Hours after NBC fired Matt Lauer over allegations of sexual misconduct, new stories emerged, detailing how the former "Today" show host used his power to demand sex and silence from women who worked under him.
A slew of stories, including reports from Variety, Page Six and The New York Times, describe how Lauer, 59, allegedly sent sexual text messages to colleagues, exposed himself, made overt sexual advances and in one instance, called a co-worker to his office for sex. Lauer has issued a statement apologizing for his actions but claims some of the allegations against him are false, according to NBC News. The statement was read on the "Today" show by Lauer's longtime co-host, Savannah Guthrie:
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.
Page Six reports the woman who filed the formal complaint leading to Lauer's firing is a junior production worker who was approached by Lauer when she was an intern during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
According to a source familiar with the discussion, Lauer was fired so quickly because the woman had undeniable evidence of his sexual misconduct, including sexual messages and explicit photos.
"There's at least one picture [sent to her by Matt] which was a major part of the evidence, which is why the firing came so quickly... my understanding was it was so damning that it was unquestionable whether or not he should be fired," the source told Page Six.
Two more incidents involving different women were reported by Variety. In the first incident, Lauer gifted a co-worker a sex toy and included a note describing how he wanted to use it on the woman.
In a separate incident, Lauer called a woman into his office and dropped his pants, exposing himself. The woman refused to perform any sexual acts resulting in Lauer scolding her, according to Variety.
One producer told Variety that Lauer also had consensual relationships with multiple women who worked under him.
"He couldn't sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he's Matt Lauer and he's married," the producer said. "So he'd have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn't ever complain."
Perhaps the most serious allegation against Lauer is one of sexual assault, ending with a woman in a nurse's office.
The New York Times reports that in 2001, Lauer called the woman into his office and locked the door using a button installed in his desk. Lauer allegedly asked the woman to unbutton her blouse before he pulled down her pants, bent her over a chair and had sex with her.
The woman says she passed out at some point during the encounter and woke up on the floor of Lauer's office. Lauer then had his assistant take her to a nurse.
The incident went unreported because the woman feared losing her job and felt ashamed she hadn't stopped the assault, according to The Times.
The woman, who left NBC a year later, has been contacted by NBC human resources since sharing her story with a former supervisor after Lauer was fired.
Sources: NBC News, Page Six, Variety, The New York Times / Featured Image: Max Goldberg/Flickr / Embedded Images: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons, Caleb Smith/Office of the Speaker via Wikimedia Commons