Former NBC Today show host Matt Lauer responded Wednesday to explosive allegations in reporter Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book Catch and Kill, denying a former colleague’s claim of violently raping her in 2014.
Variety, which obtained an advanced copy of Farrow’s book, first reported that former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils alleged in a complaint that Lauer anally raped her during the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The complaint prompted NBC News to fire Lauer on November 29th, 2017. In a letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Lauer admits to an extramarital affair with Nevils but claims their relationship was consensual.
“For two years, the women with whom I had extramarital relationships have abandoned shared responsibility, and instead, shielded themselves from blame behind false allegations,” Lauer writes. “The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this was an abusive encounter.”
“I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014. It began when she came to my hotel room very late one night in Sochi, Russia. We engaged in a variety of sexual acts. We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual,” he continued. The account differs drastically from Nevils’ version, where she only says Lauer forcibly kissed her, pushed her onto a bed, flipped her over, and anally penetrated her, though she said “no” multiple times.
Lauer makes several statements of fact that could be denied or corroborated by his NBC colleagues:
Brooke now says that she was terrified about the control I had over her career and felt pressure to agree to our encounters after Sochi. But at no time during our relationship did Brooke work for me, the Today Show, or NBC News. She worked for Meredith Vieira (who had not worked for the Today Show in several years) in a completely different part of the network, and I had no role in reviewing Brooke’s work.
She admitted to NBC at the time she filed her complaint that she called me late at night while I was home with my family in an effort to rekindle the affair.
It was not until I was called in to speak to an NBC attorney on November 28, 2017 that I first learned Brooke had any complaint. I answered all questions openly and honestly for more than an hour. At that meeting I was never told that Brooke claimed our encounter in Sochi was non-consensual. Had I been, I would have defended myself immediately.
He then goes on to deny “erroneous reports” that he had button installed in his NBC office desk to remotely lock his door, stating: “[T]here was not a button in my office that could lock the door from the inside. There was no such locking mechanism. It didn’t exist.”
Nevils’ attorney have yet to comment on Lauer’s denial.
NBC News issued a statement regarding Variety’s report, calling Lauer’s conduct “appalling, horrific and reprehensible.”
“That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague,” said the network.