“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,” Lauer said in a statement exclusive to CNN and the Today Show on Thursday.
Lauer was fired from the Today Show on Tuesday night after an NBC employee reported sexual misconduct to the HR department on Monday. The swift termination was followed by a formal announcement on Wednesday morning by co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, who were emotional as they addressed the scandal.
“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 added.
“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.”
According to The New York Times, a former employee claims Lauer “summoned” her to his office, in 2001, where he sexually assaulted her after locking his door. The woman reportedly passed out and had to be taken to the nurse. She feared she would lose her job if she told.
Variety published a scathing expose about Lauer’s alleged deviant sexual behavior, including an instance when Lauer allegedly sent a female employee a sex tape with instructions on how he wanted to use it on her.
Lauer is the latest figure to be exposed for sexual harassment and assault. Lauer joins Harvey Weinstein, comedian Louis C.K., beloved journalist Charlie Rose (and more) on the growing list of Hollywood creeps. We have a feeling the latest two women who came forward won’t be the last. We’ll keep you updated with this disturbing story.