It’s been almost two years since Matt Lauer was fired from the Today Show due to allegations of sexual misconduct, yet his name is all over the headlines today. The book “Catch and Kill” by Ronan Farrow is set to be released next week, which highlights the allegations made by the woman that prompted Lauer’s termination.
Now, Lauer is breaking his silence in a detailed letter released by his lawyer, defending himself against these new accusations as well as some from the past.
The latest bombshell
Farrow recently gave a preview of his book, revealing that he spoke at length to Brooke Nevils, the former NBC News employee whose complaint provoked 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.
Though Nevils admitted to drinking alcohol the night of the alleged incident, she insisted that the encounter was not with her consent. “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” she told Farrow. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
The sexual encounters continued after the NBC crew was back in New York following the Olympics. “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.” The “Catch and Kill” author goes on to report that despite Nevils telling NBC executives about the encounter, her allegations were minimized.
Nevils went 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 answers back
The disgraced Today Show anchor immediately responded to the new accusations, penning a comprehensive letter released by his lawyers that refutes many of Nevils’ claims. Lauer wrote that he has remained silent for the past two years to protect his family from more detrimental headlines, but now sees that it’s in his best interest to give his side of the story.
“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,” he writes, along with explicit details of their encounter, according to Variety. “Each act was mutual and completely consensual… The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this was an abusive encounter. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Lauer described their contact when both he and Nevils were back at work in Manhattan following the Olympic games. “After we returned to New York, we both communicated by text and by phone. We met for drinks, and she met me at my apartment on multiple occasions to continue our affair,” he states in his letter. “Our meetings were arranged mutually. At no time, during or after her multiple visits to my apartment, did she express in words or actions any discomfort with being there, or with our affair.”
The former news anchor admitted to a tryst with Nevils in his office at the Today headquarters, still maintaining that it was consensual. “It showed terrible judgment on my part, but it was completely mutual and consensual.”
Lauer went on to dispute Nevils’ claims of his trying to have power over her or risking her career, suggesting she was seeking some type of payout for a salacious story. “She says she felt pressure to continue the affair because I had control over her career, but she did not work for me, the Today Show, or NBC News,” he wrote in his letter. “She said she wanted to remain anonymous, yet she was reportedly trying to sell a book within year after filing her complaint. She said she just wanted NBC to ‘do the right thing,’ yet she sought a monetary payment, and two years after I was fired, she is stepping forward to do more damage.”
Lauer also disputed reports that he had a button in his office that could lock people in against their will, and emphatically denies ever committing sexual assault. “I have never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period.”
He also mentions his family and the pain his actions have caused. “Because of my infidelity, I have brought more pain and embarrassment to my family than most people can ever begin to understand. They’ve been through hell,” he commented in his letter.
Farrow has yet to comment on Lauer’s denial of what his book entails. “Catch and Kill” is set to be released on October 15.