Disgraced NBC News anchor Matt Lauer apologized Thursday “to the people I have hurt,” a day after he was fired from the network for inappropriate sexual behavior.
“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 that was read out on the “Today” show by his former co-anchor Savannah Guthrie.
“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.”
In a partial denial of the allegations, Lauer said that “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, who hosted the show for more than 20 years, was fired after a female colleague approached NBC bosses Monday with a complaint of sexual misconduct during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. NBC News chairman Andrew Lack said executives had been given reason to believe it may not have been an one-off, and since then, complaints from other women have emerged.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that since Lauer’s ouster was announced, two more complaints had been made, including from one former employee who claimed Lauer had called her into his office, locked the door and sexually assaulted her.
Variety published an account detailing corroborated complaints of sexual harassment from three women, including one Lauer allegedly exposed himself to. Another accuser said he gave her a sex toy with a note saying he wanted to use it on her.
The Variety investigation also detailed how Lauer had a secret button under his desk to lock his office door, allowing him to make sexual advances in seclusion.
The married 59-year-old father of three was one of America’s most powerful broadcasters before his downfall. His apology statement said that attempting to repair the damage “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,” he said. “I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”