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Matt Lauer's public apology isn't much of an apology

He finds room for a whole sentence apologizing to his alleged victims.

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Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

Early on Thursday morning, former Today anchor Matt Lauer issued a public apology in the wake of being fired following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Lauer’s is the latest iteration in the popular new genre of powerful men acknowledging their misdeeds while attempting to avoid admitting to serious wrongdoing, and while he’s not quite at the level of Harvey Weinstein’s nonsense (he doesn’t conclude by saying he’s going to fight the NRA, which is a step up), his apology is not exactly convincing.

In a statement read aloud by anchor Savannah Guthrie on Today, Lauer said:

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.

While Lauer’s statement briefly acknowledges the women he allegedly harassed and assaulted and admits that there is truth to their accounts, the bulk of it is devoted his regret at being caught: Now that his alleged actions are public, he is “ashamed” of how they make his former workplace look bad and have made his family sad. Never mind the women he hurt, whom he suggests have said “untrue” things about him; Lauer has vowed to make it his full-time job to repair “the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”

For an “apology,” it’s less “I am sorry that I did something terrible” and more, “I am embarrassed that I was caught.”

In his time at NBC, Lauer was very good at framing acts of sexual misconduct as the victim’s fault. It seems he still has a knack for it, despite the fact that he’s out of a job.