Matt Lauer, the former TODAY Show host, broke his silence on Thursday morning, one day after NBC fired him from “Today” over an allegation of sexual misconduct. NBC was paying Lauer $28 million per year.
Lauer, one of the highest-profile employees at the network for decades, released the following statement to NBC, which his former co-host Savannah Guthrie read on air during this morning’s TODAY Show:
“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.
“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.”
Lauer was fired on Wednesday, November 29 for what NBC called “inappropriate sexual behavior” with a colleague was quickly followed by a published report accusing him of crude and habitual misconduct with other women around the office.
In a memo to NBC News staff, NBC chief Andrew Lack said that NBC received a complaint about Lauer’s behavior on Monday night and determined he violated company standards. NBC said the misconduct started when Lauer and a network employee were at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued beyond that assignment. While Lack said that it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer in his 20 years at NBC, they (NBC) “were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
NBC News received two new complaints against Lauer on Wednesday, “NBC Nightly News” reported.
According to an extensive report from Variety, Lauer “had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up” and once “gave a colleague a sex toy as a present.”