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.
This is the exchange (from 2004) that Katie Couric now claims "made her uncomfortable", where Denzel Washington "went after" her.
She seemed perfectly capable of handling the back and forth, as any journalist should.
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) April 29, 2020
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.
He checked her and she all of a sudden felt “uncomfortable “ … I was so fucking annoyed when I saw this and the way page six was pushing that narrative smh
— LAURASTYLEZ (@LAURASTYLEZ) April 29, 2020
This reminiscing she's doing about this incident was unnecessary. Esp. since it wasn't to be introspective about her wrongness. She shoulda kept it.
— Luvvie is currently writing book 2 (@Luvvie) April 29, 2020
Yet she was silent about Matt Lauder? These Karens stay acting as if black men are the big bad wolves.
— Black People if you can stay home (@stenna15) April 29, 2020
She hits him with a microaggression (if we can even call it that), he defends himself, gracefully, and she took that as an attack, and the poor man had to donate a large sum of money to her foundation to assuage her feelings forged in her gaslighting self-victimization hell.
— César Vargas (@CesarVargas365) April 29, 2020
I really wasted 10 minutes on those articles just because a woman felt personally attacked by a black man’s assertion of his humanity.
— Mia Beverly (@mia_angeline_) April 29, 2020
He knew exactly what she meant, she's offended that he had the audacity to call her on it, so she blew the dog whistle for white women, "I felt Uncomfortable".
— ah ha (@AhCtyguryl) April 29, 2020
It's almost sad that she's still sitting somewhere thinking Denzel "went after" HER when she's the one who "you people'd" a BLACK MAN.
— Still Ride or Die for Kamala (@FreyrsHof) April 29, 2020
I guess there is no expiration date on white woman tears.
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) April 29, 2020
“Uncomfortable” meaning she tried to come for him and he checked her before she could even finish because this wasn’t his first rodeo and “not today white woman”.
— ✊????✊????✊???? (@NIACHIRIE) April 29, 2020
Thousands of others noted that it was ridiculous of her to have portrayed the story the way she did. As many others noted, Karens are always gonna Karen.