Matt Lauer has vehemently disputed the rape allegation made by a woman who was in Sochi with him at the time of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
In Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill, Brooke Nevils — who was in Sochi to assist Meredith Vieira as the former Today anchor contributed to Olympics coverage — details a hotel room encounter, following many drinks, during which she alleges Lauer forced anal sex upon her. Nevils went on to claim that once back in the States, she, out of fear for what the veteran newsman might do to her career if rebuffed, had sexual encounters with Lauer.
Lauer, however, tells a very different story in a 1,400-word letter cited by our sister site Variety.
Having heretofore “decided to just stay quiet and work on repairing my relationship with the people I love” (his marriage of 20 years ended in divorce last month), Lauer now concedes, “my silence has been a mistake,” seeing as it allowed claims such as Nevils’ to gain traction.
Nevils’ allegation of assault “is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense,” Lauer says. The Sochi encounter, he details, was in fact “mutual and completely consensual.”
“Brooke did not do or say anything to object…. She was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner,” Lauer alleges. “At no time did she behave in a way that made it appear she was incapable of consent. She seemed to know exactly what she wanted to do.”
Lauer claims that he and Nevils continued their extramarital affair once back in New York, noting that never did she “express in words or actions any discomfort” with the arrangement.
He also argues that since Nevils was working for Vieira, who had been contracted for the Olympics by a different part of the network, he was in no position to “control” her career.
Lauer cops to badly ending the affair, after which Nevils at least once allegedly attempted to rekindle it. He says that they ran into each other intermittently over the years, where Nevils always greeted him “warmly.” It was not until November 2017, when NBC’s legal department called him in for a meeting, that Lauer learned Nevils had filed any complaint. And even then, he claims that he was not told the Sochi encounter had been framed as non-consensual. “Had I been, I would have defended myself immediately,” he writes.
In response to Nevils’ account in Catch and Kill, NBC News issued a statement on Wednesday morning, saying: “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.”