Former Today show host Matt Lauer, who was fired by NBC on Wednesday over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior, said Thursday morning that he is "truly sorry" for the pain his actions have caused.
"There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions," Lauer said in a statement read on Thursday's Today show by Savannah Guthrie. "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."
The statement continued: "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."
Lauer's statement comes after at least three woman have been reported to have filed complaints with NBC over the behavior of the powerful star, who once hosted a show in Philadelphia. Both Variety and the New York Times have published stories outlining allegations of sexual harassment.
According to Variety, which spoke to dozens of current and former staffers, Lauer gave one colleague a sex toy with a note describing how he wanted to use it on her. Another female employee said Lauer dropped his pants in front of her in his office, revealing his genitals.
A former NBC reporter also told Variety that network executives protected Lauer. NBC denied that claim, saying in a statement read on the Today show: "We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer's conduct."
The Variety piece did not make clear when complaints were made about Lauer's actions or to which executives the complaints were made.
The New York Times offered even more shocking allegations, including a claim by one former employee that Lauer "summoned her to his office in 2001, locked the door, and sexually assaulted her."
A 2006 video, obtained by TMZ, shows Lauer whispering to former Today show host Meredith Vieira, "Pretty sweater. Keep bending over like that. It's a nice view."