Former ‘Today Show’ Co-Host Matt Lauer is the Topic of Ronan Farrow’s Explosive Preview of His Book ‘Catch and Kill’

Matt Lauer was fired from the Today Show almost two years ago due to allegations of sexual misconduct, when the #MeToo movement was starting to gain momentum. Journalist Ronan Farrow has reported on several cases related to this issue, previously writing articles for The New Yorker that helped reveal the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations.

Farrow’s upcoming book “Catch and Kill” explores developments in the #MeToo movement, as well as the cover-ups that were enforced to keep high-profile names out of the media. Lauer fell under that category, with Farrow alleging that NBC was complicit in their lack of action.

Former "Today Show" Co-Host Matt Lauer
Matt Lauer | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Major shakeup at NBC

News of Charlie Rose’s firing at CBS This Morning due to sexual misconduct allegations had barely left the headlines when Lauer was terminated from the Today Show. According to NBC News, a female colleague had accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which continued after the games concluded. More allegations followed after Lauer was fired.

NBC maintained that executives were never told of any impropriety by Lauer. “We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct,” a spokesperson for the network said.

“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” Lauer wrote in a statement released by his public relations team, according to The New York Times. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”

An explosive development

With Farrow’s book hitting the stands next week, the author recently revealed that he interviewed Brooke Nevils, the former NBC News employee whose complaint about Lauer prompted the anchor’s firing, according to Variety. In “Catch and Kill,” Nevils allegedly accuses Lauer of raping her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Nevils admitted to drinking alcohol the night of the alleged incident, where she went to Lauer’s hotel room twice – once to retrieve press credentials, and once by Lauer’s invitation. Farrow wrote that Nevils “had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience.”

Farrow goes on to give explicit details of Nevils account, telling 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.”

Matt Lauer "Today Show" Sochi Olympics 2014
Matt Lauer reports for the “Today Show” at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia | Scott Halleran/Getty Images

After Sochi

Once the Olympics concluded and the NBC staff returned to New York City, Nevils revealed that she continued to have sexual contact with Lauer. “Sources close to Lauer emphasized that she sometimes initiated contact,” Farrow wrote, according to Variety. “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,’” Nevils told Farrow “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”

Farrow reports in his book that Nevils did not keep her allegations a secret. “She told colleagues and superiors at NBC,” he writes in “Catch and Kill.” When Nevils moved to NBC’s Peacock Productions to be a producer, she “reported it to one of her new bosses there.” Nevils also told former Today Show co-host Meredith Viera of the incident, who implored Nevils to tell NBC Universal human resources with a lawyer, which she did.

Variety reports that according to Farrow’s book, 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,’” sentiments that made Nevils’s workplace a living hell. “Nevils’s work life became torture,” Farrow wrote. “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.”

The NBC grapevine was buzzing about the allegations, with Nevils’s ability to maintain anonymity an impossibility. She chose to go on medical leave in 2018 and was paid a seven-figure sum, according to Farrow.

“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 wrote.

Lauer has released his own statement, denying Nevils’s account. “There was absolutely nothing aggressive about that encounter,” he said in part, according to Buzzfeed. “Brooke did not do or say anything to object. She certainly did not cry. She was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner.
I have never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period.”

Farrow’s book “Catch and Kill” is scheduled to be released on October 15.