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Fired NBC Host Matt Lauer Apologizes for Sexual Misconduct


Co-anchors Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, right, sit on the set during a news segment of "Today" show, Nov. 30, 2017, in New York, in the wake of the firing of longtime "Today" show anchor and host Matt Lauer, for "inappropriate sexual behavior."

NBC television's Today show opened Thursday morning's broadcast with a statement from fired host Matt Lauer apologizing for the sexual misconduct that cost him his job.

"Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I'm committed to beginning that effort," Lauer said in his statement that was read on the air by his former co-host Savannah Guthrie. "The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws."

While he said he is "embarrassed and ashamed," he said some of the allegations against him are "untrue or mischaracterized."

NBC fired Lauer Wednesday, just hours before he was to have taken up his regular chore as host of Today — a job he had for 20 years.

FILE - Matt Lauer attends the Matrix Awards, hosted by New York Women in Communications, at the Sheraton Times Square in New York.
FILE - Matt Lauer attends the Matrix Awards, hosted by New York Women in Communications, at the Sheraton Times Square in New York.

"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," NBC News chairman Andy Lack said.

Since then, two more women have said they were on the receiving end of Lauer's actions.

NBC did not give any details of Lauer's alleged behavior.

But the show business newspaper Variety said Wednesday its two-month-long investigation uncovered accounts of Lauer giving a female co-worker a sex toy, dropping his pants in front of another woman, and quizzing female colleagues about their sex lives.

Variety said Lauer's alleged shenanigans were no secret among many NBC news staffers and that management failed to act until now because of the high ratings and sponsor dollars generated by the Today show.

NBC denies this, saying it only found out about Lauer's behavior Monday.

Lauer is the latest famous figure to lose his job or fight for his political and professional survival because of alleged inappropriate behavior toward women.

FILE - Garrison Keillor talks at his office in St. Paul, Minnesota, July 26, 2017.
FILE - Garrison Keillor talks at his office in St. Paul, Minnesota, July 26, 2017.

NBC dropped him the same day Minnesota Public Radio fired former "Prairie Home Companion" star Garrison Keillor because of what it calls "improper behavior." Keillor touched the bare back of an emotionally upset female colleague that he was consoling.

"She recoiled, I apologized," Keillor said. He also said he and the woman remained friends up until her lawyer called him.

CBS and PBS fired longtime newsman Charlie Rose last week for alleged sexual advances toward coworkers.

U.S. Democratic Senator Al Franken says he is "embarrassed" by a picture showing him grinning and holding his hands over the breasts of a sleeping woman in 2006, when he was a television comic. Other women have also leveled accusations against him.

Congressman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, is under pressure to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct — a charge he denies. Conyers was admitted to a hospital in Detroit on Thursday. No details for his hospital stay were made available, although The Detroit News reported that a family friend said Conyers is under "tremendous stress due to media hounding, and political vultures and serial accusers."

Others confronted with charges include actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, and Republican Senate candidate from Alabama, Roy Moore.

About 16 women have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment and worse. He has labeled the accusations "fake news."

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