Matt Lauer denies anally raping NBC producer at 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Matt Lauer has angrily denied an NBC producer’s allegation that he anally raped her, saying that the pair had consensual anal sex and that it led to an affair.
Lauer was accused of anal rape by Brooke Nevils, a 35-year-old NBC producer who was in Russia for the Sochi Winter Olympics with him and Meredith Vieira in 2014.
In 2017, she reported Lauer for allegedly sexually assaulting her one night during the Olympics and it was her allegation that led to him being fired.
It was reported at the time but now, Nevils has agreed to be named and is speaking on the record to share more details of the alleged rape in Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill.
She claimed that Lauer – who was married at the time – pushed her onto a bed and had anal sex with her despite her telling him she did not want to after a night of drinking in Sochi. She said they were in his hotel room and he was wearing boxers and a t-shirt. Among other things, she said she ‘wept silently into a pillow’ while he had sex with her and that it ‘hurt’.
Lauer hit back in a three-page, 1,400 word response on Wednesday, saying that while they did have anal sex, it was consensual. He went into graphic detail about the Sochi incident and described others – including having sex in his Today dressing room – and called Nevils a ‘willing partner’.
‘It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense,’ he said of the rape allegation.
‘I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014. It began when she came to my hotel room very late one night in Sochi, Russia. 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 said in the letter which his attorneys gave DailyMail.com.
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Brooke Nevils agreed to be named in Ronan Farrow’s new book where she tells how Matt Lauer ‘anally raped’ her in 2014 while they were working for NBC to cover the Sochi Winter Olympics. Lauer is shown, right, at the Games
He went on to say she ‘certainly did not cry’, ‘was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner’ and ’embraced’ him at the door ‘as she left’.
He claims that it was the start of a months-long affair during which they met up at his apartment and in bars.
On one occasion, Lauer said they had sex in his dressing room at Today.
‘It showed terrible judgment on my part, but it was completely mutual and consensual,’ he wrote.
The former Today star fumed that Nevils’ allegations are among others that are ‘false’ but that he has stayed silent about – including what he says is a false claim he kept a button in his office which he could press to lock the room from the inside.
One accuser said he did so sometimes to have privacy with sexual partners.
‘There was no such locking mechanism. It didn’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 never attempted to make anyone feel as if they were confined in my office. I have never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period,’ he said.
Lauer released a three page, 1,400 word letter on Wednesday to defend himself
Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, who replaced Lauer on Today in 2017, said on Wednesday they were ‘disturbed to their core’ by the claims and that they supported Nevils.
Nevils was working as a producer for Meredith Vieira at the time and says she went to Lauer’s room after a night of drinking while the pair were part of a larger NBC team based in Sochi.
It was the second time that night she had gone to his room. The first, she said, was to retrieve her media credentials which she says Lauer took ‘as a joke’ and the second was because he invited her back.
She claims he was dressed in a t-shirt and boxers and, she said, pushed her against the door and kissed her when she got into the room. At the time, she was 30 and he was 56. He then, she claims, pushed her onto the bed, flipped her over and asked ‘if she liked anal sex.’
‘She said that she declined several times,’ Farrow wrote in the book, according to Variety which obtained a copy of it and published the new details on Wednesday.
Farrow wrote that Nevils was ‘in the midst of telling him “no” when he “just did it”.
‘Lauer, she said, didn’t use lubricant. The encounter was excruciatingly painful. ‘
Nevils agreed to be named as she told her story to Ronan Farrow (above) who has included it in his new book
“It hurt so bad. I remember thinking, Is this normal?” She told me she stopped saying no, but wept silently into a pillow. Lauer then asked her if she liked it.
‘She tells him yes. She claims that “she bled for days,”‘ Farrow wrote.
Nevils said she was both ‘too drunk’ to consent and that she said no ‘multiple times’, according to Farrow.
‘It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent. It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex,’ Farrow said she told him.
Once the pair got back to New York, they had more sexual encounters.
Farrow says that sources ‘close to Lauer’ say she initiated those encounters.
‘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. It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship,”‘ she said.
Nevils said she was ‘terrified’ about the control Lauer had over her career.
But Nevils says her allegations were dismissed by staff who said Lauer had done nothing ‘criminal’.
‘This was not a secret,’ Farrow writes, citing her claim that ‘like a million people knew’.
It was only when the #MeToo movement against Harvey Weinstein erupted that Nevils was sincerely asked by Today colleagues about Lauer who had a reputation for infidelity and impropriety.
It was then she went to Meredith Vieira, who she had been working for at the time, and told her what had happened, she said.
Farrow writes that Vieira told her to go to NBC HR with a lawyer and that she was ‘distraught’.
‘Nevils’s work life became torture. She was made to sit in the same meetings as everyone else, discussing the news, and in all of them colleagues loyal to Lauer cast doubt on the claims, and judgment on her,’ Farrow wrote.
Farrow’s book ‘Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to protect Predators’ is scheduled for release on October 15
Farrow also claims that because Andrew Lack, NBC’s Chairman, wrote in an email to staff that Lauer had been fired over an alleged incident which occurred at the Sochi Games, it narrowed down the list of possibilities as to who his alleged victim might be.
She had been promised anonymity, she said, but everyone soon figured out that she was the person who had reported him.
Nevils said she then went on paid medical leave and eventually took a payout from NBC.
She still works for NBC, in its long-form production unit, Peacock Productions.
Farrow says it was a seven-figure sum but that it came with a ‘script’ from executives who wanted her to paint the network glowingly.
‘The network proposed a script she would have to read, suggesting that she had left to pursue other endeavors, that she was treated well, and that NBC News was a positive example of sexual harassment,’ he wrote.
Sources at NBC told Variety they were yet to read the book, but they plan to defend the company against any of Farrow’s criticisms.
Lauer was fired from his $25million-per-year post on Today hours after the woman informed NBC executives of the affair.
Lauer has been a hermit for the last two years. He is shown above in a Tik Tok video posted online by his daughter this week
The book also contains more details of how Farrow was turned away by NBC – his then employer – when he started investigating Harvey Weinstein.
The journalist’s expose against the disgraced media mogul was published by The New Yorker and helped, alongside a first piece in The New York Times, to bring down Weinstein.
Farrow says he first took the reporting to NBC but that it was vetoed by NBC President Noah Oppenheim.
NBC has said in the past that Farrow’s reporting did not meet its editorial standards because he did not have enough women willing to on record to say that Weinstein assaulted them.
In Catch and Kill, he claims Oppenheim asked him: ‘Like, is this really worth it?’ when he presented his findings on Weinstein.
He also alleges that Oppenheim suggested no one would ‘know who Weinstein’ was.
Farrow says he was then instructed to cease work on the story by Richard Greenberg, the head of the NBC News investigative unit.
Farrow says Greenberg told him it was an order that had come from Lack and Steve Burke, the CEO of NBCUniversal.
An NBC spokesman told DailyMail.com on Wednesday morning: ‘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.’
In the past, the network has refuted Farrow’s claims that it killed the story, saying: ‘The assertion that NBC News tried to kill the Weinstein story while Ronan Farrow was at NBC News, or even more ludicrously, after he left NBC News, is an outright lie.’
At least four other women came forward in the wake of Lauer’s firing with their own allegations of sexual harassment.
One woman told the Washington Post that the anchor exposed himself in his office and asked her to touch him.
A second said she had sex with Lauer in his office in the middle of the work day and a third claimed that he gave her a sex toy.
Former Today production assistant Addie Zinone alleged that she had a troubled, but consensual, relationship with Lauer in 2000.
Lauer and his wife Annette Roque (above in 2013) finalised their divorce last month, two years after they split amid the sexual misconduct allegations against him
‘DISTURBED TO OUR CORE’: SAVANNAH GUTHRIE AND HODA KOTB REACT TO RAPE CLAIMS
Hoda Kotb, who replaced Lauer on Today after his firing in 2017, and Savannah Guthrie reacted somberly on air to the allegations on Wednesday.
The pair had introduced a package on the allegations that another reporter presented.
At the end of it, they addressed the new claims themselves.
‘We owe it to our viewers to pause for a moment. This is shocking and appalling and, I honestly don’t even know what to say about it.
‘I want to say that we, I know it wasn’t easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then, it wasn’t easy now, and we support her and any women who have come forward with claims.
Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb are shown on Wednesday addressing the new allegations
‘It’s just very painful for all of us at NBC and at the Today show. It’s very, very, very difficult,’ Guthrie said.
Kotb added: ‘I am looking at you and having a weird moment. We were sitting here like this two years ago and truth to be told, Savannah and I did a little prayer upstairs before just to sort out what we were going to do.
‘It’s like, you feel like you’ve known someone for 12 years, I don’t know if you guys have ever felt like that, you feel like you know them inside out and all of a sudden a door opens up it’s a part of them you didn’t know. We don’t know all the facts of this.
‘There are not allegations of an affair. There are allegations of a crime.’
She went on: ‘Our thoughts are with Brooke. It’s not easy what she did, to come forward, it’s not easy at all.’
Savannah added: ‘I think I speak for all of us.
‘We are disturbed to our core and we have a commitment to keep you informed and we will continue to do that.’
Lauer refused to comment on any allegations of misconduct, claiming in April 2018 that he wanted to ‘protect’ his family from ’embarrassment’.
He and his wife Annette Roque separated in the wake of the allegations and finalized their divorce earlier this month.
The couple had been together for over 20 years and share three children – son Jack, 18, daughter Romy, 15, and son Thijs, 12.
Lauer has hired a team of lawyers ahead of the October 15 release of ‘Catch and Kill’, Page Six reported, citing an informant who said the disgraced anchor and his team were given the opportunity to fact-check and comment on the book.
Publishers at Little, Brown and Company declined to comment but said they are ‘extremely proud of the important reporting in “Catch and Kill”, which has been meticulously fact-checked and vetted’.
Farrow, son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the extensive cover-up of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct on the leading edge of the #MeToo movement two years ago.
The book is marketed as ‘the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth’, detailing ‘surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability and silence victims of abuse.’
Harvey Weinstein ‘knew about Matt Lauer misconduct allegations and blackmailed NBC – with help of the National Enquirer – to stop them publishing stories about him’
Farrow’s book makes new allegations about how NBC Chairman Andrew Lack handled the Weinstein scandal and his attempts to report on it
It has long been documented that Ronan Farrow took his reporting on Harvey Weinstein to NBC before he published it in The New Yorker and helped bring the disgraced movie mogul to justice.
He has also intimated in the past that NBC pressured him to drop the story and that it was protecting Weinstein, something the network has always denied.
In his new book, Farrow however claims that NBC was being blackmailed by American Media Inc., which owns The National Enquirer, and that Weinstein was behind it.
According to sources cited by Farrow, Weinstein knew that he was closing in on him and he did not want his alleged misconduct to become public.
In one phone call to Andy Lack, Farrow reports that Weinstein told him: ‘It was the ’90s. You know? Did I go out with an assistant or two that I shouldn’t have, did I sleep with one or two of them, sure. We all did that.’
He says Lack replied: ‘Harvey, say no more. We’ll look into it.’
Farrow does not say who he got details of the phone calls from.
NBC denied the claim that it squashed the story after receiving pressure from Weinstein and AMI.
‘NBC News was never contacted by AMI, or made aware in any way of any threats from them, or from anyone else, for that matter.
‘And the idea of NBC News taking a threat seriously from a tabloid company about Matt Lauer is especially preposterous, since they already covered him with great regularity,’ a spokesman said.
Weinstein’s ‘attempts’ to leverage Hillary Clinton and even Woody Allen to try to stop Farrow’s report
Weinstein’s alleged attempts to silence Farrow’s report are also described in the book.
According to Farrow, he received an email from Clinton’s publicist Nick Merrill who said his ‘big story’ was ‘of concern for us’.
Weinstein was a frequent Clinton donor and he had also supported other Democratic candidates.
Weinstein, Farrow claims, called his estranged father Woody Allen and asked him for help when he knew Farrow was closing in on him. Allen told him: ‘Jeez, I’m so sorry. Good luck,’ Farrow claims
When the Weinstein scandal broke, Merrill denied that either he or anyone in Clinton’s camp knew about it.
‘We were shocked when we learned what he’d done. It’s despicable behavior, and the women that have come forward have shown enormous courage. As to claims about a warning, that’s something staff wouldn’t forget,’ he said.
He has not responded to the more recent allegations.
Farrow also describes how Weinstein called his father, Woody Allen, for help to silence him.
Farrow reports that his father told Weinstein: ‘Jeez, I’m so sorry. Good luck.’
Farrow and his father are estranged due to his sister Dylan’s claim that
Ronan Farrow went to Lauer for career advice before the scandal erupted and Lauer congratulated him for exposing Weinstein
Farrow recalls going to Lauer’s office in December 2016 to ask for career advice from the ‘biggest star in morning TV’ as he was at the time.
Ronan, it’s Matt Lauer. Let me be the 567th person to say congratulations on an amazing piece!’
A text Lauer sent to Farrow in October 2017 after his Weinstein story was published in The New Yorker
‘I was struggling to find a niche,’ Farrow wrote.
He said Lauer asked him where he saw himself in a few years and he said he wanted to be an anchor.
‘You’re searching for something. Maybe you’ll find it. But you’re going to have to figure out yourself what you really care about,’ Farrow claims Lauer told him.
After he broke his story on Weinstein in The New Yorker, Lauer texted him to say congratulations.
‘Ronan, it’s Matt Lauer. Let me be the 567th person to say congratulations on an amazing piece!’
Megyn Kelly told Farrow: ‘You’re kind of a rookie’
At a gala in April 2017, Farrow claims he congratulated Megyn on her show and apologized for calling one of her tweets racist.
He said a ‘tendon stood out in her neck’ as she replied: ‘I made a lot of mistakes when I was at your point in my career, too.
‘You’re kind of a rookie reporter.’
Farrow’s story was still months away from being reported. Kelly had just moved to NBC from Fox.
She went on to congratulate his reporting and commend it on her show, in addition to calling for an independent investigation into why it never ran on NBC.