Longtime NBC host Matt Lauer issued a statement of contrite apology a day after he was fired.
His “Today” cohosts learned and then reported the news just as Wednesday’s broadcast began. Today’s show began with his former colleague Savannah Guthrie reading Lauer’s statement:
“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,” Lauer’s statement continued. “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,” the statement concluded. “It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
NBC’s initial statement specified few details regarding what led to Lauer’s firing. It referenced a single allegation, yet hinted that more could surface. This morning “Today” reported more women have come forward with allegations.
Late on Wednesday Variety, citing unnamed sources, reported that multiple women have accused Lauer of conduct such as exposing himself, making lewd comments, even giving a colleague an explicit sex toy.
The Variety report listed some particularly creepy details, such as the button under Lauer’s desk that allowed him to lock the door from the inside. Sources quoted in the story said Lauer engaged in extramarital dalliances with NBC colleagues, some of which were consensual, but that his antics were no secret among employees.
Later on Wednesday author and longtime radio host Garrison Keillor was fired amid misconduct allegations. Minnesota Public Radio gave few details when it made the announcement; Keillor told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he had patted a woman on the back in an act of consolation but that she “recoiled.” He apologized and told the newspaper the two remained friends, “until her lawyer called.”
FROM THE AJC ARCHIVES: Why Garrison Keillor once stormed off the stage at Chastain Park