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When asked about the art of celebrity and political interviews on the “Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino” podcast last week, reporter Katie Couric brought up her “uncomfortable” Dateline interview with Denzel Washington that left her “shaken.”

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During her interview with Washington and Meryl Streep for The Manchurian CandidateI movie back in 2004, Washington pushed back on the labels Couric threw his way when she asked if he agreed that “Hollywood folks should stick to acting.”

Washington shot back: “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. So, I don’t — that’s like saying — calling you a ‘type’ of folks. I’m not a Hollywood folk. I don’t know who they are.”

Couric rephrased her question afterwards, but it just continued downhill from there: 

COURIC: “OK, all right, well, let me rephrase the question. Are you one of those people that —”

WASHINGTON: “Ah, there you go. Am I one of those people? Hmmm, isn’t that interesting?”

COURIC: “Oh, stop, stop, stop.”

WASHINGTON: “No, don’t stop. I heard what you just said. ‘Am I one of those people?’ No, I’m not.”

COURIC: “No, are you an actor who would rather not —”

WASHINGTON: “No, I’m not that either. I’m a human being. My job is acting.”


The reporter told Danny Pellegrino, “I just remember leaving [the interview] and thinking … I don’t think I said anything wrong … I don’t know what happened. Anyway, I think he must have been having a really bad day, because he later wrote a big check to my colon cancer organization, which I thought was super sweet.” 

She continued, “I love him. I admire him so much, he’s one of my favorite actors, but I remember walking out feeling kind of shaken that he had gone after me in a way that was completely weirdly uncalled for.”

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