NBC Nightly News Managing Editor and anchorman Brian Williams said Saturday that he is temporarily removing himself from the network’s nightly broadcasts following revelations he made false statements about his experience reporting in Iraq in 2003.
“In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions,” Williams said in a statement to NBC staff. “As managing editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days.”
Earlier this week, the publication “Stars and Stripes” published a story, based on eyewitness accounts of the incident, saying Williams was incorrect when he said a helicopter in which he and his team were traveling during the invasion of Iraq was hit by rocket propelled grenades.
Williams apologized on air Wednesday, but the firestorm surround the incident has continued, including calls for his resignation.
The 55-year-old Williams said NBC-TV newsman Lester Holt will fill in during the evening broadcasts until he returns.
“Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue,” Williams said. “Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”
Questions have also been raised about his claim that he saw a body or bodies in the Hurricane Katrina floodwaters that hit New Orleans.
NBC News President Deborah Turness said in an internal memo Friday that the network has assigned the head of its own investigative unit to look into Williams' statements.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.