Matt Lauer spoke out on Thursday morning after being fired from the Today show for “inappropriate workplace behavior.”
“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,” the 59-year-old newsman said in a statement released at the top of the Today show on Thursday.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
Lauer concluded, “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.”
On Wednesday morning, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb emotionally announced at the top of the Today show that Lauer — who started on the NBC morning show in 1994 — was let go from the network after allegations of sexual misconduct.
A source at NBC tells ET that his termination came after a woman accused Lauer of “inappropriate sexual behavior” throughout 2014, including at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
On Wednesday afternoon, Variety released a story where three more women alleged that they too were sexually harassed by the longtime TV personality.
Lauer’s alleged behavior includes giving a colleague a sex toy as a present, with a note about how he wanted to use it on her. Another woman alleges he called her to his office and then showed her his penis, and then reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act when she declined.
“There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” a former producer claims to Variety. “He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.”
According to a New York Times article also published on Wednesday, NBC has now received two new complaints related to Lauer. According to the report, one complaint involves a former employee who claims Lauer called her to his office in 2001, and then had sex with her.
The woman, who declined to have her name used, tells the Times that she felt “helpless” and didn’t want to lose her job. She also says she didn’t report the alleged encounter at the time because she felt ashamed.
After Lauer released his statement, journalist Stephanie Gosk reported on these accusations on Today as the show promised viewers a day prior that they would not shy away from covering this story.