NOTE: This article contains disturbing and sexually explicit language. Please read at your own discretion.
After five months of silence, former NBC Today show anchor Matt Lauer has released a statement to avoid “further embarrassment” due to media reports about his alleged behaviour.
In his latest statement, Lauer admits to wrongdoing, but he insists that the reports regarding any “coercive, aggressive, or abusive actions” are false.
“I have made no public comments on the many false stories from anonymous or biased sources that have been reported about me over the past several months … I remained silent as an attempt to protect my family from further embarrassment and to restore a small degree of privacy they have lost,” Lauer said in a statement to The Washington Post.
The statement continues, “I fully acknowledge that I acted inappropriately as a husband, father, and principal at NBC. However, I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive, or abusive actions on my part, at any time, are absolutely false.”
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Lauer’s former colleague and co-host Ann Curry recently told the Post that she approached two members of NBC’s management team after a female NBC employee told Curry that she was “sexually harassed physically” by Lauer.
“A woman approached me and asked me tearfully if I could help her. She was afraid of losing her job … I believed her,” Curry said.
“I told management they had a problem and they needed to keep an eye on him and how he deals with women,” Curry told the Post.
NBC fired Lauer in late November 2017 following reports of “inappropriate sexual behaviour.” Since he was fired from Today he has stayed away from the public eye and media.
Variety released a report in November alleging that “multiple” women had come forward with sexual harassment accusations against Lauer. Variety claimed it spent two months investigating Lauer, interviewing dozens of current and former employees at NBC.
In total, the publication said that it interviewed three women who said Lauer sexually harassed them, and Variety corroborated their stories. The women asked to remain anonymous for fear of impact on their careers.
Among the allegations:
- Lauer allegedly gave a colleague a sex toy as a gift and included a note saying how he wanted to “use it” on her
- Lauer allegedly called a female employee into his office, where he’s accused of dropping his pants and showing her his penis; the woman says she was later reprimanded by Lauer for not engaging in any sexual act
- Lauer allegedly liked to “play games” like “F**k, Marry, Kill” with female colleagues and interview subjects, often stating who he’d like to sleep with while playing
- Lauer allegedly had a “fixation” on women, despite being married for over a decade
- Lauer allegedly had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without having to get up
“There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” said a former producer to Variety. “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.”
Lauer released his initial statement hours after his termination which ended his over 20-year career at the Today show.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer said. “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.”
He added: “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 people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace,” his statement concluded.
Lauer’s latest statement was released Thursday in the same Washington Post report that claimed NBC anchor Tom Brokaw allegedly made unwanted advances to two women, including former anchor Linda Vester.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
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