The now disgraced longtime “Today” show host Matt Lauer appears to have deactivated his social media profiles, a drastic measure possibly taken to avoid publicity on the heels of accusations of sexual assault from as many as eight women, Fox News reported.
Lauer’s downfall started with a Wednesday announcement on the “Today” show stating that someone had come forward to NBC with allegations of sexual harassment. No details were available about the complaint, but the accusation was serious enough for Lauer to be immediately fired.
The complaint described a pattern of inappropriate sexual behavior that began while Lauer and a colleague were on assignment at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, according to NBC statements. After Lauer was fired, more women came forward with their stories.
The allegations against Lauer include sending lewd photos and text messages to co-workers, sexually assaulting an employee in his office in 2001, exposing himself to a woman, sending a sex toy to a co-worker, and having a door-lock button wired to the desk in his office.
Lauer apologized for what he called his “troubling flaws” in a statement read out on the NBC morning show on Thursday, Nov. 30. Lauer said in his statement that some of the accusations against him were “untrue or mischaracterized,” without explaining further, but said that “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.” Lauer, 59, is married.
“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,” he wrote in a statement that his former co-hosts read on Thursday.
“As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC,” Lauer continued. “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.”
NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said the network had never received a complaint about Lauer‘s conduct prior to Monday but that “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Jeff Zucker, a former “Today” show producer who rose up the ranks to become president of NBCUniversal, said he had never heard any complaints against Lauer during his time at the network, where he spent 25 years before joining CNN as president in 2013.
“There was never a suggestion of that kind of deviant, predatory behavior, not even a whisper of it,” Zucker said during the Business Insider IGNITION 2017 conference in New York on Thursday. He called the allegations against Lauer “incredibly disturbing” and sad.
Lauer was promoted to a host of the “Today” show in 1997 and went on to become one of NBC’s highest-paid personalities, reportedly being paid $20 million a year.
The network, owned by Comcast Corp., did not respond to questions about its plans for replacing Lauer.
NTD has not independently verified the accusations.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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