Update: For what it is worth, Matt Lauer penned a letter in which he denies the assault allegations, claiming that it was a consensual affair. The letter is littered with red flags, primarily Lauer’s belief that he did not have control over Brooke Nevils’ career because she did not work directly for him, which ignores the controlling power of his celebrity, wealth, and power.
It was nearly two years ago that Matt Lauer was fired from NBC’s Today over a long list of sexual misconduct claims. But one of the most disturbing allegations has just come to light in Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow’s new book about his investigations into Lauer and Harvey Weinstein. In it, Farrow reveals the story of former NBC News producer Brooke Nevils, who says Lauer raped her during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Variety details Nevils’ account, beginning with how she was drinking with Meredith Viera at a hotel bar when Lauer joined them and stole her press badge “as a joke.” She went to his hotel room to retrieve it, and then came back at his invitation. He answered the door in his boxers and initiated sexual contact by pushing her against the door and kissing her.
I warn you, from here the details may be triggering.
He then pushed her onto the bed, “flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex,” Farrow writes. “She said that she declined several times.”
According to Nevils, she “was in the midst of telling him she wasn’t interested again when he ‘just did it,’” Farrow writes. “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.” Lauer then asked her if she liked it. She tells him yes. She claims that “she bled for days,” Farrow writes.
Nevils tells Farrow: “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” she says. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
This matches the alleged M.O. of Lauer. When the allegations first broke in 2017, Variety reported:
According to multiple accounts, independently corroborated by Variety, Lauer would invite women employed by NBC late at night to his hotel room while covering the Olympics in various cities over the years. He later told colleagues how his wife had accompanied him to the  London Olympics because she didn’t trust him to travel alone.
Laurer’s defenders will likely rebuff Nevils’ claim by pointing out that she went on to have sex with Lauer several more times once they returned to New York. In his book, Farrow explains that’s was a pattern he found in his interviews with sexual assault victims. And Nevils notes how she felt the future of her career at NBC would be determined by her interactions with him, saying, “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”
This too fits with previous reports of Lauer’s behavior and how he exerted power to get sex and then silence. However, Nevils says she told colleagues and her boss, but nothing came of it until Viera recommended she go to HR with a lawyer. From there, enough details leaked within NBC that Nevils felt outed, which made the many, many work discussions about the allegations all the more harrowing. In 2018, she left with a seven-figure severance and a suggested script for what to tell people when they asked why.
Here is how Today is covering this story.
Overnight, troubling new allegations about former TODAY anchor Matt Lauer were revealed from journalist Ronan Farrow’s soon-to-be-released book “Catch and Kill.” @MorganRadford reports the details. pic.twitter.com/7ooO3oAJ5X— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 9, 2019
NBC News was not given an advance copy of the book, so they basically read Variety’s article on air. NBC News and Variety have reached out to Lauer for comment, neither has heard back. But we’d imagine Lauer’s return to television is on hold indefinitely.
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