Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Lara Logan, who was hired fulltime as a 60 Minutes correspondent last September and appeared this afternoon on a panel promoting Showtime’s new series spinoff 60 Minutes Sports — on which she serves as a correspondent — grew emotional while speaking after session. She was asked about any lingering emotional scars stemming from the frightening and nearly-fatal February 11, 2011 attack she suffered in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, during which she was groped, assaulted, beaten and had her clothes entirely ripped from her body. The attack continued for some 25 minutes and involved an estimated 200-300 men. When Deadline asked if the emotional trauma remained with her, she replied, “I think anything that happens to you on this scale stays with you forever.” Logan continued, “Am I traumatized? Do I have bad dreams? No. And after it happened, when I got back from Egypt, I was honestly almost elated because I was so close to death and coming to terms with being gone.” The gravity of that event contrasted today with Logan’s vibrant, vivacious demeanor and striking appearance, which belied feelings that seem to reside just below the surface, “I was dying in that square,” she recalled, “and I never thought I would see my children again. After I got home, for weeks I couldn’t believe I was alive.”
That she was able to muster the character, strength and survival skills to get through such an unfathomable physical and psychological ordeal seems still to surprise Logan. “You don’t realize until it happens to you that you have a choice not to fall apart,” she said. “I said, I have too much to live for.” Logan’s strength led her to approve a statement shortly after the attack that detailed how she was beaten and sexually assaulted and didn’t try to sweep the details under the carpet. She credited CBS News and president Jeff Fager for having the courage at the time “to decide not to lie about this. We weren’t going to lie about this.” She related the rewards of hearing from “probably 50,000″ men and women who have detailed similar stories and how they have had to live with a terrible secret and dark shame. “It happens to men as well as women,” she said, her eyes starting to well up at the memories. “I have the benefit of having had a very strong upbringing and a very strong mother.”
Logan was asked how she is still able to muster the courage to cover dangerous stories. It spurred an unusually candid response. “I honestly don’t think I could do it without Valium and red wine, I swear to God,” she admitted. “I just tank up the day before and I’m out the door. I couldn’t do it otherwise. I know it sounds weak. It’s the hardest thing, but I do it for reasons I truly believe in.”