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Fired NBC ‘Today’ Host Matt Lauer Says He is ‘Truly Sorry’ as More Accusers Emerge

Matt Lauer - Fired NBC 'Today' Show Host - says he is sorry
Former NBC 'Today' Show Host Matt Lauer

Fired NBC ‘Today’ show host Matt Lauer apologized to his victims Thursday saying he is “truly sorry” for the pain he caused them even as more women have come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment.

So far three women have said Lauer sexually harassed them.

“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.”

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He said some of the things being said about him may be untrue but there is enough truth in what his accusers are saying to make him feel ashamed.

“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,” Lauer said.

“Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort,” Lauer said. “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.”

NBC later tweeted out the statement by Lauer.

On Wednesday morning’s episode of NBC’s TODAY show Savannah Guthrie read a memo from Andrew Lack, the NBC News Chairman, which announced that Guthrie’s cohost Matt Lauer had been fired for inappropriate sexual behavior. Guthrie was seated next to Hoda Kotb and both women looked solemn as they lamented Lauer’s actions but voiced their respect for the brave women who have come forward with their truths.

“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer… 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,” read Guthrie.

According to sources, Lauer’s termination came after a current NBC employee filed a complaint saying that Lauer has been sexually harassing her since the start of his trip to the Sochi Olympics in 2014. After meeting with their lawyer and NBC’s human resources on Monday night, the company took swift action to remove Lauer from his position.

According to a source reported by The New York Post, Lauer was fired so quickly because of the “incontrovertible proof of inappropriate sexual behavior” that was shown to NBC bosses by a “young intern.” This proof included sexually explicit text messages from Lauer, including “at least one” picture.

Whether they will fulfill his contract of payment through 2018 has yet to be revealed.

“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,” Lauer said.

In the hours following Lauer’s termination, it was reported that two other women have come forward to NBC with harassment allegations against Lauer since the news broke on Wednesday morning.

One of these women, according to The New York Times, states that she is a former NBC employee who Lauer harassed in 2001. The victim said that Lauer ordered her to his office where he had sex with her. “She told the Times that she felt helpless because she didn’t want to lose her job, and that she didn’t report the encounter at the time because she felt ashamed,” the source reported.

The Times have since called her husband and a friend, who she said she confided in since 2001, and both sources confirmed the victim’s allegations. The victim and her husband are now divorced. Lauer has not responded for requests to comment.

Already multiple victims have come forward with alarming stories of sexual harassment in the workplace, and incriminating videos of his behavior and quotes from his female cohosts expressing uncomfortable situations have begun to surface.

Variety released a report on Wednesday explaining that their journalists have been conducting two-month’s worth of research and in that time have had three women come forward with stories about Lauer harassing them.

The source reported that one woman said Lauer gifted her with a sex toy and an “explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified.”

Other coworkers, according to Variety’s extensive research, reported that it was common for Lauer to ask female producers who they had slept with, offering to tell them his history in exchange for theirs. Others heard Lauer initiating games of “f—, marry, kill” with male and female coworkers — providing him with the opportunity to discuss about which coworkers he wanted to engage in sexual acts.

Another woman told Variety that Lauer “reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act” after he called her into his office, dropped his pants, and showed her his penis. According to Variety, two women who were harassed by Lauer confirmed that the abuser’s office was in a “secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up.”

This lock allowed the interactions in his office to remain private, and provided Lauer with the opportunity to further intimidate his victims.

A former producer told Variety that they “knew first-hand” of these encounters and the power imbalance involved in Lauer’s behavior. “There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” they said. “He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.”

Stories of Lauer cheating on his wife of 19 years, Annette Roque, have been splashed on the covers of tabloids in the past but Roque has yet to comment on the most recent scandal caused by her husband.

The power imbalance and forced-discretion of his victims played a large part in Lauer’s behavior, as these factors do in most cases of abuse. Creating an environment of isolation, fear, and shame is seen as a key pattern in sexual abusers.

This pattern extended when Lauer traveled for his job, as well. Variety reported that “Lauer would invite women employed by NBC late at night to his hotel room while covering the Olympics in various cities over the years. He later told colleagues how his wife had accompanied him to the London Olympics because she didn’t trust him to travel alone.”

Following the Variety report an NBC spokesperson released a statement saying “we can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct.”

It seems that it is impossible for this statement to be true, especially as proof of Lauer’s behavior continues to surface.

In 2012 Katie Couric was a guest on Watch What Happens Live and she told Andy Cohen, the host, that Lauer’s “most annoying habit” was that he “pinches me on the ass a lot.” Couric was Lauer’s cohost for 15 years, before leaving her position in May 2006 to anchor CBS Evening News .

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Lauer’s continued inappropriate behavior and disrespect for women is further shown in a video that TMZ unearthed only hours after Lauer was fired. The video was filmed in October 2006, the TODAY show was supposed to cut to a commercial break but a local affiliate remained on Lauer as he leaned back on the couch. Lauer’s cohost Meredith Vieira stood up from the couch to attach a microphone to her shirt but when she bent over to reach for her papers Lauer said to her, “Pretty sweater. Keep bending over like that. It’s a nice view.”

This utter disrespect for his coworkers is a disgusting abuse of power that Lauer obviously had no problem wielding.

There has been no news on who, if anyone, will replace Lauer on NBC’s TODAY show. The disgraced anchor was considered the star of the morning show for over two decades.

Here’s hoping they replace him with a woman.



Contributor, The Liberal Advocate News




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