Matt Lauer: I’m an ‘Easy Mark’ After Sexual Misconduct Scandal

Matt Lauer is speaking out. The former Today show host addressed the “difficult times” he has faced in recent months in his first interview since he was accused of sexual misconduct.

Lauer, 60, complained on Checkpoint With John Campbell on Tuesday, July 24, that he is a victim of “misinformation” as he fights with government groups in New Zealand over an issue with the Hunter Valley Station Ranch that he leased there for $13 million before the news of his headline-making scandal broke.

“I believe the groups that are behind this are in some ways unfortunately taking advantage of some difficult times I’ve been through over the past six months and I think they see me as an easy mark,” he said. “And what they’re going to try to do is put this through, which would set a precedent because this has not been done ever before with a pastoral lease holder or property owner without that person’s consent.”

Lauer claimed that the groups in question want him to grant more access to local people so they can go to Hāwea Conservation Park, which winds through the government-owned property that he leased.

“In the year-and-a-half or year-plus that I’ve owned it, I’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve the property, and now a year later they come and say ‘Oh, wait a minute, we granted you this lease under this set of rules. We’d like to change the rules.’ I don’t think that’s fair,” he told the news program.

Lauer, who said he plans to visit New Zealand again next month, added that he “would certainly explore” compensation should an easement be granted.

NBC News chairman Andrew Lack fired Lauer from Today in November after a female employee accused the longtime news anchor of sexual harassment in the workplace. Additional allegations of misconduct were later published in reports by Variety and The New York Times. Lauer admitted in a statement at the time that there was “enough truth” in some of the claims. “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” he added. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry.”

Us Weekly exclusively revealed in January that Lauer and his wife, Annette Roque, quietly began divorcing after 19 years of marriage. They share three children: Jack, 17, Romy, 14, and Thjs, 11. More recently, a source told Us that the TV host is “furious” that he may have to pay Roque, 51, approximately $50 million.

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