Former TODAY show host Matt Lauer allegedly raped an NBC colleague at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, according to the new book Catch and Kill by investigative reporter Ronan Farrow.
“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils told Farrow in an excerpt obtained by Variety. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
Nevils said this happened after she and former TODAY show co-anchor Meredith Vieira were having drinks at a hotel bar, and ran into Lauer, she said. He joined them, according to this account. Nevils said she went to his room once to get her press credential, then again because he invited her back. She said she didn’t think he’d be anything but nice based on her previous experiences with him, but she claims that when she was in the hotel room, Lauer pushed her against the wall, kissed her, and asked if she liked anal sex.
She claimed he “just did it” without lubricant while she was telling him she didn’t want it.
“It hurt so bad,” she said in the book. “I remember thinking, ‘Is this normal?’ She told me she stopped saying no, but wept silently into a pillow.”
She acknowledged having other sexual encounters later with Lauer when back in New York City.
“Sources close to Lauer emphasized that she sometimes initiated contact,” Farrow wrote. “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. ‘This is what I blame myself most for.'” These interactions were described as transactional, not a relationship.
A Lauer statement was given to Variety via his attorney. He denied committing rape.
“In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault,” Lauer said. “It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense.” (You can read the rest of the Lauer statement here.)
Nevils said she feared Lauer’s leverage over her career, and later told “colleagues and superiors at NBC,” according to the book. No action was taken until after the downfall of disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017. Nevils told Vieira what happened, said the book. Vieira became distraught and told Nevils to speak to NBC Universal human resources with an attorney, said the book.
NBC said Lauer was fired shortly after the complaint was initially filed.
“Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time,” they said in a statement. “That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”
[Image via Scott Halleran/Getty Images]