Just one day after television veteran Matt Lauer was fired from the Today show following allegations that he sexually harassed a colleague, he released a statement apologizing for his actions. "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,” the statement read. “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.”
He 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. It's been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
Matt’s co-stars and friends are speaking out about his shocking NBC departure. His co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, was the first to break the surprising news alongside Hoda Kotb at the start of Wednesday, Nov. 29's Today broadcast.
"This is a sad morning for us at Today show and at NBC News. Just moments ago, NBC chairman Andy Lack sent the following note to our organization: 'On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment. While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,'" Savannah read.
Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News. On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. pic.twitter.com/1A3UAZpvPb
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 29, 2017
"'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,'" she continued. "'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 matter as we can.'"
After reading the statement, Savannah addressed the situation with tears. "We learned this moments ago, just this morning. As you can imagine, we are devastated and we are still processing all of this. I will tell you, we do not know more than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story, as reporters, as journalists. I'm sure we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come, and we promise we will share that with you," she said. “I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend, and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here. And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell."
Hoda, who filled Matt's seat this morning, chimed in as well. "It’s hard to reconcile with what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every single day," she shared. "We were both woken up with the news, kind of pre-dawn, and we’re trying to process it and trying to make sense of it — and it’ll take some time for that." Later in the show, Megyn Kelly also opened up about the unfortunate situation. "This one does hit close to home. I, too, have known Matt for a long time. He has been a friend, and kind and supportive to me in my transition to NBC News," she began.
"I see the anguish on my colleagues faces. But when this happens, what we don’t see is the pain on the faces of those who found the courage to come forward. It is a terrifying thing to do. We don’t see the career opportunities women lose because of sexual harassment, or the intense stress it causes a woman dealing with it when she comes to work each day. I am thinking of those women this morning, and hoping they are okay. The days to come will not be easy," Megyn continued. "I have been at another news channel where this happened, as you know. In my experiences, a news organization is bigger than any one person. They all face challenges, they all stumble, but the good ones stay standing and forge forward, fulfilling their core mission: journalism. We’ll continue to stay on this story and bring you more as we know it."
NBC meteorologist Al Roker later stated that he's "trying to process" the news while Willie Geist shared on the MSNBC program Morning Joe, "I’m stunned. He is the leader over there; he is in charge. He is one of the guys I have always looked up to in this business, and he taught me a lot."
The news of Matt's firing comes just days after Closer Weekly reported that he had intentions of leaving the show once his $20 million per year contract was up. "Matt’s heart just hasn’t been in the job this past year," a source recently told In Touch. The insider continued, "He has to get up at 3 a.m. every day. It’s taken a toll." They added, "His career has taken him away from his family. He wants to spend as much time with his kids before they go off to the next stages of their lives."