Two years after the “Today” show fired longtime anchor Matt Lauer, a new book by Ronan Farrow alleges that Lauer lost his job after former NBC employee Brooke Nevils accused Lauer of anally raping her, Variety reported late Tuesday night.
At the time of his firing, NBC News did not reveal either Nevils’ identity, at her request, or the full details of her allegations. But she spoke with Farrow, a New Yorker reporter who helped break the allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, for his book, “Catch and Kill.”
VICE News has not seen the book, which is scheduled to be released in mid-October, but the details of Nevils’ interview were obtained by Variety. Lauer, in a letter to Variety Wednesday morning, denounced Nevils’ allegation as “categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense.”
In Farrow’s book, Nevils reportedly says Lauer raped her while they were in Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Olympics. Nevils was then working with Meredith Veira, another former “Today” anchor, and the two ran into Lauer at the hotel bar, according to Variety. She allegedly had six shots of vodka, and eventually went back to Lauer’s hotel room.
There, Nevils says, Lauer pushed her against the door, kissed her, and then pushed her onto the bed. He allegedly asked her if she liked anal sex, and Nevils “declined several times,” Farrow writes, according to Variety.
Nevils “was in the midst of telling him she wasn’t interested again when he ‘just did it,’” Farrow goes on, Variety reported. He allegedly did not use lubricant, and Nevils ended up crying into a pillow. She also reportedly ended up bleeding for days.
“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils reportedly told Farrow. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
When they returned to the United States, Nevils says she had more sexual encounters with Lauer, for which she blames herself and which she calls “completely transactional.” She reportedly feared Lauer’s ability to impact her career.
On Wednesday morning, Lauer said the encounter in Sochi was consensual, and described his ensuing relationship with Nevils as a months-long affair that ended when Lauer stopped communicating with her. Nevils tried to rekindle the affair, Lauer said, but didn’t indicate to him that she found their relationship to be nonconsensual. He said he didn’t review Nevils’ work, and she worked in a separate part of the network.
“There was absolutely nothing aggressive about that encounter” in Sochi, Lauer said in his Variety letter. “Brooke did not do or say anything to object. She certainly did not cry. She was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner. At no time did she behave in a way that made it appear she was incapable of consent.”
Nevils eventually told Veira her account, after the #MeToo movement broke in 2017, and Veira urged her to file a formal complaint, Variety reported. But after Lauer was fired, Nevils says she found out that NBC News’ president and chairman were "emphasizing that the incident had not been 'criminal' or an 'assault.'"
"Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time,” NBC News said in a statement after Variety’s report was published. “That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague."
Multiple women have accused Lauer of sexual harassment, including reportedly giving a female colleague a sex toy as a present — alongside a note detailing how he wanted to use it on her — and showing another his penis.
Cover: In this Friday, March 29, 2013, file photo, Matt Lauer, co-host of the NBC "Today" television program, appears during a segment of the show in New York's Rockefeller Center. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)