Published: Wed, October 09, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

‘Today’ addresses ‘appalling’ new Matt Lauer report: 'It’s just very painful'

‘Today’ addresses ‘appalling’ new Matt Lauer report: 'It’s just very painful'

Ronan Farrow's new book about his groundbreaking investigative work on Harvey Weinstein, Catch and Kill, includes a shocking new twist on Lauer's abrupt firing from NBC News and the Today show. Lauer was sacked by NBC in 2017 for what it called inappropriate sexual conduct. Nevils now alleges that at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room. Nevils maintains this specific encounter was nonconsensual as she was both too drunk to consent and repeatedly told him she did not want to have anal sex.

The staffer says though she did continue a sexual relationship with Lauer, calling their encounters completely transactional, something she says she deeply regrets.

In a letter from Lauer provided to Variety, the former NBC anchor responded: "I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014". He joined them, and allegedly ended up jokingly taking Nevils' press credential and bringing it back to his hotel room.

Farrow's book also notes that Nevils and Lauer also had sexual encounters in the former "Today" host's Upper East Side apartment and in his office, and that "sources close to Lauer emphasized that she sometimes initiated contact". Lauer was sacked, Nevils went on medical leave in 2018 and was eventually paid "seven figures", Farrow writes, according to Variety.

Nevils had previously reported the alleged attack to NBC higher-ups, who say they fired him the next day in 2017.

"I was [in L.A.] and my phone started going off at 4 a.m", she said. Nevils, Farrow writes, "had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience". More women came forward to accuse Lauer of misconduct - including allegations that he once gave a colleague a sex toy as a gift and that he had exposed his penis to another female colleague.

"My client and I met with representatives from NBC's Human Resources and Legal Department at 6pm on Monday", Nevils' attorney Ari Wilkenfeld said at the time.

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Nevils told Farrow she told "like a million people" what happened.

At the time, Nevils was working with then-Today Show co-host Meredith Vieira.

In a report Wednesday on "Today", the network said in a statement: "Matt Lauer's conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible as we said at the time". That's why he was sacked within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. That's nearly all of the credit they deserve in this tale, however, as the new revelations force a recalculation of NBC's actions and the timeline of their dealings with Lauer.

Farrow also shares details about his friction with NBC as he ran his Weinstein exposes with The New Yorker. "Our hearts break again for our colleague", NBC News said in a statement that was read on air.

According to the book, Nevils told Farrow the encounter was painful and that "she stopped saying no, but wept silently into a pillow". "I hope those people will understand that these allegations cross a serious line, and what they can share is a vital truth, even if it may seem unpopular".

"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".

Nevils went on medical leave in 2018 and was paid a seven-figure sum by NBC.

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