Former NBC “Today” show host Matt Lauer has issued a statement addressing the allegations that surfaced Wednesday of his sexual misconduct in the workplace.
On Wednesday, NBC announced that the network was firing Lauer after an internal complaint of sexual harassment. A Variety exposé published later in the day detailed alleged incidents such as Lauer giving a female colleague a sex toy as a gift with a note about how he wanted to use it on her, and a time when he called a woman to his office and then dropped his pants, exposing his penis.
Lauer has now expressed “sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused,” he wrote in a statement that was read by his former co-host Savannah Guthrie on Thursday morning’s “Today.”
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer wrote in his 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,” his statement continued. “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.”
The news of Lauer’s firing comes amidst a series of sexual harassment reports against powerful men in media and Hollywood, including Charlie Rose and Harvey Weinstein.
“Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul-searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort,” Lauer’s statement concluded. “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.”