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Ann Curry on Her Reaction to the Matt Lauer Scandal: I Was 'Outraged'

Kate Coyne

Ann Curry is opening up about the pain of leaving the Today show, how she bounced back, and her emotional new TV series. Subscribe now for the EXCLUSIVE interview — only in PEOPLE!

When news broke in November that Matt Lauer had been fired by NBC for alleged sexual misconduct, the phrase “Somewhere Ann Curry,” began trending on Twitter.

“Somewhere Ann Curry is breaking out that champagne,” wrote one user. Another offered that somewhere, Ann Curry was “mouthing these three simple words: Karma’s a b—.” Chimed in another: “Somewhere Ann Curry just made her orange juice a mimosa.”

But in truth, Curry, sitting down exclusively with PEOPLE for this week’s issue (on stands Friday), is not one to gloat.

“I’m not a vengeful person,” she says of Lauer’s downfall. “I know what it’s like to be humiliated. I just don’t want to play a part in anyone else’s humiliation.”

Ann Curry

After barely a year co-hosting Today with Lauer, Curry, 61, left the NBC morning show in 2012 — a painful ordeal that came complete with gossip-column speculation that her firing had been due in part to a lack of “chemistry” with Lauer, 60, and amid reports that he had played a part in forcing her out. (NBC sources insist falling ratings were to blame.)

Ann Curry and Matt Lauer

Reflecting on Lauer’s firing, what it means for her, other women in the media and beyond, Curry says she feels “outrage” that such alleged misconduct was tolerated and “tremendous empathy for the victims.”

As far her own experience in that workplace, she hesitates when asked if she felt even a touch of vindication at how things played out for the man once depicted as her nemesis.

“I wish I could say that I was celebrating,” she says. “But actually I immediately checked myself. Because I knew women had suffered.”

  • For much more on Ann Curry, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

The mother of two, who returns to TV on Jan. 23 with the new six-part PBS docuseries We’ll Meet Again, stands with all women who have spoken out about gender discrimination and sexual misconduct as part of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. When asked if sexism played a part in her dismissal from Today, she nods vigorously in agreement.

“The women’s movement got us into the workplace, but it didn’t make us safe once we got there,” she says. “The battle lines are now clear.”

Ann Curry on the cover of PEOPLE

Now, Curry is embarking on her next journey. We’ll Meet Again, the first series developed by her own production company, focuses on 12 stories of people searching for individuals who changed their lives.

“The power we have to do good and to have compassion lives deep within us all, and I believe it’s something we need to be reminded of,” she says. “There are times we forget it exists, and we may be living in one of those times right now. But the capacity for good is still there. It exists, and it will rise again.”