Following his firing and two in-depth reports of sexual harassment allegations, former Today anchor Matt Lauer has issued a statement of apology.
Lauer’s statement, which made up the bulk of Today’s top story this morning, expresses regret for his actions and the shame he forced “people [he cherishes] dearly” to share with him. Here’s the apology in full (via Variety):
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.
Though he actually says “sorry,” Lauer also uses his statement to deny some of the claims against him, labeling them “untrue or mischaracterized.” It’s unclear exactly which allegations Lauer finds lacking in veracity, seeing as Variety compiled the accounts of dozens of his former co-workers, while The New York Times reported on two separate sets of allegations. Is it the story about the sex toy he gave a colleague along with a crude note, or possibly the accounts from multiple women that Lauer, who used his influence to enter into sexual relationships with subordinates, escalated the harassment while on business trips? Could he be referring to the claims that he had a button on his desk that allowed him to lock the door to his office (which was “secluded”) from inside? Maybe he’ll let us know after he’s done with his “soul searching.”