(PEOPLE) -- More than a month has passed since Matt Lauer was fired from the Today show, and his former longtime colleague, Katie Couric, is now opening up about the former NBC anchor’s shocking dismissal.
“The whole thing has been very painful for me,” Couric, 61, tells PEOPLE. “The accounts I’ve read and heard have been disturbing, distressing and disorienting and it’s completely unacceptable that any woman at the Today show experienced this kind of treatment.
“I had no idea this was going on during my tenure or after I left,” she continued. “I think I speak for many of my former colleagues when I say this was not the Matt we knew. Matt was a kind and generous colleague who treated me with respect. In fact, a joke I once made on late-night television was just that, because it was completely contrary to our brother-sister relationship. It’s still very upsetting. I really admire the way Savannah [Guthrie] and Hoda [Kotb] and the entire Today show staff have handled a very difficult situation.”
Advertisement - story continues below