Kathie Lee Gifford wants her friends to know she’ll stand by them. The Today show host, 64, called into Andy Cohen’s radio show on Wednesday, March 14, revealing that she reached out to both Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby after numerous women made allegations against them.
“Since I got into this business as a teenage girl, I have been sexually harassed, I have been sexually abused and I have been date raped. Don’t tell me they’re all the same, because they are not,” she said on Andy Radio. “I don’t want to throw everybody on the same manure pile. Being a jerk is not the same as being a rapist. It just isn’t.”
That’s when Cohen, 49, asked if she had reached out to Cosby after the allegations were made public, and she revealed she had.
“I’ve been friends with Bill a long, long time,” she said of the 80-year-old actor who was accused of sexual assault or rape by more than 60 women. Gifford then added, “Harvey Weinstein was a friend of mine for 30 years … I called him and left a message.”
It seemed that even Cohen was surprised, as he just kept saying “Wow” while she continued. Weinstein has been accused by more than 80 women of sexual harassment or abuse. Both Weinstein and Cosby have denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
“I just want people to know I don’t judge them,” the TV personality continued. “I don’t like what they do, but God knows their hearts and there’s hope for them. And you can’t call yourself a friend when, the first minute where there’s trouble, you run. That’s called a fair-weather friend … and that’s not a friend at all.”
“I hope people aren’t misunderstanding this. I am not saying that that kind of behavior is in any way acceptable. It isn’t and as a woman who’s experienced it, it’s awful,” she said, before again defending her friends. “But, can we at least look at each individual case and see it for it what it is and be merciful to people that are sorry for what they’ve done? If we stop having mercy as a part of our vocabulary, Andy, our world will completely die.”
“No one is perfect in this world. What we need now is forgiveness and mercy for one another,” she said during a November broadcast of Today after Lauer’s firing. “I send out my love to the person who came forward. May God heal that person. I send it to Matt his children and his wife and heal … We’re broken and we need someone to put us back together. It is so possible, I am living proof of it. I didn’t mean to go to church but sometimes, you gotta go to church.”
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