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Matt Lauer issues statement after firing: ‘I am truly sorry’

Former “Today” host says some allegations are “untrue or mischaracterized,” but “there is enough truth ... to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”

Former

Former "Today" co-host Matt Lauer at The Edison Ballroom in Manhattan on Jan.  12, 2012. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Michael Loccisano

For the first time since he was fired by NBC News because of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” Matt Lauer broke his silence Thursday in a statement that expressed regret but also disputed some allegations.

Savannah Guthrie led off Thursday’s “Today” show with his statement, which she read on the air.

“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” the statement 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.

“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’s statement did not mention the specific allegations against him.

NBC announced Wednesday it fired Lauer, 59, who had a 20-year run as a “Today” co-host, after a woman — unnamed by the network — gave the network a detailed account of an encounter she had with him during the Sochi Olympics in 2014. NBC has confirmed that two others had come forward since then with harassment complaints about Lauer.

Variety on Wednesday published a story that said multiple women had filed complaints against Lauer. Those interviewed described inappropriate behavior that included exposing himself, Variety reported. Some staffers told the publication that Lauer had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his office door.

“Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort,” Lauer said in the statement. “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.”

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