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'To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry': Matt Lauer releases statement to 'Today'

FILE -- Matt Lauer prepares for the broadcast of the "Today" show in New York, Dec. 12, 2014. (Karsten Moran / Copyright 2017 The New York Times)

The firing of Matt Lauer again dominated the "Today" show as co-host Savannah Guthrie read a statement Thursday from her former colleague, who was fired earlier this week following sexual misconduct allegations.

"It's a difficult morning here again because our top story is once again about our former colleague Matt Lauer," said Hoda Kotb, who has filled in with Guthrie after Lauer was dismissed.

Guthrie then read a statement from Lauer that the network had received just moments before. It read:

"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."

Guthrie turned it over to correspondent Stephanie Gosk, who reported on the additional allegations against Lauer, which were first revealed in articles in Variety and the New York Times Wednesday afternoon.

Two additional women came forward to the network after the news initially broke early Wednesday, including one who claims she was sexually assaulted by Lauer in his office in 2001. There was also "a pattern of behavior," Gosk said, when Lauer allegedly invited female NBC employees to his hotel room late at night while covering the Olympics.

Gosk acknowledged that the Variety story included complaints from women who said they approached network executives about what Lauer had done, but that nothing happened. NBC News disputed those claims in a statement that read: "We can state unequivocally that prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer's conduct."

According to NBC News chairman Andy Lack, the company took swift action against the longtime anchor, firing Lauer roughly 24 hours after an employee came forward with a story of inappropriate sexual behavior that began during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

"Lauer was scheduled to host the Rockefeller tree lighting," Gosk said, referring to the event at the famous New York plaza in front of NBC headquarters. Gosk turned to Kotb and Guthrie and added, "but as you guys know he was not there last night."

Author Information: Washington-area native Stephanie Merry covers movies and pop culture for the Post.

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