Matt Lauer "Embarrassed" by Sexual Misconduct Scandal: "I Am Truly Sorry"

"Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized," the former NBC News employee says

By Zach Johnson Nov 30, 2017 12:15 PMTags

Matt Lauer has broken his silence regarding the growing sexual misconduct allegations made against him throughout the week. Today's Savannah Guthrie read his apology on-air Thursday.

"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 disappoint 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 deeply," the former Today anchor wrote. "Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I am committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full-time job."

Lauer, who was fired from NBC News after a swift internal investigation, added, "The last two days have forced me to take very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It's been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace."

An employee filed a complaint Monday night, in which she claimed the sexual misconduct began during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and continued afterward. NBC News chairman Andy Lack previously sent a memo to employees Wednesday, saying the claims about Lauer's misconduct "represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards."

"While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he's been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident. Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender," Lack wrote. "We are deeply saddened by this turn of events but we will face it together as a news organization—and do it in as transparent a manner as we can."

Since Lauer's firing, two more women have made complaints about Lauer's alleged misconduct.

The first accuser's attorney, Ari Wilkenfeld, issued a statement to E! News Wednesday. "My client and I met with representatives from NBC's Human Resources and Legal Department at 6 p.m. on Monday. Over the course of several hours, my client detailed egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct by Mr. Lauer. In fewer than 35 hours, NBC investigated and removed Mr. Lauer. Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly and responsibly, as all companies should when confronted with credible allegations about sexual misconduct in the workplace," he said. "It is our hope that NBC will continue to do what it can to repair the damage done to my client—their employee—and any other women who may come forward."

"While I am impressed by NBC's response to date, I am awed by the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than asking the company do the right thing," her attorney concluded. "This is how the system should work."

(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)