Former Today host Matt Lauer released his first statement addressing allegations of sexual misconduct after he was fired by NBC News for sexually harassing a female employee.
Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb opened Today by reading the statement from Lauer, who offered an apology. While he says that some of the claims against him are “untrue or mischaracterized,” he’s “embarrassed and ashamed” by what’s true in those stories—though he doesn’t say what he believes is true or false—and vowed to repair the damage he caused.
A statement from Matt Lauer: “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions...” pic.twitter.com/f93rHXqKQD— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 30, 2017
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. 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.
In the wake of the many, many allegations of misconduct that have come to light in Hollywood, media, politics, and other walks of life since the New York Times and New Yorker stories on Harvey Weinstein last month, we have seen a lot of apologies. Many of them have tried to excuse their own alleged behavior, deny it, blame it on other factors such as alcohol, or attempt discredit the women who have accused them of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape. It’s gotten to the point where there’s now an actual Apology Generator to anticipate terrible responses from men in Hollywood.
Lauer’s statement clears a very low bar because his statement does include the words “I am truly sorry.” But others have already started to point out its flaws
I don’t honestly know what he could say, but this rings so false. Has he been racked with sorrow and pain for two decades? https://t.co/x5aSTIYUty— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) November 30, 2017
“There is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.” https://t.co/z2OrVmh9ma— Olivia Messer 💀 (@OliviaMesser) November 30, 2017
Can I just say: I don’t give a shit about Matt Lauer’s statement. He belongs in prison. Period.— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) November 30, 2017
If your apology could apply equally well to embezzling or dog fighting or a gambling problem, do better. https://t.co/48qjYr8hZA— Kathryn VanArendonk (@kvanaren) November 30, 2017
More stories of Lauer’s alleged misconduct have come out since NBC announced his firing Wednesday morning for sexually harassing a female employee during the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Many pointed to his role in the 2016 election, particularly his near-universally panned performance in NBC’s “Commander-In-Chief Forum.” Several women told Variety that Lauer sexually harassed them, which included Lauer sending one woman a sex toy, locking another woman in his office with a button on his desk and dropping his pants, asking female producers inappropriate questions about their sex lives, and playing “fuck, marry, or kill” with his female co-hosts.
The New York Times, which was also working on a Lauer story, reported that two more women have come forward with allegations against Lauer since his firing. One of them said that Lauer locked her in his office and sexually assaulted her in 2001.
Lauer’s apology does not acknowledge any of those new allegations.