EXCLUSIVE: Matt Lauer seen leaving his $33M Hamptons estate to meet lawyer 'as he tries to negotiate $30MILLION pay-off from NBC' after he was fired over sexual harassment allegations
- Matt Lauer was photographed by DailyMail.com driving?out from behind the gates of his $33million Hamptons estate on Thursday morning?
- He then met up with his friend Eddie Burke Jr, a lawyer whose firm specializes in?real estate, negligence and criminal law
- He admitted that his 'troubling flaws' have led to the allegations against him which he said had 'enough truth' in an apology read in full on Today?
- Reports also suggest his team is working to get him a $30million payout ?
- One woman received a sex toy with 'an explicit note about how [Lauer] wanted to use it on her' while Lauer flashed another woman?
- During one alleged encounter in 2001 he had sex with a married staffer until she passed out, with his assistant later taking her to the hospital she claims
- Three women have now filed complaints?with NBC over the alleged harassment they endured at the hands of Lauer?
- Good Morning America reported on Thursday that executives and anchors at NBC were aware of Lauer's sexual misconduct, referring to it as an open secret
Matt Lauer has been spotted for the first time since his firing, with DailyMail.com photographing the disgraced newsman at his Hamptons home.
The former NBC host was seen in a jeep as he drove out from behind the gates of his $33million estate on Thursday while still wearing his wedding ring.?
He headed into town where he met with his lawyer friend, Eddie Burke Jr.
The ousted Today Show host emerged from his palatial home as his legal team began working towards getting him a $30million golden parachute from NBC, Page Six?reported.?
His lawyers are also believed to be devising a plan to get him the $20million he would have earned through his contract, which would have lasted until the end of 2018, but a morality clause may stop him getting anything.
NBC told DailyMail.com they would not be commenting on reports about a potential payout. ?
Lauer was seen handing Burke, who specializes in real estate, negligence and criminal law, an envelope moments after stepping out of his car. He then got back into the vehicle and headed home.?
Burke previously defended basketball star Jason Kidd when he was charged with drunk driving shortly after the then-Brooklyn Nets coach was hit with a misdemeanor drunken driving charge after a 2012 crash.
Lauer's mid-morning outing came shortly after Today read the ex-anchor's full apology on the air at the start of the program on Thursday.
'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,' said Lauer.?
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Here's Matt: Matt Lauer was photographed by DailyMail.com driving out from behind the gates of his $33million Hamptons estate on Thursday morning?
Spotted: It is the first time Lauer has been seen since he was fired by NBC on Tuesday night
Apology: '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,' said Lauer on Thursday (above meeting with lawyer and friend Eddie Burke Jr.)
List: Lauer headed nto town where he met with an unidentified gentleman, handing him an envelope in the street after stepping out of his car
?Drive by: '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,' noted the disgraced anchor
Off he goes: 'I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly,' said Lauer
Still got it: Lauer was seen wearing his wedding ring as he drove off on Thursday (above)
Shaved: 'As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC, he said in that apology?
New bombshell:?Good Morning America reported on Thursday that executives at NBC were aware of Lauer's sexual misconduct, referring to it as an open secret (l to r: Michael Strahan, Robin Roberts and George?Stephanopoulos on Thursday above)
'The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my troubling flaws. It has been humbling.
'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.'?
Over on ABC, Today rivals Good Morning America disputed the network's claims that no 'current executives' knew of Lauer's sexual misconduct, saying that claims was 'at odds' with their own reporting on the scandal.?
The only morning show not to be rocked by a sex scandal over the past few weeks also got a bit glib, with ABC reporter Linsey Davis telling viewers 'some of the details that emerged are simply too graphic for morning television.'
Davis then went on to fully detail every public allegation that has been made against Lauer.
'It appeared to be an open secret from your reporting,' Robin Roberts said to Davis, adding that Andy Lack 'doubled down overnight saying unequivocally there were no complaints before Monday night.'
Roberts then said to Davis: 'That's at odds with your reporting.'
Davis responded: 'It is at odds with our reporting. We had talked to dozens of former and current staffers who say that there was general knowledge within all ranks of NBC between staffers, high ranking executives, other anchors that were on air with Lauer.'?
Natalie Morales also spoke about the fallout in the wake of these revelations on Access Hollywood.?
'Savannah, Hoda and Al putting on a brave show at last night's Christmas tree lighting. All smiles with the clear tension,' noted Morales.
'Al did put out the nice Instagram pic, not this one, but this was yesterday as the show, they were discovering the news.'
Morales then went on to discuss the amount of work that had to be done prior to air time by the three and the crew at NBC.
'It had to be really hard because the producers had to edit out some of the segments because some of the singers were prerecorded and they had to edit around Matt's part because he had did parts of the introductions,'said Morales, going on to say that people she spoke with at the network were 'shocked' at the new claims.?
'And it all unfolded live as you saw on TV yesterday, with Savannah and Hoda and Al on TV all processed it as they were getting tha,t and they really delivered such heartfelt emotions in that very raw moment and, you know, I can't say enough about how well they handled that.'
Morales went on to say: 'And they really learned about this just moments before going on the air.'
She then confirmed reports that the email was sent to staff announcing the news 10 minutes before 'Today' aired on Wednesday.?
Hoda Kotb was in again for Lauer, with her and Savannah Guthrie appearing in considerably good spirits given their marathon Wednesday.
LAUER ADMITS SHAME AND WRONGDOING
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.
The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my troubling flaws. It has been humbling.
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.'
As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC ?
I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.
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.
During the opening segment, Today also highlighted the comments made by Morales on Tuesday, who urged the network to do the right thing before stating: 'When and if she wants to tell her story publicly, I'm sure she will, but it did take a lot of courage for her to come forward. It was no doubt a very painful decision.'
Lauer's apology, read out on the show this morning, came hours after more graphic details of the allegations against the host emerged.?
In the latest allegation, a married NBC staffer claimed she woke up in Matt Lauer's office with her pants halfway down her legs after having sex with the anchor until she passed out.?
The woman told The New York Times that the longtime Today Show host's assistant had to take her to see a nurse after the alleged encounter in 2001.
The former employee, who was in her 40s at the time, said Lauer first made advances towards her while covering a story away from their New York headquarters in the late 1990s.?
She described moving away from him during a car journey to the airport because he was sitting 'uncomfortably close', to which he apparently replied: 'You're no fun'.
Then, in 2001, she claims the married Lauer summoned her to his office at 30 Rock in New York to discuss work. She says he then used a button under his desk to lock the door and then told her to unbutton her blouse.
She said the veteran broadcaster then stepped out from behind his desk, pulled out a chair, bent her over, and started having sex with her until she fell unconscious.
The woman told The Times she woke up a while later on the floor of his office with her pants halfway down her legs, prompting his assistant to take her to seek medical attention.
The ex-staffer, who has not been named, is one of a string of women who have come forward accusing Lauer of sexual misconduct.?
She did not tell NBC about the alleged incident at the time because she thought she could have done more to stop Lauer's actions, and she left around a year later.
Another day: Today show hosts ?Savannah Guthrie on the set in New York Thursday (above)
Back at it: Hoda Kotb was once again in for Lauer on the show (above on Thursday)?
Better spirits: Al Roker (above) appeared to be in better spirits than he had been one day prior
In the news: Kotb and Guthrie prepare to launch into a Lauer segment halfway through the show on Thursday (above)
NBC executives fired Lauer on Tuesday night soon after they saw a string of lewd messages and explicit photos he sent an intern during the Sochi Olympics, reports suggest.?
His departure was announced by visibly-shaken co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Wednesday morning, and a number of explosive stories on his alleged conduct during his time at the Rockefeller Center quickly followed.?
He has been accused of flashing his penis at one woman and buying another a sex toy.
There was also a stunning revelation that he had a button under his desk that would lock to the door to his office.
It was a security-measure used by most high-profile employees at NBC, but Lauer allegedly used it at least once so he could have sex with the NBC staffer in 2001.???
The NBC investigation that led to his spectacular downfall was sparked by an intern who accused him of sexually assault at the beginning in 2014 at the Sochi Olympics.
She shared her account with the human resources and legal departments of NBC News on Monday - Lauer was fired just 24 hours later.
He was sacked so quickly because of lewd messages he sent the female staffer, and at least one explicit picture.
Variety?also spoke with 10 past and present workers at the company who accused Lauer of a vast array of sexual misconduct, including the intern who claims she was attacked at Sochi.?
NBC's swift response was still not enough for some women however, who said their complaints to executives at the company fell on deaf ears.
An NBC spokesperson disputed this to DailyMail.com, stating: 'We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct.'?
Busy day: Kotb and Guthrie (above with Lester Holt ?and Al Roker) both put on a brave faces for the 85th Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting, just hours after Lauer was axed from NBC
Through the years: ?Lauer and his cohosts over the past two decades (clockwise from top: Katie Couric, Meredith Viera and Ann Curry)
Lauer is said to have sexted female coworkers during his stint at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. He is seen interviewing members of the USA Women's Hockey Team?
Cartoon villain:?Lauer reportedly had a button under his desk at 30 Rock (above) that allowed him to lock the door while inside the office. A woman said that she had sex with the anchor in 2001 until she passed out, and eventually woke up on his floor with her pants down?
Those interviewed said it was at the OIympic Games where Lauer made moves on a number of female staff members.
'Lauer would invite women employed by NBC late at night to his hotel room while covering the Olympics in various cities over the years,' claims Variety reporter Ramin Setoodeh.?
'He later told colleagues how his wife had accompanied him to the London Olympics because she didn’t trust him to travel alone.'?
None of the 10 individuals who spoke with Variety are identified in the piece, including the woman who got the sex toy along with 'an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her.'
That woman said she was 'mortified,' while a fellow co-worker's state was described as 'visibly shaken' after ?Lauer allegedly flashed her in his office.
When she did not do anything, Lauer reportedly 'reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.'
And in that office Lauer had a device under his desk that allowed him to lock the door, something he had added after the departure of his co-host Katie Couric in 2006.
'His office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up,' writes Setoodeh.?
'This afforded him the assurance of privacy. It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him.'
That information came courtesy of two of the women who spoke with the writer of the piece.
'There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,' said one producer.?
'He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.'
While not named, one woman in particular seemed to catch Lauer's eye according to those interviewed for the piece.?
'Several employees recall how he paid intense attention to a young woman on his staff that he found attractive, focusing intently on her career ambitions,' reads the story.?
'And he asked the same producer to his hotel room to deliver him a pillow.'
Tough morning: The news was announced at the top of Wednesday's program by Savannah Guthrie, who could be seen clutching Hoda Kotb's hand for support (above)
Timing:?This all comes just as exposes detailing claims of sexual misconduct against Lauer are set to be released by Variety and The New York Times (Kotb above on Wednesday)
'This is a very tough morning for both of us. I've known Matt for 15 years. And I've loved him as a friend and a colleague,' said Kotb
Shut it down:?Natalie Morales said on Access Hollywood (above) that she was shocked, and firmly stated once again that she and Lauer did not engage in a relationship at Today
Lauer's fixation on woman's bodies and physical appearance is also a big part of the story, with multiple people saying that he would often play the game 'F***, Marry or Kill' with staffers.
One of the show's anchors would often gossip about Lauer's sexual escapades according to staffers while a former reporter said: 'Management sucks there. They protected the s*** out of Matt Lauer.'
He is exiting meanwhile in the wake of his longtime booker Matt Zimmerman also losing his job.
Zimmerman was also dismissed for sexual harassment.?
Reporter Yashar Ali also shared on Wednesday that he too had spoken to at least one individual who accused Lauer of exposing himself in her presence.
Lauer leaves his job as the longest-running morning show anchor on network television and the highest paid, taking home an annual salary of $25million prior to his termination.
Lack told staffers on Friday during their editorial call that Lauer had expressed remorse when he informed him of the network's decision to terminate his contract, less than 24 hours after an investigation was launched into his accuser's claims.
'This is a sad morning here at Today and NBC News,' said a tearful Savannah Guthrie while revealing the news at the start of the popular morning show.
Guthrie then read the letter that NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack had sent to employees just moments before, which stated that Lauer's alleged offense may not have been an 'isolated incident.'
'We learned this moments ago, just this morning. As you can imagine, we are devastated. And we are still processing all of this,' said Guthrie on Tuesday morning.?
'I will tell you, we do not know more than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story, as reporters, as journalists. I'm sure we'll learn more details in the hours and days to come. We promise to share that with you.'
The scandal was later addressed by former Today host Natalie Morales on Access Hollywood early Wednesday afternoon, who addressed the long-held rumors that she and Lauer had a relationship during her time on the show.?
'I woke up to the news like everyone this morning — just in shock. The Today show of course, has been my family for 16 years now and it is difficult. I think everyone is saying how difficult it is to process the news,' said Morales.
'I have personally dealt with rumors in the past for years that were hurtful to me, my family – they diminished my hard work. I've addressed those rumors head-on in the past. That is not the story today.'
She then firmly stated: 'The story today is the courage of a colleague who did come forward, and when and if she wants to tell her story publicly, I’m sure she will. But it did take a lot of courage for her to come forward. It was no doubt a very painful decision.'?
It seems that he will not be missed by all of his past and former co-workers however, with former MSNBC host Keith Olberman tweeting: 'Matt Lauer was remorsely vindictive and tyrannical to everyone at NBC News and management repeatedly enabled him and buried the issue.'?
Civil rights lawyer?Ari Wilkenfeld is representing the woman accusing Lauer, who met with the Times on Monday but said she was not yet ready to reveal her identity or share her story.
NBC CHAIRMAN ANDY LACK MEMO TO STAFF
On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment. While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he's been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.
Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender.
We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization -- and do it in as transparent a manner as we can. To that end, Noah and I will be meeting with as many of you as possible throughout the day today to answer your questions.
'My client and I met with representatives from NBC’s Human Resources and Legal Departments at 6 p.m. on Monday for an interview that lasted several hours,' said Wilkenfeld in a statement to DailyMail.com on Wednesday.
'Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly, as all companies should, when confronted with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace.'?
He went on to state: 'While I am encouraged by NBC’s response to date, I am in awe of the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than the company do the right thing.'?
DailyMail.com reached out to Wilkenfeld to see if he could confirm the date of the alleged incident.?
Guthrie maintained her composure throughout the opening segment despite tearing up at times, and at one point was clutching on to co-host Hoda Kotb.
'Hoda, I mean, you know, for the moment, all we can say is we are heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner. And he is beloved by many, many people here,' said Guthrie.
'And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.'
Guthrie, in comments that very much echoed the ones made just last week by CBS This Morning hosts Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King, then spoke about this watershed moment for victims of sexual misconduct.
'We are grappling with a? dilemma that so many people have faced these weeks. How do you reconcile your love for someone with the recognition that they have behaved badly. And I don't know the answer to that,' said Guthrie.?
'But I know this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important. It's long overdue. And it must result in workplaces where all women, all people, feel safe and respected.'
She then stated: 'As painful as it is this moment in our culture, and this change, had to happen.'
Guthrie and Kotb learned the news just before they went on air, as did the rest of the NBC News staff.?
'On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,' wrote Lack in his letter.?
'It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.
'Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender.
'We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization – and do it in as transparent a manner as we ca
Cast and crew: Lauer posed with his colleagues back in January (above) as he celebrated his 20th anniversary as anchor on Today
Fired: Matt Lauer (above on November 8) has been terminated by NBC News following a claim that he sexually assaulted a colleague?
Thanks for the memories: Lauer and Guthrie share a joyful embrace back in January
In a statement on Wednesday, Today said: 'Matt Lauer has been terminated from NBC News. On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.'
Kotb also spoke about Lauer's departure and how the network would cover the news moving forward on Today.
'This is a very tough morning for both of us. I've known Matt for 15 years. And I've loved him as a friend and a colleague,' said Kotb.?
SAVANNAH'S TEARFUL COMMENTS ON LAUER
We learned this moments ago, just this morning. As you can imagine, we are devastated. And we are still processing all of this.
I will tell you, we do not know more than what I just shared with you. But we will be covering this story, as reporters, as journalists. I'm sure we'll learn more details in the hours and days to come. We promise to share that with you.?
Hoda, I mean, you know, for the moment, all we can say is we are heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner. And he is beloved by many, many people here.?
And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell.?
And we are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these weeks. How do you reconcile your love for someone with the recognition that they have behaved badly.?
And I don't know the answer to that. But I know this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important. It's long overdue. And it must result in workplaces where all women, all people, feel safe and respected.?
As painful as it is this moment in our culture, and this change, had to happen.
'And just like you were saying, Savannah. It's hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every, single day. We're both woken up with the news kind of pre-dawn. And we're trying to process it and make sense of it.'
Lauer had been at the helm of Today since January 6, 1997, having initially started at NBC in 1992 when he filled in as a newsreader on Today before joining the show in a full-time role two years later.?
Lauer has also interviewed the last four sitting presidents during his time on Today.?
The current Commander-in-Chief responded to the shocking news with a somewhat irreverent post on Twitter, writing: 'Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!'
He later followed that up by writing: 'So now tha Matt Lauer is gone when will the Fake News practitioners at NBC be terminating the contract of Phil Griffin? And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the “unsolved mystery” that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!'
Later on Today, Megyn Kelly also spoke about the termination of the morning show's golden child.
'This one does hit close to home. I, too, have known Matt for a long time. And he's been a friend and kind and supportive to me in my transition to NBC News. And I see the anguish on my colleagues' faces,' said a somber Megyn.?
'But when this happens, what we don't see is the pain on the faces of those who found the courage to come forward. And it is a terrifying thing to do. We don't see the career opportunities women lose because of sexual harassment or the intense stress it causes a woman dealing with it when she comes to work each day.?
She then added: 'I am thinking of those women this morning and hoping they are okay.'?
Hopeful segment: Jenna Bush Hager, who was not in the studio on Wednesday, did not comment on the news directly but did comment on a segment about children with cancer transforming into superheroes by tweeting: 'Needed this today'
Ally:?Harvey Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan also commented, writing on Twitter: 'Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Matt Lauer. "Today Show" #ROSEARMY'
Her view: Joy Behar responded to the news by noting Lauer's alleged role in pushing out Ann Curry back in 2012 and saying: 'Karma's a b****'
Response:?CBS This Morning opened their show with the news, with anchors Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King (above) recounting their own very similar experience just last week with Charlie Rose
Al Roker meanwhile commented on Lauer's departure as his longest serving on-air co-workers by stating: 'I’m still trying to process the news.'?
He said nothing else on the subject, with the normally giddy and goofy weatherman appearing visible shaken throughout the program.
Jenna Bush Hager, who was not in the studio on Wednesday, did not comment on the news directly but did comment on a segment about children with cancer transforming into superheroes by tweeting: 'Needed this today.'?
CBS This Morning opened their show with the news, with anchors Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King recounting their own very similar experience just last week with Charlie Rose.
'I'm so sorry to say we all know how they feel today,' said King after noting Kotb and Guthrie's difficult segment sharing the news.
'We know that feeling of reeling in shock and how you get through one step at a time. It's a very, very sad story to hear.'
The ladies of The View addressed the news as well, with former NBC producer Sarah Haines taking it particularly hard.?
'I mean this was hard for me to hear because I grew up at the Today show and I worked with Matt for years. I felt many sentiments,' said a cautious Haines.
'First and foremost, no one gets a pass. That behavior is never okay.'
She then explained however that she had nothing but good memories of her time with the man.
'I personally had such great experiences with Matt. He was sun that cheer-leaded for me. Supported me. As I know, as Savannah said, he was beloved there,' said Haines.
'I commend the person with the bravery who comes out to speak about any of this type of behavior. It's just I -- I feel for my friends over there today. I know it's a dark day at the "Today" show. It's just hard. It's hard.'
Joy Behar meanwhile took a different approach, responding to the news by declaring: 'Karma's a b****.'
She made that remark after Meghan McCain spoke about how upset she was by the way NBC and Lauer appeared to treat Ann Curry when she exited the network back in 2012.
'Those are dark days for the show, as well. So many people cared about both of them. As you watched things play out. That wasn't a good time,' noted Haines.?
'I don't think for people behind the scenes, it wasn't as clear cut. It hurt on both sides.'?
Commenting:?'This one does hit close to home. I, too, have known Matt for a long time. And he's been a friend and kind and supportive to me in my transition to NBC News,' said megyn Kelly (above on Wednesday)?
KLG on the case: Gifford urged Lauer to reach out to God and blessed his family in their time of need
Harvey Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan also commented, writing on Twitter: 'Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Matt Lauer. "Today Show" #ROSEARMY'?
And on Morning Joe, the panel learned of the news on-air, with Joe Scarborough saying: 'Obviously very sad news for everybody here at NBC. Obviously, for the person who was brave enough to come forward, also as Savannah said there, for a lot of people at the Today show that have known and loved Matt for a very long time.?
'You know, Mike Barnicle said after the passing of Tim Russert that television is an MRI for the soul that, you know, if you see somebody long enough on TV you really can get a look at who is inside. I'll tell you, that was true with Tim and, my gosh, with Savannah right there. Savannah and Hoda.'
He then added: 'They're there because -- you know, Willie, that was very moving. I didn't know Matt really well but you worked with him an awful lot. And I would guess that despite these terrible circumstances,?like Hoda and like Savannah, you've considered him a friend for a long time and worked with him. So this has to be devastating news.'
Geist, who some have begun pegging as a possible replacement for Lauer, confirmed Scarborough's statement.
'Yeah. I'm stunned. Like Savannah, I didn't know anything about this until a couple of minutes ago. I don't know what the allegations are specifically. But my heart is with the person who made those allegations for stepping forward,' said Geist.?
'My heart is with my friends over there, Savannah, one of my dearest friends. I think you saw her class and her grace and her professionalism come through right there, along with Hoda. And it's with the staff of the Today show that's worked with Matt for almost 25 years and considered him a friend.?
'And he is the leader over there. You know, is he in charge. So I'm thinking about all my friends across the street and my thoughts, of course, are with Matt. He has been a friend. He has been a mentor.?
'He has been a guy you could watch, a guy who led by his example on the set, the way he treated the crew, the way he knew everybody's name, the class and dignity he carried himself?with. Obviously, I didn't know about these other things that we'll in and out -- we'll now be examining and reporting ourselves. I looked up to him and he taught me a whole lot.'
Ladies: Lauer was?briefly engaged to television newscaster Kristen Gesswein (left) but they split in 1996; he married wife Annette two years later (right in 2007)
Kids incorporated: Lauer with Jack, Romy, and Thijs at a 2016 New York Knicks game
Lauer has been married for almost 20 years to wife Annette, a former model who was born in the Netherlands.
The two wed in 1998, just one year after he was made a co-anchor of the show.
Lauer and his wife have three children -?Jack, and Romy and Thijs -who live in East Hampton with their mother while their their father stays in the city alone from Monday through Thursday in an Upper East Side bachelor pad.
His first marriage, to television producer Nancy Alspaugh, ended in divorce in 1988.
Lauer was also briefly engaged to television newscaster Kristen Gesswein, but they split in 1996, two years before he married Annette.
Lauer and his wife came close to splitting back in 2006 after Annette filed court papers stating that he husband valued his work over his family and was 'extremely controlling.'
Furthermore, Annette claimed at the time she suffered 'cruel and inhuman' treatment at the hands of Lauer, who also demonstrated 'extreme anger and hostility towards her.'?
Matt filed his own legal action days later, saying any 'cruel and inhuman treatment' he may have exhibited was 'provoked' by his wife.?
It is unclear what he and his wife will so in the wake of this scandal, but Kathie lee Gifford expressed her hope that the two stay together on Wednesday.
'I don't know. I'm grappling with should I even share something, but I guess I really should. The feeling when you've been -- and I don't feel that Matt has betrayed us in any way at all - but when I found out that my husband had betrayed me, you question your own judgment. You question, you say was everything a lie?' said Gifford.?
'I think we have to fight against that. Very much fight against that. That the man we know and adored was the man we loved and adored and continued to. I texted him this morning and?said "I adore you, and no person is perfect in this world." Nobody is. We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of god is what scripture says. And what we need now is forgiveness and we need mercy for one another and don't need taunts and ugliness.'
Goioford continued: 'I send out my love right now to the person who came forward. May god heal that person. I send it to Matt and his children and his wife. May god bless family and heal. The only thing I'm sure of is only god can heal it and just -there's no bad time to reach out for his help. No bad time.'??
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