“I was deeply shocked and saddened by Matt Lauer's letter yesterday in response to Brooke's allegations of sexual assault,” Addie Zinone wrote in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. “Mr. Lauer's attempts to slut-shame and rewrite history will not work.”
RadarOnline.com readers know that in his open letter published by Variety, the former NBC co-anchor, 61, accused Nevils, 35, of lying about their affair simply because she was hurt by how he ended things with her. He claimed that despite her allegations about being anally raped by him, every sexual encounter they had was completely consensual.
“I have never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period,” Lauer wrote.
“The seeming lack of contrition, misstatements, and threatening tone is an attempt to manipulate and control the narrative for his own gain,” Zinone continued. “He is determined to undermine and tarnish the reputation of the brave women who courageously come forward. This is precisely why so many don't.”
Zinone came forward about her romance with Lauer in 2017, saying their affair started when she was a “single 24-year-old intern-turned-production assistant; he was a married 42-year-old man, the most powerful and successful man at NBC, arguably in all of journalism.”
The affair lasted for one month, and was consensual, but Zinone said it was still very much wrong, as the immense power dynamic between them clearly marks her as Lauer’s victim.
“It is troubling he has no understanding of, or empathy for, the pain he has inflicted with his brazen and predatory abuse of power on young, vulnerable women who had no voice. But now we do,” she said of Lauer at the time.
Zinone is not the only former NBC staffer who’s rushed to Nevils’s defense after her rape allegations were exposed in an excerpt from Ronan Farrow’s new book, “Catch and Kill.” Ann Curry — who worked with Lauer for years on the Today Show — also spoke out in support of Nevils.
“Brooke Nevils is a credible young woman of good character,” Curry, 62, wrote on Twitter Wednesday, Oct 9. “She came to NBC News an eager and guileless 20-something, brimming with talent. I believe she is telling the truth. And that breaks my heart.”
Nevils — now engaged to another man — claimed Lauer raped her in his hotel room during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, when she was drunk off vodka. She said she repeatedly told him to stop and cried into a pillow, but he continued. She alleged that she bled for days after he forcibly anally penetrated her but continued to have sex with him for months afterward because she was scared of his power over her.
Lauer said he had not power over her at NBC and her allegations are false.