Former NBC anchor and TODAY co-host Matt Lauer released a statement on Thursday, one day after being fired by the network for sexual misconduct.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer said in the statement, which was read by TODAY co-host Savannah Guthrie on the show’s Thursday broadcast. “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.”
He added, “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. 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.”
Watch the TODAY opening below.
Lauer was fired Wednesday after NBC “received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer.” In a statement, NBC News chairman Andy Lack said the claim against Lauer “represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
In the wake of Lauer’s termination, both the New York Times and Variety published stories that detailed numerous sexual misconduct allegations against Lauer — with the Times noting NBC received “at least two new complaints” about the disgraced anchor following news of his ouster.
“One complaint came from a former employee who said Mr. Lauer had summoned her to his office in 2001, locked the door and sexually assaulted her,” wrote the Times. The woman, who declined to be identified, “told The Times that she passed out and had to be taken to a nurse. She said that she felt helpless because she didn’t want to lose her job, and that she didn’t report the encounter at the time because she felt ashamed.”
Lauer’s firing dominated headlines on Wednesday. The anchor — who reportedly earned a salary of upward of $20 million annually from NBC — is perhaps the highest-profile figure to be accused of sexual misconduct since the New York Times broke news about decades of sexual harassment and sexual assault claims against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein last month. In the weeks since, numerous women and men have come forward with further allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein, as well as claims about comedian Louis C.K., actor Kevin Spacey, journalist Charlie Rose, and Alabama Republican Roy Moore, among many others.