Longtime TV anchor Katie Couric made headlines earlier this week when she recounted a tense 2004 interview with legendary actor Denzel Washington on a recent podcast recording.

Her version of the story has left some fans disturbed after she framed Washington's relatively harmless answers to her pointed questions as an attack, leaving her "uncomfortable" and "shaken."


The 63-year-old journalist was being interviewed on the Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino podcast on Monday when she recalled a 2004 NBC Dateline interview she did with the cast of The Manchurian Candidate. The interview also featured actors Meryl Streep and Jonathan Demme.

According to a transcript of the original interview, Couric asked the cast about actors commenting on politics, directing the question specifically at Washington and asking whether "Hollywood folks should stick to acting."

Washington responded, questioning what she meant by "Hollywood folks."

"I don't know what Hollywood folks are first of all. Hollywood is a town that has some stars on the sidewalk. I don't know anybody from there. I'm not a Hollywood folk. I don't know who they are. There you go. 'Am I one of those people?' Hmmm, isn't that interesting? I heard what you just said. 'Am I one of those people?'  No, I'm not," Washington responded.

Couric tried to rephrase her question, but Washington asked her why his profession should have any impact on his ability to speak his mind. 

When asked about the political situation at the time and whether returning soldiers deployed in Iraq were getting the help they need, Washington spoke eloquently on his thoughts. 

"You know, I haven't seen ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,’ because I live in America. I grew up here. I'm an ex-slave. I'm a result of what this country can do. So it's nothing new to me. I'm not surprised at all. It's just business as usual.  What I want to talk about is, what are we doing right now, today, for these young kids that are coming home? Are we embracing them? I don't hear about them being lifted up. I mean, I'm not just talking about a parade," Washington said. 

"I have a son, 19, 19-year-olds are coming home completely different," Washington added. 

The interview ended after a few more comments, but Couric told Pellegrino on Monday she felt Washington "misconstrued a question" and "kind of jumped all over me.”

“I don’t think I said anything wrong. I don’t know what happened. I love him, I admire him so much. He’s one of my favorite actors, but I remember walking out and feeling really kind of shaken that he had kind of gone after me in a way that was completely, weirdly uncalled for,” she said on the podcast.

Couric went on to say she was vindicated in feeling the way she did because Washington "wrote a really big check to my colon cancer organization, which I thought was super sweet."

"Anyway, he must have been having a really bad day," Couric said.

The comments caused a stir on social media with people referencing a strikingly common trend in journalism where white reporters ask offensive questions directed at Black people, only to become offended themselves when called out for the nature of their questions. 

Many Black journalists, TV personalities and others took to social media to comment on the trend.