NEW YORK (NBC) — Longtime “Today” anchor Matt Lauer broke his silence Thursday in a statement read on the show, saying he was “truly sorry” after allegations of sexual misconduct led to his firing.
Lauer’s statement was a partial denial but he admitted that “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.” “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie shared his remarks.
“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,” Lauer said.
“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.
“Repairing the damage 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.”
The move to fire Lauer, a fixture in national morning news for two decades, came after a female colleague made a detailed complaint with NBC News on Monday accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavior during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
In addition, The New York Times reported that two other women had made complaints about Lauer, 59, after he was fired. An unidentified former employee told The Times that Lauer sexually assaulted her in his office in 2001. NBC officials confirmed that two more accusers had come forward on Wednesday.
Variety published a more detailed story of Lauer’s alleged sexual misconduct with at least three women over several years.
NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said in a memo Wednesday that the first woman’s complaint prompted a serious review and represented a “clear violation of our company’s standards.”