Just a couple of months after putting former Fox News star Bill O'Reilly through the wringer over sexual harassment allegations, NBC News vet Matt Lauer found himself on the receiving end of his own string of accusations before promptly getting fired. And now, as more claims are being voiced, Lauer has released a statement acknowledging the truth behind at least some of the allegations, and he apologized to those affected by his lewd behavior in the past. You can read it in full below.
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. 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. 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.
Matt Lauer's apology, which was read aloud on this morning's Today episode, came right around 24 hours after the formerly esteemed host was terminated from the morning chat show, as well as any other jobs he held within the NBC News-verse. The initial reports that NBC received were reportedly about Lauer's inappropriate behavior during the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and in the months afterward, and though the network claims this was the first time any such accusations have come up, it was believed that the Winter Olympics story was far from an isolated incident, leading them to cut ties with Lauer.
Once Matt Lauer's Today ousting went public, more women came forward with claims about the journalist's workplace behavior over the years. According to Variety, Lauer has become known around the show for having an unencumbered libido, and he would apparently make lots of salacious comments (both verbally and through text messages) to female employees. He was also accused of showing one woman his genitalia and then getting upset whenever nothing sexual happened.
Matt Lauer's office desk had a button on it that let him lock the door without getting up, which is reportedly a common enough security feature for NBC execs, but Lauer would allegedly use it to keep female workers inside the office without fear of anyone walking in on them. And it was also brought up how Lauer had a reputation for making sexual advances on NBC employees during Olympics trips beyond just the Sochi claim.
Obviously, we're not at all sure which points Matt Lauer was talking about when he claimed some of the things said about him were untrue, and we likely won't find out for a while which incidents he is denying responsibility for. Regardless, he's admitted to some of it, and plans to try and get help to fix that part of his life, so here's hoping he follows through on that.
In the meantime, it's certainly possible that we haven't heard the last about Matt Lauer's behavior during his Today tenure. While waiting to see if Today brings in any noteworthy replacements, head to our fall TV premiere schedule and our 2018 midseason premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way.