Matt Lauer has broken his silence for the first time since his sudden firing from Today last November.
‘I have made no public comments on the many false stories from anonymous or biased sources that have been reported about me over these past several months,’ Lauer told The Washington Post on Thursday.
‘I remained silent in an attempt to protect my family from further embarrassment and to restore a small degree of the privacy they have lost. But defending my family now requires me to speak up.’
He continued: ‘I fully acknowledge that I acted inappropriately as a husband, father and principal at NBC. However I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive or abusive actions on my part, at any time, are absolutely false.’
On Thursday, the Post detailed new allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Lauer that were made by three women who were NBC employees at the time of the incidents.
War of words: Ann Curry also reveals that she reported Lauer personally to two members of NBC management
One woman said Lauer exposed himself to her in his office and asked her to touch his genitals; a second women claims she had sex with Lauer in his office during the workday; and a third said she was gifted a sex toy by Lauer.
Ann Curry also reveals that she reported Lauer personally to two members of NBC management after she was approached by a woman in tears who said she had been ‘sexually harassed physically’.
A woman approached me and asked me tearfully if I could help her,’ said Curry.
‘She was afraid of losing her job. . . . I believed her.’
Hiding in the Hamptons: Lauer has largely kept his down since being ousted from Today, largely staying in Sag Harbor
Curry said she then approached two members of NBC’s management team and urged them to keep an eye on Lauer and ‘how he deals with women.’
She would not however name the two individuals she spoke to about the allegations, and an NBC spokesperson said on Thursday that there is no record of Curry ever speaking to anyone in management.
That was in 2012, and while Lauer suffered no repercussions, Curry was soon off Today after just a year at the anchor desk amidst floundering ratings.
Curry said back in January that she was not surprised to learn that Lauer had been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple people in an interview with CBS This Morning.
When asked if she thought Lauer abused his power on the set of Today, Curry said: ‘You know, I’m trying not do harm in these conversations. I can tell you I am not surprised by the allegations.’
She went on to state: ‘I’m trying not to hurt people. I know what it’s like to be publicly humiliated. I never did anything wrong to be publicly humiliated and I don’t want to cause that kind of pain to somebody else.
‘I can say that, because you’re asking me a very direct question, I can say that I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed. I think it would be surprising if someone said that they didn’t see that. It was verbal sexual harassment.’
When asked to clarify her statement, Curry said: ‘ I don’t want to cause more pain. You’re asking me a very direct question. I’m an honest person, I want to tell you that it was, yes, period.
The conversation later turned to Lauer’s role in the ousting of Curry.
‘In your opinion, many thought Matt Lauer was behind you leaving the Today show. I’d like to know what you feel about that. We’ve never talked about it. I always wondered. Your last day was very emotional, very difficult for you clearly and I don’t want to upset you here either…’ said Gayle King, prompting Curry to respond: ‘Oh, don’t worry. I’m not going start crying.’
She then said she was not the only person to ask this question.
‘ I don’t know what all was behind it,’ she continued. ‘I do know it hurt like hell, it wasn’t a fun moment, I’ve learned a great deal about myself. I’ve at this point let it go. I just let it go, and I want to sort of really move on from that.’
Curry’s ousting from the top on-air post by NBC executives back in 2012 became a public relations nightmare for the network.
NBC was widely criticized in the wake of that move, especially for the callous manner in which they dismissed the beloved veteran.
Curry was then forced to present the news as though it were her own decision, breaking down in tears on live television as she told viewers she would not longer be hosting with Lauer, just one year after she received the much coveted anchor chair. tant