After five months of silence, of living in exile and of keeping us all on tenterhooks about his next movements, Matt Lauer is stepping back into the public eye and commenting on his life and how it has been affected by the allegations of sexual assault that led to these five months of downtime.
Lauer didn’t go into too much detail in his first public statement, issued to The Washington Post, on Thursday, but the fact that he is talking is major.
“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. 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,” his statement begins.
He continues, taking the blame for his alleged actions during his time at Today that led to his unceremonious exit in November 2017.
“But defending my family now requires me to speak up,” Lauer notes. “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.”
Since his exit from Today, Lauer’s life has reportedly been upended. He and his ex-wife, Annette Roque, filed for divorce, and Lauer sought refuge at his home in the Hamptons. Reports from sources allegedly in the know about Lauer’s movements claimed in early April that Lauer was finally moving out of his Hamptons home at the insistence of Roque, and would likely be moving into a new place in Manhattan. It’s unclear if Lauer is planning any major career moves at this time, unlike fellow disgraced broadcast journalist Charlie Rose, who is reportedly planning to host a TV show interviewing the men brought down by allegations made in the initial #MeToo wave.
With Lauer’s vaguely apologetic statement, he’s taken the smallest step toward rehabilitating his public image, but it will take a lot more than just a short statement to gain any kind of goodwill or forgiveness.