WATCH: Matt Lauer Through the Years
Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Matt Lauer breaks silence months after being accused of sexual harassment

Former “Today” show host Matt Lauer broke his silence Wednesday for the first time since he was abruptly dismissed from NBC’s morning talk show amid allegations that he sexually harassed women in the workplace.

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Lauer, 60, said in a statement to The Washington Post that he has kept his silence “to protect my family from further embarrassment and to restore a small degree of the privacy they have lost.”

“Defending my family now requires me to speak up,” he said. “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.”

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Lauer was fired from the "Today" show in November after a colleague complained to NBC officials that Lauer engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. Subsequent reports showed the allegations went back more than a decade. A spokesperson for NBC said in a statement after Lauer’s dismissal that network management “was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct” prior to the incident that prompted his dismissal.

>> Related: Matt Lauer fired over allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior

Several women who worked Lauer later told publications, including Variety magazine and The New York Times, about other alleged instances of sexual harassment involving Lauer.

Lauer apologized in a statement read on “Today” by co-host Savannah Guthrie.

"To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry," the statement said. "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.”

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