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    Matt Lauer says he’s ‘truly sorry’ in first statement after firing

    In his first statement since he was fired as co-host of “Today” by NBC News following allegations of sexual misconduct, Matt Lauer acknowledged the damage he caused and said repairing it “will take a lot of time and soul searching.”

    “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie read Lauer’s statement at the top of Thursday’s show. The statement claimed “some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized,” but admitted “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”

    Lauer said he regrets “that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.”


    NBC News also reported that two additional women came forward with claims of misconduct against Lauer after news of his firing broke. The company issued a statement that “prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct.”

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    Lauer has long been a valuable and highly visible part of NBC News and one of the highest-paid figures in the industry, and his downfall shook the network and rippled out across the roughly 4 million ‘‘Today’’ viewers who started their day with him.

    His firing Wednesday for what NBC called ‘‘inappropriate sexual behavior’’ with a colleague was quickly followed by a published report accusing him of crude and habitual misconduct with other women around the office.

    The trade publication Variety posted what it said was a two-month investigation that included dozens of interviews with current and former staffers who asked to remain anonymous.

    Among other things, Variety reported allegations that Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy with an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her; that he exposed himself to another female co-worker; that he would question female producers about their sex lives; and that he would talk about which co-hosts he would like to sleep with.

    The full text of the statement follows:


    ‘‘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. 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.

    “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.’’

    Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Rob DeCola can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @robdecola.