Lauer Speaks Out: I Am 'Embarrassed and Ashamed'

Leah Barkoukis
|
Posted: Nov 30, 2017 7:46 AM
Lauer Speaks Out: I Am 'Embarrassed and Ashamed'

Breaking his silence since NBC News fired him Wednesday over “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” former co-host of the “Today” show Matt Lauer said he was “embarrassed and ashamed.”

In a statement read on the show by his former co-host Savannah Guthrie, Lauer said he is “truly sorry.”

“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” he said in the statement. “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. 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 people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”

Lauer’s firing stemmed from an incident that took place during coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

A staffer at the network filed a complaint Monday “that was serious enough that he was terminated,” according to one source for People. “The accuser described inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace occurring throughout 2014.”

While NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said in the statement announcing his termination from the network that it was the “first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News” he acknowledged that they have “reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

Indeed, a report from Variety published later Wednesday details various accounts from women about Lauer’s inappropriate behavior in the office including exposing himself to a staffer, engaging in crass, sexual dialogue with colleagues, and giving another employee a sex toy. He also reportedly had a secret button to lock his office door without having to get up.