Disgraced former “Today” host Matt Lauer has lived in virtual seclusion since he was fired from NBC in November 2017, but he recently invited journalist John Ziegler into his private world.
This comes in the wake of rape allegations against Lauer in Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill.” The star has denied the accusations.
“Extra’s” Billy Bush caught up with Ziegler via FaceTime to find out more about their five-hour conversation.
How did the meeting come about? John explained, “He called me about a week and a half ago after I wrote a column for Mediaite in which I raised some questions about the reporting in Ronan Farrow's new book.”
Ziegler went on, “He looked different than I remember him from the ‘Today’ show days… It got very emotional at times.”
Did Lauer cry? John said, “There was a moment where he was clearly weeping, yes.”
Bush asked if Lauer wanted to return to morning TV, and Ziegler answered, “I don't think that is his primary goal… He is very open, he made enormous mistakes for which he will forever be regretful… but those mistakes did not include… any sort of sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, or anything that was in the non-consensual category.”
Will John be following up with Matt? "We talked about doing potential things down the road. There's an incredibly important story to be told here… It would be mind-blowing what the real truth is in comparison to what has been reported.”
In “Catch and Kill,” 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.
Lauer denied the claims, but admitted to infidelity. In a statement to “Extra,” he said, “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.” Read his full statement here.