After Rape Claim, Lauer Releases 1,400-Word Letter

Brooke Nevils sat for interview with Ronan Farrow, provided full account of her allegations
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2019 7:41 AM CDT
Updated Oct 9, 2019 10:15 AM CDT
Ronan Farrow's Book Details Alleged Rape by Matt Lauer
This Nov. 8, 2017 photo released by NBC shows Matt Lauer on the set of the "Today" show in New York.   (Nathan Congleton/NBC via AP)

Ronan Farrow's new book drops Tuesday, but an explosive allegation is out now. Variety obtained a copy of Catch and Kill and reports that in it, Farrow reveals the identity of the woman whose allegations against Matt Lauer led to his 2017 ouster from the Today show. Her name is Brooke Nevils, and the former NBC News employee sat for an interview with Farrow for the book in which she alleged she was anally raped by Lauer during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Details of her allegation and the 1,400-word response from Lauer, who claims the two had a consensual affair:

  • In Nevils' telling, she was there to work with Meredith Vieira, and Lauer joined them for drinks at the hotel bar one evening. After consuming six shots of vodka, Nevils went to Lauer's room to get her press credential, which she says Lauer had playfully taken. She then returned a second time upon his invitation but says that based on her experience she didn't think anything untoward would happen.
  • Nevils tells Farrow that Lauer forced her onto the bed, turned her onto her stomach, and asked if she enjoyed anal sex. "She said that she declined several times," per the book, but says Lauer did it anyway, and that it was exceedingly painful. Farrow writes, "She told me she stopped saying no, but wept silently into a pillow" and bled for days afterward.
  • She points out that she was both too drunk to give consent and voiced her non-consent many times.

  • Nevils says she continued to have more sexual encounters with Lauer post-Sochi, and sources close to Lauer say she was sometimes the initiator. She tells Farrow, "This is what I blame myself most for. It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship."
  • In a letter released via his lawyer that Variety has in full, Lauer writes that he's done being silent, a stance he took to protect his kids. "For two years, the women with whom I had extramarital relationships have abandoned shared responsibility, and instead, shielded themselves from blame behind false allegations. They have avoided having to look a boyfriend, husband, or a child in the eye and say, 'I cheated.' They have done enormous damage in the process. And I will no longer provide them the shelter of my silence."
  • As for Nevils in particular, he says what the two had was an extramarital affair that began in his hotel room in Sochi. He gets specific: "We engaged in a variety of sexual acts. We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual."
  • He disputes her claim that she said no, cried, or suggested she was unable to give consent. As they parted that night, they "embraced," he writes. "The only concern she expressed was that someone might see her leaving my room."
  • Their affair continued, he writes, and he claims Nevils "went out of her way to see me several times in my dressing room at work, and on one of those occasions we had a sexual encounter. It showed terrible judgment on my part, but it was completely mutual and consensual."
  • The idea that she submitted to the encounters over fear for her career makes no sense, he writes, because she never worked under him, the Today show, or NBC News (he points out Vieira worked elsewhere in the network). He goes on to detail what he sees as numerous other contradictions in her story; you can read them here.
  • USA Today reports current Today anchors Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie addressed the report Wednesday morning. Said Guthrie, "This is shocking and appalling. I honestly don't even know what to say about it. I want to say I know it wasn't easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then, it's not easy now and we support her and any women who have come forward with claims."
(Read Variety's full story, which explains who ultimately urged Nevils to lawyer up and go to HR.)

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