WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT BELOW
Matt Lauer was let go from NBC in 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment. But in his explosive new book, journalist Ronan Farrow claims the true reason the shamed former Today host was fired was because he sexually assaulted a fellow colleague.
In Catch and Kill, the writer, 31, reveals his interview with Brooke Nevils, the former NBC News employee whose complaint about Lauer, 61, led to his dismissal. Neither her identity nor her allegations had been made public until now.
In the book, obtained by Variety, Nevils claims the former co-anchor raped her in his hotel room while they were both on location covering the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Nevils was working with co-anchor Meredith Vieira on Olympics coverage at the time. She told Farrow that during the trip, the two women went to the hotel bar for drinks. At one point, they allegedly ran into Lauer, who then joined them. By the end of the night, Nevils said she had downed six shots of vodka. Lauer had taken her press credential as a joke, so she went to his hotel room to retrieve it. After returning to her own suite, Lauer invited her back to his room. Thinking he would be nothing but “friendly,” as always, she she she went.
Once inside, Nevils claimed Lauer — who was wearing nothing but a T-shirt and boxers — pushed her against the door and kissed her.
He then pushed her onto the bed, “flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex,” Farrow writes. “She said that she declined several times.”
Farrow adds that according to Nevils, she “was in the midst of telling him she wasn’t interested again when he ‘Just did it.'"
Lauer “didn’t use lubricant,” Nevils said, and the encounter was "excruciatingly" painful.
Eventually, she said she stopped saying no and wept silently into a pillow. When Lauer asked her again if she liked it, she said yes.
She claimed she "bled for days,” Farrow writes.
Nevils told Farrow that the assault “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,” she said.
Nevils said she had more sexual encounters with Lauer after returning to New York City, and sources close to the former co-anchor said she sometimes initiated them.
She told Farrow that the fact that she kept going back to him after the alleged rape is why she blames herself.
Nevils told Farrow she was terrified about the control Lauer had over her career, but despite that, told “like a million people” about the assault.
“She told colleagues and superiors at NBC,” Farrow wrote, “and reported it to one of her new bosses there. This was no secret.”
After the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Nevils told Vieira about the incident in Sochi.
Viera urged Nevils to go to NBC Universal human resources with a lawyer, which she did.
Lauer was subsequently fired, though the network did not expose the details of the abuse.
After Lauer’s firing, Nevils said her work life “became torture.”
Though she was promised anonymity, it didn’t take long for everyone in the company to figure it out it was her. Farrow writes that “colleagues loyal to Lauer cast doubt on the claims, and judgment on her.”
Not surprisingly, she decided to leave. Though Nevils had not wanted money, she went on medical leave in 2018. NBC agreed and paid her “seven figures.”
“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,” Farrow writes.
After she left, Nevils was still haunted by the alleged rape and soon learned that Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News, and Andrew Lack, the chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, “were emphasizing that the incident hadn’t been ‘criminal’ or an ‘assault.’” Their words caused her to throw up, Farrow writes.
Hours after Nevils' claims became public, Lauer released a statement vehemently denying he sexually assaulted her.
"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," he told Variety via his legal team on October 9.
"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 went on to claim the affair lasted until 2017, and the pair was on good terms until his firing.
RadarOnline.com readers know Lauer first shared a public apology after his firing, saying that while not all the accusations were true, there was enough truth to them to make him feel ashamed.
The man once known as the face of American news then became recluse, spending his days trapped in his Long Island home with his kids and then-wife, Annette Roque. The two have since split, and finalized their divorce.
Also in his book, Farrow details his investigation into the Weinstein misconduct case, including how NBC allegedly tried to kill the story, and how the ousted film producer, 67, apparently tried to stop him from ever publishing it in The New Yorker.
Catch and Kill will be released on October 15.