Matt Lauer Raped Coworker, Ronan Farrow’s New Book Alleges
Ronan Farrow’s forthcoming book, Catch and Kill, reportedly contains explosive allegations against disgraced ex-anchor Matt Lauer — including that he anally raped one of his colleagues at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
According to Variety, which obtained a copy of the book, Farrow names the woman whose sexual misconduct report catalyzed Lauer’s 2017 firing from NBC: Brooke Nevils. She told Farrow that she had been drinking at her hotel bar with former Today Show co-anchor Meredith Vieira (at the time a special correspondent for NBC‘s Olympics coverage) when Lauer joined them. He allegedly snuck Nevils’s press credentials up to his room, obligating her to go retrieve them. She left, but Lauer invited her back — six vodka shots deep, Nevils returned to Lauer’s room, but “had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience,” according to Farrow. Instead, he pushed her against the door and forcibly kissed her, before “flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex.” Nevils says she repeatedly said no, and that she “was in the midst of telling him she wasn’t interested again when he ‘just did it.'”
“Lauer, she said, didn’t use lubricant,” according to Farrow. “The encounter was excruciatingly painful. ‘It hurt so bad. I remember thinking, Is this normal?’ She told me she stopped saying no, but wept silently into a pillow.” Although she “bled for days” after the fact, Nevils reportedly still said yes when Lauer asked her if she liked it. But, she told Farrow, “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent. It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
Still, according to Variety, Nevils told Farrow the sexual encounters continued once they got back to the office, sometimes at Nevils’s initiation. “This is what I blame myself most for,” she reportedly said. “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.” Nevils reportedly feared the influence Lauer wielded, but told “like a million people” at NBC nonetheless. But it wasn’t until after 2017’s bombshell reporting on Harvey Weinstein (some of which came from Farrow, and which he says NBC tried to kill) that Nevils told Vieira, who advised her to report Lauer. Other complaints reportedly followed Nevils’s, including an allegation from a former NBC employee who said Lauer called her into his office, locked the door, and assaulted her in 2001.
Lauer, it later emerged, had a little button on his desk that allowed him to bolt the door from across the room.
Nevils eventually accepted a seven-figure payout in exchange for sticking to the network’s script, “suggesting that she had left to pursue other endeavors, that she was treated well, and that NBC News was a positive example of sexual harassment,” according to Farrow. But even after the company dismissed Lauer, Farrow says, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim and chairman Andrew Lack “were emphasizing that the incident hadn’t been ‘criminal’ or an ‘assault.'”
In a statement to Gothamist, an NBC spokesperson said: “Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time. That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”
Lauer, meanwhile, denied Nevils’s account in a statement:
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. The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this was an abusive encounter. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was absolutely nothing aggressive about that encounter. Brooke did not do or say anything to object. She certainly did not cry. She was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner. At no time did she behave in a way that made it appear she was incapable of consent.
As in 2017, Today Show hosts Savannah Guthrie (who used to appear alongside Lauer on the morning program) and Hoda Kotb were left to announce the news on Wednesday. “We are disturbed to our core, and we have a commitment to keeping you informed, and we will continue to do that,” Guthrie explained.
“This is shocking, and appalling, and I honestly don’t even know what to say about it,” she told viewers, following a report by NBC News‘s Morgan Radford. “I know it wasn’t easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then, and it’s not easy now. We support her and any women who come forward with claims. And it is just very painful. For all of us at NBC and who are at the Today Show, it is very very very difficult.”
“You feel like you know someone for 12 years, you feel like you know them inside and out, and all of the sudden a door opens up and it is a part of them you didn’t know,” Kotb said of her former coworker. Still, she reminded the audience, these “are not allegations of an affair. They are allegations of a crime.”