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Matt Lauer Offers Apology (With a Caveat)

A fixture of American living rooms for more than two decades, Mr. Lauer was uncharacteristically silent on Wednesday in the wake of his firing, which left the television industry stunned and dominated headlines around the country. His former co-host on the “Today” show, Savannah Guthrie, read his statement aloud at the start of Thursday’s 7 a.m. broadcast, saying the program had received Mr. Lauer’s remarks just moments before going on air.

“It is a difficult morning here again,” Ms. Guthrie said at the beginning of the show, as headlines flashed onscreen about “Troubling Allegations” involving the man who, until Tuesday, had welcomed millions of Americans every morning to the same broadcast.

Stephanie Gosk, an NBC News correspondent, came on set to present a report on the allegations against Mr. Lauer, describing him as “one of the most high-profile faces of the sexual harassment firestorm engulfing this country.” Ms. Gosk confirmed a report in The New York Times that two additional women had filed complaints about Mr. Lauer to NBC News on Wednesday, in the hours after the anchor’s firing was announced, bringing the total number of complaints against him to three.

In a sign of how dominant the issue of harassment has become, much of Thursday’s “Today” program touched on allegations of abuse and misconduct. Ms. Guthrie conducted an interview with Marion Brown, who described being harassed by Representative John Conyers of Michigan, who is at the center of his own scandal.


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Photo by From left: Theo Wargo/Getty; Richard Drew/AP; Richard Drew/AP.

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Megyn Kelly, the host of the show’s 9 a.m. hour, used her opening segment to invite Mr. Lauer’s accusers, and Mr. Lauer, to appear with her on the show.

“We have been that place in all the other cases, and we will be that place, as well as for the accused, here on this hour,” Ms. Kelly said, looking into the camera.


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Citing allegations from various news reports, Ms. Kelly also spent more time describing Mr. Lauer’s alleged misbehavior than his former co-hosts in the show’s 7 a.m. hour had.

Still, some members of the “Today” team found room for lighter fare. Ms. Guthrie and Mr. Lauer’s substitute, Hoda Kotb, gushed about the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on Wednesday evening, a live television event that Mr. Lauer had been scheduled to co-host (he did not appear). And when the meteorologist Al Roker came onscreen for his first weather report, he adopted his usual perky mien.

“You know what today is?” Mr. Roker said chirpily to his co-hosts. “It is the last day of hurricane season!”

He added, happily, “Let’s get rid of this thing.”

Follow Michael M. Grynbaum on Twitter: @grynbaum.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/business/media/matt-lauer-nbc-statement.html

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