"He totally misconstrued a question I asked and kind of jumped all over me," Katie Couric said

By Eric Todisco
April 29, 2020 01:54 PM
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Credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty; Mireya Acierto/Getty

Katie Couric is revisiting a tense interview she conducted in 2004 with Denzel Washington regarding celebrity involvement in politics.

Couric, 63, recalled on the Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino podcast Monday that she interviewed Washington, 65, for NBC News 16 years ago about the political film The Manchurian Candidate.

Couric told Pellegrino she believed Washington "totally misconstrued a question I asked and kind of jumped all over me and it was so uncomfortable."

During the interview, which Meryl Streep was also present for, Couric asked Washington if he agreed with the idea that "Hollywood folks should just stick to acting."

Washington responded: "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 … That’s like calling you a ‘type’ of folks. I’m not a Hollywood folk. I don’t know who they are.”

Couric attempted to rephrase her question to Washington, beginning to ask, "Are you one of those people that —,” but Washington interrupted her.

"Ah, there you go. ‘Am I one of those people?’ Hm, isn’t that interesting?” Washington said. He then added, “No, don’t stop. I heard what you just said. ‘Am I one of those people?’ No, I’m not.”

When Couric tried to elaborate on her question, Washington said, "I’m a human being. My job is acting."

Reflecting on the interview, Couric told Pellegrino, "I just remember leaving it and thinking, 'God, I must have ... I don't think I said anything wrong, I don't know what happened.'"

"Anyway, he must have been having a really bad day, because he later wrote a really big check to my colon cancer organization, which I thought was super sweet," Couric said of Washington.

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While Couric shared that Washington is "one of my favorite actors," she admitted she was left upset by their interaction.

"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.

A rep for Washington did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.