Matt Lauer Accused of Rape by NBC News Colleague in Ronan Farrow's New Book: Report
An explosive new allegation about former Today co-anchor Matt Lauer has surfaced in a new book by journalist Ronan Farrow.
According to Variety, in Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, out Oct. 15, Farrow interviews former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils, whose complaint about Lauer led to his firing in November 2017. At the time, Nevils’ identity was kept anonymous at her request; this is the first time the full details of her allegations have been made public.
Nevils alleges in the book, according to Variety, that at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room.
A rep for Lauer did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
In Nevils’ account, according to Variety, she was tasked in Sochi with working with former Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira, who’d been brought back to the show to do Olympics coverage, and they ran into Lauer at the hotel bar one night.
At the end of the night, 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, she says in the book, according to Variety.
Once she was in his hotel room, Nevils alleges, according to Variety, Lauer kissed her, then pushed her onto the bed and asked if she liked anal sex. Farrow writes that Nevils said she “declined several times,” Variety reports, but he allegedly “just did it” and didn’t use lubricant. Nevils reportedly claims the encounter was painful and that she “bled for days.”
“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” she reportedly tells Farrow in the book. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
Nevils says in the book that she had more sexual encounters with Lauer back in New York City, according to Variety, telling Farrow: “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”
At Vieira’s urging, Nevils reported her ordeal to NBC executives in the fall of 2017, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Variety reports. Lauer was fired, Nevils went on medical leave in 2018 and was eventually paid, Farrow writes, according to Variety, “seven figures.”
PEOPLE is out to reps for Vieira and Farrow.
In a statement read on-air Wednesday on the Today show, NBC News said, “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.”
At the time of Lauer’s firing, a source later told PEOPLE that he was let go due to sexual misconduct throughout 2014 with the woman who made the complaint, including at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Another source with knowledge of the situation said Lauer had viewed this relationship as “consensual” and was “dumbfounded” by the accusation.
Women have also anonymously accused him of sexual harassment and assault in reports previously published by Variety and The New York Times.
Lauer, who joined NBC in 1992 as a newsreader on Today and had been co-anchor of the morning show since January 1997, broke his silence on the allegations in a statement read by his former co-hosts on-air after his firing.
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” he said. “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.”
“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. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly,” he continued. “Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching, and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
He addressed his past relationships with colleagues in a second statement to the Washington Post in April 2018.
“Five months ago I was terminated by NBC after admitting to past relationships with co-workers,” he said. “A day later I took responsibility, apologized to the people I had hurt and promised to begin the process of repairing the damage I had caused my family. I have worked every day since then to honor that promise.”
“I have made no public comments on the many false stories from anonymous or biased sources that have been reported about me over these past several months — including a claim that I would, or even could, lock someone in my office,” he continued. “I remained silent in an attempt to protect my family from further embarrassment and to restore a small degree of the privacy they have lost. But defending my family now requires me to speak up. I fully acknowledge that I acted inappropriately as a husband, father and principal at NBC. However I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegations or reports of coercive, aggressive or abusive actions on my part, at any time, are absolutely false.”
Lauer and his longtime wife Annette Roque separated after his firing; their divorce was finalized in September.
“They are both focused on their three children,” a source told PEOPLE at the time.
Catch and Kill is out Oct. 15.
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