‘I am truly sorry’: Matt Lauer releases statement after sexual misconduct allegations

Matt Lauer has released a statement after he was fired Wednesday over sexual misconduct allegations.

Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie read the statement at the top of the show Thursday  morning.

The statement says:

"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 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."

Lauer was fired for what NBC on Wednesday called "inappropriate sexual behavior" with a colleague and was promptly confronted with a published report accusing him of crude and habitual misconduct with other women around the office.

Network news chief Andrew Lack said in a memo to the staff that NBC received a complaint about Lauer's behavior on Monday and determined he violated company standards. NBC said the misconduct started when Lauer and a network employee were at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued beyond that assignment.

Lack said it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer in his 20 years at NBC, but "we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."

NBC News received two new complaints against Lauer on Wednesday, "NBC Nightly News" reported. The network didn't respond to a request for comment.

Earlier Wednesday, it was left to Lauer's shaken "Today" colleagues, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, to break the news to viewers at the top of the morning's show.

Word of Lauer's abrupt exit came on the day of NBC's "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" special featuring the annual Manhattan tree-lighting ceremony. Lauer was to have co-hosted the Wednesday night program with Guthrie, Kotb and Al Roker.

Hours after the firing, 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.

Continuing coverage here.