Matt Lauer has finally addressed the actions that prompted NBC to fire him in the middle of the night on Monday.
Two days after he was let go due to what network executives deemed to be "inappropriate sexual behavior," the long-time Today Show host has issued a lengthy statement.
He doesn’t deny very much about what has been said about him in it.
Through his own publicist, Lauer said the following this morning.
We’ll just go ahead and run it word-for-word:
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.
Lauer, of course, is the latest major name in Hollywood to be accused of some kind of sexual harassment or misconduct.
Sparked by a report that exposed producer Harvey Weinstein as a serial predator, victims have been inspired for weeks to come forward.
As a result, A-Listers such as Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and Charlie Rose have been exposed, accused fired or all of the above.
But Lauer is probably the biggest name so far, considering how long he had served as lead anchor on Today, greeting millions of viewers every morning.
There had been rumors for years that NBC might let him go due to alleged attitude problems and falling ratings.
Not due to the sort of allegations that are now surrounding the embattled star.
He reportedly sent co-workers sex toys and demanded they be used in his presence.
He reportedly dropped his pants in front of underlings and asked them to perform a sex act.
He reportedly bent a staffer over a chair in his office and had sex with her against her will, to the point that she passed out halfway through the interaction.
These accusations are way past the point of the occasional inappropriate or misguided touch.
It seems truly astounding (and confusing and depressing) that such actions could have been going on for so long at such a major program; without colleagues either knowing or caring enough to do anything about them.
And it’s beyond disturbing that Lauer may have actually committed these acts, of course.
Today remains the most-watched morning program among viewers between 25 and 54, the demographic most coveted by advertisers in news programming.
Lauer had been the head anchor since 1994, earning more than $25 million per year with his new contract.
It’s unclear at the moment who will take his place alongside Savannah Guthrie each morning, but that’s not really anyone’s focus right now.
We’re just trying to figure out what happened at the show, how it went unreported for so long… and whether we’d feel bad if Lauer were hung by his toenails for the next several hours.
Upon dismissing Lauer, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said the following:
"On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer…
“Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender.
"We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization – and do it in as transparent a manner as we can."
We’ll continue to keep readers apprised of this horrible story as it develops.