Matt Lauer issued a statement in the aftermath of his firing from the “Today” show, which was announced on Wednesday following a “detailed complaint” of sexual wrongdoing against the news anchor. More women have since spoken out about Lauer’s alleged improper behavior.
In a statement read by his former “Today” co-hosts, Lauer said, “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt I am truly sorry.
“As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.”
Lauer continued, “repairing the damage” caused by his alleged actions “will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full-time job,” he added.
“The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
Lauer was fired on Wednesday just hours after a secret meeting where an alleged victim and her lawyer told NBC brass her story of improper sexual behavior from the long-time “Today” show host. The alleged incident took place at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Lauer’s co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie, and “Today” colleague Hoda Kotb were given the rough task of breaking the news to viewers on Wednesday. Again on Thursday, the duo had to discuss the Lauer news.
Matt Lauer fired from ‘Today’ due to ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’ in the workplace
They read Lauer’s statement and noted ahead of reading it that more women had accused Lauer of behaving inappropriately.
At the start of the show’s 8 a.m. hour, Stephanie Gosk announced “NBC News can report two additional women came forward accusing Lauer of inappropriate sexual behavior” following his firing.
She then detailed the additional allegations against Lauer that were published in The New York Times and Variety.
One woman claimed to The New York Times Lauer sexually assaulted her in his office until she passed out and had to be seen by a nurse.
Another woman told Variety Lauer exposed himself to her while one more told the magazine Lauer gifted her a sex toy with a graphic note.
The allegations included claims that Lauer had a button under his desk that enabled him to close and lock the door to his office.
Gosk said NBC News was denying a claim in Variety that complaints about Lauer were ignored by the company. She read a statement from the network that was released late Wednesday.
“We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct,” a spokesperson for the network said.
Guthrie noted the stories from the new accusers are “shocking and disturbing.”
On Wednesday nights, Lauer’s “Today” hosts appeared on the air with wide smiles for the annual Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center. They made no mention of Lauer’s absence, though he was set to host the show with them. He was reportedly quickly scrubbed from pre-taped portions of the show ahead of the broadcast.
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