Inside Kathie Lee Gifford's Youthful Sexual Assault: She Felt 'Demeaned,' 'Dirty' & 'Stupid'
Former Today host Kathie Lee Gifford has been coming clean about a lot of painful and personal incidents in her new memoir, It’s Never Too Late — from her experience with sexual assault to the agony of dealing with infidelity in her marriage.
The popular TV personality already has a history of revealing these sensitive issues, most notably speaking up in 2017 regarding her then-good friend Harvey Weinstein and the numerous sexual harassment allegations levied against him.
While discussing with Today co-host Hoda Kotb an interview that reporter Lauren Sivan had just done with Megyn Kelly — in which Sivan related in detail an instance in which she was forced to watch Weinstein masturbate after rejecting his advances — Gifford dropped a startling revelation: The same thing happened to her, with a different producer.
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Gifford didn't name the man in question, only detailed the scene: "Early, early, early on in my career a producer called me and I didn't know who he was," she explained. "He said, 'I would like to meet with you and talk with you.' I said, 'okay, I will come to your office.'"
The producer told her that his office was currently under construction and asked her to meet him at his house instead. Gifford, having just started out in the business, didn't realize there was anything behind this, and did as he asked.
"I had no reason not to go there," she explained. "I get to the house and exact same thing as what happened to Sivan happened. Exact same thing."
Gifford noted that she learned a lesson from the incident and was grateful to get away unharmed. "But you are so demeaned, and feel so dirty," she said. "You know what you feel more than anything? Stupid. I thought, Kathie, you idiot."
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Gifford went on to relate that she was shocked when she heard the news about Weinstein, stating that he had always been "fantastic" to her. "So it's very upsetting to me on a personal level," she said. "This is a man I considered a friend. I feel for his family, and I feel for him."
When recently discussing her memoir with ET — and why she decided to open up about her experiences with sexual assault in the book — she notes that women need to know that they are not alone in these incidents, and hopes her speaking out will help others. "There’s very, very few women in this industry who weren’t subjected to that kind of behavior and that kind of abuse,” she told the outlet. “You know, I’m not gonna name names there. They know who they are.”