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Update, 10/9, 11 A.M.: Matt Lauer denied the allegation in a letter provided to Variety through his lawyer. In the letter, which you can read in full here, Lauer says, “In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault. It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense.”
Original post, 10/9, 9 A.M.: In Ronan Farrow’s new book Catch and Kill, coming out October 15, the reporter details his investigation into allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Farrow has already published excerpts of the book in the New Yorker, but a new report from Variety shows there are much more damning details to come.
On Tuesday, Variety reported that the book includes an interview with Brooke Nevils, a former NBC News employee who alleges that Matt Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. While this is the first time Nevils’ name and allegations are being made public, it was her complaints against Lauer that caused him to be fired from the Today show in November 2017. At the time of his firing, it was said that Lauer was being let go for allegations of “inappropriate sexual behavior.”
According to Variety, Farrow reports that during one night in Sochi, after drinking six shots of vodka, Nevils was in Lauer’s hotel room when he pushed her onto the bed, flipped her over, and asked if she liked anal sex. “She said that she declined several times,” Farrow writes.
He writes that Nevils said 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. 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.”
She told Farrow, the encounter wasn’t consensual because “I was too drunk to consent” and “I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
Nevils had sexual encounters with Lauer when they were back in New York, and Farrow writes, “Sources close to Lauer emphasized that she sometimes initiated contact. What is not in dispute is that Nevils, like several of the women I’d spoken to, had further sexual encounters with the man she said assaulted her.” She told Farrow, “This is what I blame myself most for. It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”
Nevils also told Farrow that she informed multiple colleagues and superiors at NBC, including her boss at NBC’s Peacock Productions, about Lauer’s actions. Then, after reports came out about Weinstein and the #MeToo reckoning was widening, Nevils went to human resources with a lawyer and told them about the rape.
Farrow writes in the book that after Lauer was fired, Nevils found out that Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News, and Andrew Lack, the chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, said “the incident hadn’t been ‘criminal’ or an ‘assault.'”
According to CNN anchor Brian Stelter, NBC has released a statement following the report, which reads: “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.”