One of the most surprising things about the Today show saga in The New York Times Magazine this weekend — after the vivid “professional torture” of poor Ann Curry — is how familiar Curry’s co-worker’s anonymous complaints sounded. They sounded a lot like us, and our colleagues, and random tweeters trying to rationalize our collective and yet inexplicable distaste for another Ann(e), Hathaway. I’ve rounded up all the similarities below, not to pile on Hathaway, again, but because cross-referencing their supposedly objectionable qualities might help us understand what triggers the irrational hatred of a woman.
They try hard.
Unlike their professionally likable foils, Katie Couric and Jennifer Lawrence, you can see the sweat on Ann Curry and Anne Hathaway’s brows. They obviously care about what people think, and that makes them vulnerable in some way. Reporter Brian Stelter called Curry’s ambition “legendary,” because she was obviously angling for anchor jobs at NBC Nightly News and Today. Couric “didn’t appreciate Curry’s eagerness.” As for Anne Hathaway, she “really, really wanted” the Fantine part in Les Mis. As writer Neal Gabler told the New York Times, “everything she does seems managed, calculated or rehearsed.”
They’re dramatic …
Producers told Stelter that Couric found Curry “melodramatic,” while one woman told our own Ann Friedman that Hathaway belonged to the class of “really affected drama queens” you can picture “non-ironically yelling ‘Acting!’”
… and that makes them suspicious.
Gabler, again in the Times: “Her inauthenticity — or the feeling of her inauthenticity — is now viral.” One producer told Stelter that Couric thought Curry was “fake.”
They are silly, nice, and non-threatening.
Writing of Hathaway’s casting as Catwoman, Esquire complained that there’s “this kind of lovable goofiness to her that’s more doglike than catlike.” Tom Touchet, the former executive producer of Today called Curry a “wacky chick” with a “great heart.” I repeat: The former executive producer of Today referred to the talent as a “chick.”
They know they’re getting screwed over because they’re women.
After Hathaway was photographed coming out of a limousine sans underpants, she told a concern-trolling Matt Lauer (of all people) that she felt sorry, not for herself, but that we all must live a society that “commodifies the sexuality of unwilling participants.” When execs criticized Curry and Lauer’s “chemistry,” Curry noted that only one gender ever gets blamed for the lack thereof. She reportedly told friends. “‘Chemistry,’ in television history, generally means the man does not want to work with the woman. It’s an excuse generally used by men in positions of power to say, ‘The woman doesn’t work.’”
No one actually hates them.
Despite all the haters inside NBC, the post-Curry narrative at Today is that viewers have “fled” because they love Curry and can’t forgive Lauer for his perceived role in her demise. Even as NBC executives were pushing her off the show, her defenders pointed to her high Q score and popularity in focus groups, Stelter reports. As Ross Douthat pointed out, the “Hathahater” phenomenon has less to do with her popularity with studios, and more to do with how easy it is for too-cool bloggers to find a dozen people who have tweeted about hating anything and then cry “trend.” According to Star, Hathaway is only the ninth most hated person in Hollywood. That’s three below Matt Lauer, but his haters don’t have a cute name yet.