Matt Lauer Denies Rape Allegation in New Book, as Former ‘Today’ Colleagues React
Details have emerged from Ronan Farrow's new book “Catch and Kill,” including a rape allegation against former "Today" show host Matt Lauer.
The former newsman is denying the claims, and broke his silence with a lengthy statement to "Extra," published in full below.
Variety was first to post the new accusations against Lauer last night, with “Today” reporting graphic new details this morning.
In the book, Brooke Nevils, one of Meredith Vieira's former assistants, claims Lauer raped her in his hotel room while both were in the Russian city of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
According to “Today,” Nevils claims she went to Lauer's hotel room, where he pushed her against a door and kissed her before pushing her on the bed and asking if she liked anal sex. Farrow writes that Nevils said no, but that Lauer allegedly didn't listen. She reportedly said it was painful and that she cried silently into a pillow. She did acknowledge that they had consensual encounters after Sochi.
Lauer confirmed the two had an affair, but denied any wrongdoing, stating, “I have never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period."
His former “Today” colleagues spoke out about the allegations on Wednesday's show. Savannah Guthrie told the audience, “This is shocking and appalling and I honestly don't even know what to say about it.”
Hoda Kotb added, “There are not allegations of an affair. There are allegations of a crime, and I think that's shocking to all of us here who have sat with Matt for many, many years, so I think we're going to continue to process this part of this horrific story.”
Guthrie shared, “We're disturbed to the core… we have a commitment to keep you informed and we will continue to do that.”
Below is Lauer's open letter, originally published by Variety. Lauer details his affair with Nevils and strongly denies the allegations. He also hits back at rumors that he had the ability to lock his office using a button at his desk.
An Open Letter:
Over the past two years people have asked why I have not spoken out to defend myself morevigorously against some of the false and salacious allegations leveled at me. It is a fair questionand the answer is deeply personal. Despite my desire to set the record straight and confront theindividuals making false allegations, I wanted nothing less than to create more headlines my kidswould read and a new gathering of photographers at the end of our driveway. So I decided tojust stay quiet and work on repairing my relationship with the people I love. It has been the mostimportant full-time job I have ever had.
But my silence has been a mistake.
Today, nearly two years after I was fired by NBC, old stories are being recycled, titillatingdetails are being added, and a dangerous and defamatory new allegation is being made. All arebeing spread as part of a promotional effort to sell a book. It's outrageous. So, after notspeaking out to protect my children, it is now with their full support I say “enough.”In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I havepreviously admitted having, was in fact an assault. It is categorically false, ignores the facts, anddefies common sense.
I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014. It began when she came to my hotelroom very late one night in Sochi, Russia. We engaged in a variety of sexual acts. Weperformed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutualand completely consensual.
The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this wasan abusive encounter. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was absolutely nothingaggressive about that encounter. Brooke did not do or say anything to object. She certainly didnot cry. She was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner. At no time did she behave in a waythat made it appear she was incapable of consent. She seemed to know exactly what she wantedto do. The only concern she expressed was that someone might see her leaving my room. Sheembraced me at the door as she left.
This encounter, which she now falsely claims was an assault, was the beginning of our affair. Itwas the first of many sexual encounters between us over the next several months. After wereturned to New York, we both communicated by text and by phone. We met for drinks, and shemet me at my apartment on multiple occasions to continue our affair. Our meetings werearranged mutually. At no time, during or after her multiple visits to my apartment, did sheexpress in words or actions any discomfort with being there, or with our affair.
She also went out of her way to see me several times in my dressing room at work, and on one ofthose occasions we had a sexual encounter. It showed terrible judgment on my part, but it wascompletely mutual and consensual.
Brooke now says that she was terrified about the control I had over her career and felt pressure toagree to our encounters after Sochi. But at no time during our relationship did Brooke work forme, the Today Show, or NBC News. She worked for Meredith Vieira (who had not worked forthe Today Show in several years) in a completely different part of the network, and I had no rolein reviewing Brooke's work.
I admit, I ended the affair poorly. I simply stopped communicating with her. Brooke continuedto reach out. She admitted to NBC at the time she filed her complaint that she called me late atnight while I was home with my family in an effort to rekindle the affair. But I attempted to goback to my life and pretend as if nothing had happened. I understand how that must have madeher feel. However, being upset or having second thoughts does not give anyone the right tomake false accusations years later about an affair in which they fully and willingly participated.Between February 2014 and November 2017, Brooke and I saw each other more than a dozentimes at professional gatherings, both large and small. Despite the fact that our affair was over,she always went out of her way to greet me warmly and engage in conversation. It was not untilI was called in to speak to an NBC attorney on November 28, 2017 that I first learned Brookehad any complaint. I answered all questions openly and honestly for more than an hour. At thatmeeting I was never told that Brooke claimed our encounter in Sochi was non-consensual. Had Ibeen, I would have defended myself immediately.
After Brooke filed her complaint in late 2017, her attorney publicly insisted she wanted toremain anonymous. He said she just wanted NBC to “do the right thing.” But within a year shewas reportedly out trying to sell a book. And it appears that she also sought a monetary paymentfrom NBC. Now she is making outrageous and false accusations to help sell a different book andstepping into the spotlight to cause as much damage as she can.
But Brooke's story is filled with contradictions. Which Brooke is to be believed?
• She claims our first encounter was an assault, yet she actively participated in arrangingfuture meetings and met me at my apartment on multiple occasions to continue the affair.• She says I was the one pursuing the relationship, yet once it was over, she was the onecalling me asking to rekindle it.• She says she felt pressure to continue the affair because I had control over her career, butshe did not work for me, the Today Show, or NBC News.• She said she wanted to remain anonymous, yet she was reportedly trying to sell a bookwithin year after filing her complaint.• She said she just wanted NBC to “do the right thing,” yet she sought a monetarypayment, and two years after I was fired, she is stepping forward to do more damage.
There are people who fully understand the actual dynamic that existed between Brooke and me.They have reluctantly and quietly reached out in the past two years and shared what they know.They have accurately described Brooke and her role in this affair. I hope those people willunderstand that these allegations cross a serious line, and what they can share is a vital truth,even if it may seem unpopular.
Because of my infidelity, I have brought more pain and embarrassment to my family than mostpeople can ever begin to understand. They've been through hell. I have asked for theirforgiveness, taken responsibility for what I did do wrong, and accepted the consequences. Butby not speaking out I also emboldened those who continue to do me harm with false stories.One such story I should have confronted a long time ago is an example of why I believe mysilence was a mistake. Despite numerous erroneous reports in the past, there was not a button inmy office that could lock the door from the inside. There was no such locking mechanism. Itdidn't exist. NBC confirmed this fact publicly following my termination.
It would have been impossible to confine anyone in my office, for any purpose, and I have neverattempted to make anyone feel as if they were confined in my office. I have never assaultedanyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period.
Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a very private person. I had no desire to write this, butI had no choice. The details I have written about here open deep wounds for my family. Butthey also lead to the truth. For two years, the women with whom I had extramarital relationshipshave abandoned shared responsibility, and instead, shielded themselves from blame behind falseallegations. They have avoided having to look a boyfriend, husband, or a child in the eye andsay, “I cheated.” They have done enormous damage in the process. And I will no longerprovide them the shelter of my silence.