CNN's Jeff Zucker on Matt Lauer: 'I've known Matt for 25 years and didn't know this Matt'

Business InsiderCNN president Jeff Zucker at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference.
  • CNN President Jeff Zucker said he was disturbed by stories of Matt Lauer’s behaviour toward NBC staffers.
  • Lauer was fired from NBC on Wednesday following allegations of sexual misconduct.
  • Zucker said he was unaware of Lauer’s misbehavior when the two were at “Today.”

CNN president Jeff Zucker on Thursday expressed dismay at allegations that former “Today” show host Matt Lauer engaged in sexual misconduct with NBC staffers.

During an interview at Business Insider’s Ignition conference, the longtime former executive producer of “Today” said he was disturbed by reports in The New York Times and Variety that detailed Lauer’s behaviour toward staffers.

“Obviously it’s incredibly disturbing what we’ve learned in the last 24 hours of reporting from the New York Times and Variety, and incredibly sad,” Zucker said.

He added: “I’ve known Matt for 25 years, and didn’t know this Matt.”

Though Lauer’s extramarital affairs have been whispered about for years, Zucker said while he was at “Today,” there was “not even a whisper” of misbehavior.

“What’s chronicled in Variety and The New York Times is deviant and predatory behaviour,” he said. “It’s just incredibly, incredibly heart-breaking.”

Watch our interview with Zucker below:

Zucker and Lauer were longtime colleagues on “Today,” where the then-producer was credited with the show’s ratings rise, and later blamed for some of the infighting and ratings difficulties that befell the show several years ago.

In a statement on Thursday, Lauer said there were “no words” to express his “sorrow and regret” for his actions, but denied some of the accusations made against him.

“To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry,” Lauer said. “As I am writing this I realise the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”

He added: “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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