Matt Lauer, Angela Lansbury Respond to Backlash

Following his firing yesterday from NBC’s “Today” show yesterday over inappropriate sexual conduct in the workplace, former news anchor Matt Lauer released a statement on Thursday morning regarding the actions taken.

The statement, published on NBC News, comes after Variety published the results of a two month investigation into Lauer’s behavior which included alleged acts such as Lauer dropping his pants in front of a female colleague and reprimanding her for not performing a sex act, and giving a sex toy to another colleague with a note telling her how he’d use it on her. In his statement, Lauer says:

“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.”

Meanwhile acting veteran Angela Lansbury has distanced herself from her own comments in an interview with Radio Times magazine that blew up the internet yesterday. Those comments suggested she believed women must accept some blame for sexual harassment and abuse because they make themselves attractive to men.

The “Murder She Wrote” star now tells EW that those comments were taken out of context and took the opportunity to call out those who were quick to disparage her with a knee-jerk reaction such as Twitter users who were highly critical and accused her of victim-blaming:

“There is no excuse whatsoever for men to harass women in an abusive sexual manner, and I am devastated that anyone should deem me capable of thinking otherwise. Those who have known the quality of my work and the many public statements I have made over the course of my life, must know, that I am a strong supporter of Women’s Rights.

Lastly, I would like to add that I am troubled by how quickly and brutishly some have taken my comments out of context and attempted to blame my generation, my age, or my mindset, without having read the entirety of what I said.”

Along with the multiple acting honors and the Order of the British Empire, Lansbury has been a big supporter of charities throughout her career including those that help support victims of domestic abuse, rehabilitate drug users, and several charities engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS.