Former NBC News anchor and “Today Show” host Matt Lauer, fired Wednesday in light of sexual harassment allegations, apologized for hurting people and for the damage he has done to NBC.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer said in a statement released by his publicist. “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 did not address the specific allegations that led to his firing, which reportedly include sexts to and harassment of a producer who worked with him covering the 2014 winter olympics in Sochi, Russia, but said that the stories contain enough truth for him to feel embarassed.
“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 said.
“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.”
NBC announced Lauer’s firing in a statement from chairman Andrew Lack, read on air by “Today” show co-host Savannah Guthrie. Variety published a longer report on sexual harassment allegations against Lauer Wednesday afternoon, followed by a New York Times report later in the day.
Lauer allegedly had multiple affairs with staff members, would send sexts and harass women repeatedly, and allegedly forced some women to have sex with him in his office, which reportedly had a door he could lock from his desk. One accuser told The Times that she was summoned to his office in 2001, locked the door and assaulted. Lauer allegedly pulled down her pants and had sex with her on his desk until she passed out. She woke up and was taken to a nurse, but didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to lose her job, according to the complaint.
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