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Matt Lauer: ‘To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry’

A day after NBC announced his firing, Matt Lauer said Thursday that he is “truly sorry” for the pain he has caused.

Lauer stands accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. At least three women have filed complaints with NBC.

The statement was timed for release with Thursday’s “Today” show. NBC read the entire statement aloud on the morning show.

Lauer’s full statement, as provided to CNN and read on the “Today” show on Thursday, is below:

“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.”

On Thursday’s “Today,” Savannah Guthrie was once again joined by Hoda Kotb, who also filled in for Lauer on Wednesday.

“It is a difficult morning here again,” Kotb said. “Our top story is once again about our former colleague.”

Stories about the fallout, containing new allegations of sexual harassment by Lauer, were featured on the front pages of Thursday’s newspapers and early morning newscasts.

When NBC News chairman Andy Lack fired Lauer on Tuesday night, the proximate reason was a detailed harassment complaint filed by a female NBC employee on Monday night.

But Lack also knew that Variety and The New York Times were working on in-depth investigations.

Variety’s story came out on Wednesday afternoon. It contained new allegations of sexual harassment by three unnamed women.

The New York Times published a chilling account later in the day. The newspaper said it interviewed a former employee who said Lauer “summoned her to his office in 2001, locked the door and sexually assaulted her.” The accuser left NBC one year later. She asked The Times for anonymity.

The misconduct allegations came as a profound shock to many “Today” show viewers — and to some NBC staffers.

Some NBC veterans said they did not recognize the man they were now reading about.

Some of the same sentiments were heard last week when CBS fired Charlie Rose.

This is an unprecedented moment in morning television, with two empty chairs on two network broadcasts — “Today” and “CBS This Morning” — because of sexual harassment allegations against anchormen.

“Today” is grappling with a scandal that threatens NBC’s bottom line. The “Today” show makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year through ad sales so any deterioration in the ratings will hurt the network’s parent company, NBCUniversal.

The ratings race between “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” is legendary. In recent years the third-place “CBS This Morning” has been edging closer to them.

Now there’s a sense in the television news business that anything could happen — that viewers may react to the NBC and CBS scandals in any number of ways.

Insiders are also speculating about who might take over for Lauer. He was the face of the “Today” show for 20 years and had about a year left on his contract when he was suddenly terminated.

“The arrival of hard consequences for these men may have come too late in the news industry, but media organizations are unquestionably leading the national reckoning now underway,” media columnist Jim Rutenberg wrote in Thursday’s New York Times.

“For the news business, this is the way it has to be: Its main product, after all, is integrity, which, in the case of the networks, is personified by those who sit behind the desk,” he wrote. “Once the audience’s trust is lost, the entire enterprise falls apart.”

22 comments

  • trucker

    Hagmanreport did a great investigation into why Morning Joe Scarborough fled congress, the next network journalist to fall shortly.

  • Lynnette Frigon

    Please do not decide to be spiritual. We cannnn nottt take the phony energy…. or the predator energy.

  • Ty Keefer

    sorry Matt but you would not be so sorry if you did not just get busted & you would still be doing the same things to these women. I HOPE YOU DIE !

  • Slippery Slope

    Here’s the problem with the whole Weinstein matter blowing the doors off of sexual harassment in Hollywood. Anyone who has a beef with someone else can accuse them of misconduct, and they’re going to be immediately fired. There are stories related to this subject and they all say that the person accused was fired.

    This is going to diminish the true harassment because everyone has experienced something in their lives that could be considered sexual harassment.

    • warningfakenews

      I agree with you to some extent, I imagine there are plenty of women willing to do virtually anything to get a major acting career started. Then again, those in power there are foolish to capitalize on that, especially now that documenting things via video is so much easier to do. That, of course, does not clear these guys of wrongdoing when it comes to minors.

      • Robert

        My version of the conspiracy theory is flooding the market so the reaction will be like crying wolf when the real power brokers get accused. The current list of saps are the pawns. Can’t wait to see a knight get sacrificed.

  • Milo Y.

    It is words, or thoughts with no physical crime being committed or serious offense.. They will make it up to be a big thing as he is a sacrificial lamb living in the Hamptons and living a much better life than the real victims of his cohorts. Your eyes are off of the real tragedies for now. Look at his friends.

  • El~Ma

    I knew this was going to unravel……

    Lauer isn’t sorry, one iota. He’s been doing this all of his life and it probably began when he was in his teens, not just last year.

    Sexual harassment has been going on since the dawn of man. We already have Laws to deal with this, and there are people who are specially trained to provide counseling therapy for victims so that they can make choices for themselves that can bring closure from their experiences.

    There’s also the teachings of mothers, everywhere, that told daughters of how to deal with aggressive men (or, even women). Women USED to use their wits and their natural abilities to navigate the world. Now, it’s a whole different ballgame. While girls are busy posting images of themselves on FaceTube and sexting with random people, trading nudes and so forth, and dressing like $10 street walkers, people are screaming about harassment and staging “slut walks.” Um………..no. That’s just not going to make it stop. Ever.

    There are ways and means to handle these situations, and “feeling” powerless is just a feeling. Gonna lose your job if you don’t put up with the advances? SO WHAT? Tender your 2-week notice and find a different position. Can’t afford to switch jobs? Then, perhaps, you’re living outside of your means.

    Wise up, folks. This isn’t something new, and it’s never, ever going to end as a part of the Human Condition any more than domestic violence will. Laws have been written and people using their wits can figure out how to use those Laws to their advantage.

    • warningfakenews

      Well, I do believe Lauer IS sorry. Sorry that this all came out. He wasn’t too afraid of it being burst upon the scene, but was probably wondering if it ever would. It did. It may have some down to him ticking off one wrong guy in management.

    • Hmmmmm

      So dependence promotes victimization? Interesting concept. Very misunderstood I’d say. Then, independence promotes strength of character.

  • Chuck

    Maybe an accelerated 7 day sex addict rehab clinic in Phoenix will fix the problem and then it’ll all go away. Or not. Guaranteed porn addict caught acting out what he has studied for years. His poor wife and kids.

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