Sunday, 13 October, 2019


Ex-colleague accuses Matt Lauer of rape in new Ronan Farrow book

Matt Lauer wearing a suit and tie Dennis Van Tine STAR MAX via AP
Hannah Rogers | 09 October, 2019, 20:09

A new book by Ronan Farrow details the sexual assault allegations that ended Matt Lauer's run at the Today Show.

A former NBC employee claims that Matt Lauer raped her when they were in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics. One night they were out for drinks when they were joined by Lauer.

Nevils alleges that once she was in Lauer's hotel room he pushed her against a door and kissed her before pushing her on the bed and asking her if she liked anal sex.

And yet, it wasn't until Nevils lawyered up - more than a month after Farrow's reports on Weinstein - that NBC fired Lauer.

In a three-page open letter released Wednesday, Lauer denounced the account, which he called "a unsafe and defamatory new allegation.as part of a promotional effort to sell a book". "And it's just very painful for all of us at NBC and who are at the Today show, and, you know, it's very, very, very hard".

"Weinstein made it known to the network that he was aware of Lauer's behaviour and capable of revealing it", Farrow writes. After concluding that his "silence was a mistake", Lauer writes: "Today, almost two years after I was sacked by NBC, old stories are being recycled, titillating details are being added, and a unsafe and defamatory new allegation is being made". And as you said, our thoughts are with Brooke.

In a statement shared on Today, NBC News emphasized that it had responded swiftly to Nevils' complaint: "Matt Lauer's conduct was appalling, horrific, and reprehensible, as we said at the time".

Nevils' allegations in the book stunned Lauer's former "Today" colleagues, who reported on them on Wednesday's program.

A pdf of Lauer's letter is posted here.

"It was non-consensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent", Nevils said in the book. "It was completely transactional".

Former NBC producer Brooke Nevils has now come forward publicly and admitted that she was the one who made the allegations against Lauer. That's why he was sacked within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint.

Nevils says that after she stopped all sexual contact with Lauer, she began telling friends and colleagues, including bosses and other superiors at NBC News. "Our hearts break for our colleague".

Farrow wrote that "she had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience". She certainly did not cry.

Nevils didn't tell network executives about the attack until 2017, and reportedly received a "seven-figure" settlement when she left the network in 2018.

"I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive or abusive behavior actions on my part, at any time, are absolutely false", Lauer said at the time in the re-broadcast clip. She did and soon learned the higher-ups at NBC News "were emphasizing that the incident hadn't been "criminal" or an 'assault" - which apparently caused her to throw up.

Farrow won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for his reporting on Weinstein alongside Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor from the New York Times. "They're allegations of a crime". According to Farrow's book, Nevils went to HR at the suggestion of Meredith Vieria, the longtime "Today" journalist she had worked for in Sochi.

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