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Embattled Brian Williams Of New Canaan Takes Leave From 'Nightly News'

New Canaan resident Brian Williams is taking a few days off after facing criticism from all sides. Photo Credit: File
NBC’s Brian Williams Addresses Iraq RPG Helicopter Story
NBC’s Brian Williams Addresses Iraq RPG Helicopter Story Video Credit: NBC News

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- News anchor Brian Williams, a New Canaan resident who has been under fire for days, announced he will take himself off the "NBC Nightly News" for the "next several days," NBC announced. 

Williams, who is the anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News," said Saturday that he will take a break from anchoring the broadcast for "the next several days." His announcement comes after he made a statement on the news last week clarifying that he "incorrectly remembered details in a 2003 reporting mission to Iraq," according to NBC News. 

Williams, in a note to NBC News staff, said it has "become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions." Lester Holt will be sitting in the anchor chair in his place. 

In a piece that aired on Nightly News last week, Williams said the during an assignment in Iraq in 2003 he was in a military helicopter that took on enemy fire. But on Wednesday, Williams told viewers he had made a mistake in recalling the incident, saying that he and his team were actually in an aircraft that was following the helicopter that was hit. 

Since then, Williams has faced ridicule and attack from social media. Photos of the longtime anchor have been photoshopped into some of the world's most iconic pictures. Under the Twitter hashtag #BrianWilliamsmisremembers, Williams' face has been included in images such as the invasion of Normandy, the Last Supper, the moon landing, the Civil War, the movie "Titanic" and in the car chase with O.J. Simpson. 

Retired NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, whom Williams replaced, has called for Williams to be fired, according to a report Friday in the New York Post. 

NBC News president Deborah Turness announced Friday that there will be an internal review of the reporting that followed the events in Iraq.

Here is Williams' full statement, as released by NBC News:

"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.

"As Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us."

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