Matt Lauer has issued an apology, a day after he was fired from NBC for what the network called “inappropriate sexual behavior.”
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer said in a 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.”
His statement was read on the air Thursday morning by his former co-host, Savannah Guthrie.
Lauer also claimed, however, that some of the allegations against him are false.
“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,” Lauer said. “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.”
He continued: “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.”
Lauer, who is married with three children, served as an anchor on NBC’s Today show for two decades.
Guthrie and Today co-host Hoda Kotb announced the firing decision by NBC news chairman Andy Lack as the show began Wednesday morning.
Lauer, 59, has been accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault by former co-workers. When he was fired, only one complaint had been filed against him, but two more have been filed since, The New York Times reported.
“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,” Lack wrote in a memo to staff after the announcement.
An NBC employee, who chose not to identify herself, said Lauer sexually assaulted her in his office with the door locked until she passed out, The Times reported.
The incident reportedly happened in 2001 and Lauer allegedly summoned the woman, who was in her 40s at the time, into his office, locked the door from a button on his desk and asked her to unbutton her shirt.
The woman claims he got up from his desk, bent her over and had sex with her.
She told the paper she woke up on the floor after having passed out. Lauer allegedly had his assistant take her to the nurse.
The pair never spoke about the alleged assault again, according to reports.
In a separate incident, Lauer allegedly gave a colleague a sex toy as a present along with an explicit note of how he wanted to use it on her, Variety reported.
He has also been accused of dropping his pants and showing his penis to a female employee in his office.
The initial complaint against Lauer came from an NBC employee who reportedly approached executives about an alleged incident that happened with an intern at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and continued afterward.
The intern reportedly provided a photo that showed Lauer’s inappropriate sexual behavior.
Lauer was one of the highest-paid anchors in morning news television. He was earning $25 million a year, according to reports.