Five months after being fired by NBC over allegations of sexual harassment, Matt Lauer has broken his silence by admitting he “acted inappropriately." But according to the statement he gave The Washington Post, the former news anchor believes he was never "coercive, aggressive, or abusive."
“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,” wrote Lauer. “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. 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.”
While 35 former and current NBC employees were interviewed about Matt Lauer's alleged behavior, 12 of these women claimed they were harassed and didn't report it. Three of these women described inappropriate sexual advances by Lauer, ranging from him exposing himself and asking one woman to touch his penis, to having sex in his office, and another being given a sex toy. Despite these claims, Lauer merely posits he wasn’t always on his best behavior.
Lauer was fired when a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” found its way to the top. In 2012, former Today show co-host Ann Curry reportedly warned NBC management they “had a problem” with Lauer after a woman told Curry she was “sexually harassed physically” by him. “I told management they had a problem and they needed to keep an eye on him and how he deals with women,” said Curry.
“She was afraid of losing her job…I believed her,” said Curry. She later added: “How are they going to complain about it if they are accusing someone who is overseeing the department that is supposed to protect them. ... Do you have a system that allows those who feel they have been victimized to air their complaints without fear they will lose their jobs? I don’t know a company that does.”