Former NBC anchor Matt Lauer raped a colleague while he was in Russia for the 2014 Olympics, according to Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill.”
The book, first reported by Variety, includes an interview with former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils, whose complaint about Lauer led to his firing from the “Today” show in 2017. She had not come forward publicly before.
According to the book. Nevils says that Lauer “anally raped” her while they were both covering the Sochi Olympics.
Nevils was working with former “Today” co-anchor Meredith Vieira at the games. Lauer joined the two at the hotel bar one evening, according to the book.
“Nevils, who’d had six shots of vodka, ended up going to Lauer’s hotel room twice — once to retrieve her press credential, which Lauer had taken as a joke, and the second time because he invited her back,” Variety reported. “Nevils, Farrow writes, ‘had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience.’”
Once in his room, Nevils says Lauer pushed her against the door and kissed her. He then pushed her on to the bed, “flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex,” Farrow wrote. “She said that she declined several times.”
Nevils said she was “in the midst of telling him she wasn’t interested again when he ‘just did it,’” according to Farrow. “Lauer, she said, didn’t use lubricant. The encounter was excruciatingly painful. ‘It hurt so bad. I remember thinking, Is this normal?’ She told me she stopped saying no, but wept silently into a pillow.” According to Farrow, Lauer then asked her if she liked it and she said yes. She claims that “she bled for days.”
Nevils had further sexual encounters with Lauer:
Farrow wrote that Nevils had more sexual encounters with Lauer after they returned to New York.
“Sources close to Lauer emphasized that she sometimes initiated contact,” Farrow writes. “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,’” she told Farrow. “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”
She later told “like a million people” about what had happened, she said.
“She told colleagues and superiors at NBC,” Farrow wrote. “It was no secret.”
“Nevils’s work life became torture,” according to Farrow. “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.”
Nevil’s eventually left the company after being paid “seven figures,” according to Farrow.
In an open letter, Lauer denied any wrongdoing.
“In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault,” Lauer said. “It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense.”
“We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual,” he said.