Ann Curry’s emotional departure from “Today” ran much deeper than anyone knew as it turned out the co-host was being “tortured” by her colleagues during a long operation to oust her that they referred to as “Operation Bambi.”
Curry is certainly one of the strongest women in the news industry because she managed to take on some pretty harsh treatment and cruel jokes with professionalism and a smile on her face before she was publicly fired.
Executive producer Jim Bell even named the plot to oust Curry, 56, from her hosting spot of less than a year “Operation Bambi” after a friend told him firing the journalist would be like “killing Bambi.”
In a portion of the book that ran on nytimes.com on Thursday, [Brian] Stelter reveals that Curry, who was forced to leave the show less than a year after she began as co-host, felt bullied and belittled by the “Today” crew.
“Curry felt that the boys’ club atmosphere behind the scenes at ‘Today’ undermined her from the start, and she told friends that her final months were a form of professional torture,” Stelter wrote.
The snubs that Curry encountered included a blooper reel that the crew made of Curry’s on-screen gaffes, and moving boxes of Curry’s belongings into the coat closet, as if she had already been kicked out.
The bullying didn’t stop there either. As if her colleagues were nothing more than a snobby group of popular kids in middle school, they went out of their way to make fun of Curry’s outfits.
Stelter revealed that at one point they even photoshopped a picture of Ann’s bright yellow dress next to a picture of Big Bird and asked other people “who wore it better?”
Ann constantly expressed to loved ones that the final days in her position were nothing short of “professional torture,” but little did she know that it was far from over.
Even after poorly handling her firing, the network refused to release her from her contract so she could pursue other career opportunities. Instead, they issued her fluffed up titles that really didn’t mean much of anything.
The excerpt from the NY Times explained that execs made it a part of their scheme not to release Curry from her contract simply because they didn’t want her to go work for a direct competitor – which is exactly what would have happened when CNN wanted to pick up Ann.
With the ratings for the “Today Show” continuing to plummet, execs need to realize that if they don’t take any course of action to right their wrongs even more people will tune out for the sole purpose of standing up Ann and not wanting to support a network of on air bullies.