax when you’re carrying around 30 extra pounds,” Couric told Gumbel in the painful segment. “Then, hopefully I’ll have the baby and everything. It’s a major shock to your body, I hope you realize, when you have a baby. And it takes a while to get back to normal and get on a schedule.”
Gumbel’s response? “Your ancestors didn’t worry about that shock to your body. They came right back and worked.”
“And they died when they were, like, 32 years old,” Couric retorted.
“You’re 34; what are you worried about?” he fired back. Wow. Not the most “woke” behavior, Gumbel.
Ugh. We can’t say we’re shocked that Gumbel reportedly still supports former Today host Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC after sexual harassment allegations. Couric weighed in on the Lauer firing in an early 2018 interview with Entertainment Tonight, saying, “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… almost impossible and very challenging.”
Couric herself has managed to stay fairly scandal-free for most of her career, except for the time she was on thin ice with the Netherlands for a historical gaffe. And speaking of maternity leave? Couric scored an invite to Meghan Markle’s NYC baby shower, at least according to this tweet — so take that, Gumbel.
So happy you got to NYC safely! I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it to the baby shower but let’s meet tomorrow for lunch at @fredsatbarneys! The fries are phenomenal and the baby will love them! 🤗
Katie ♥️#royalbabyshower #MeghanMarkle pic.twitter.com/W5KXVotnv3
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) February 19, 2019