Former “TODAY” Show host Matt Lauer has issued an open letter Wednesday addressing rape allegations made against him by former NBC employee Brooke Nevils. Nevils spoke with Ronan Farrow for his new book, “Catch and Kill.”
Variety obtained a copy of the new book and said Nevils told Farrow Lauer raped her in his hotel room during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Nevils said she was there working with “TODAY” co-anchor Meredith Vieira as she covered the Olympics. NBC kept Nevils identity private at her request, but she’s now come forward publicly for the first time.
“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 wrote, according to Variety. “It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense.”
Lauer goes on to say he believed his “silence was a mistake,” after he was fired from “TODAY,” according to Insider.
“There was absolutely nothing aggressive about that encounter” 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,” he wrote.
In the excerpts of Farrow’s book provided by Variety, Nevils said Lauer invited her to his hotel room after grabbing drinks with her and Vieira. When she arrived, she said he pushed her against the door and kissed her before pushing her onto the bed, where he raped her.
“Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time,” NBC News said in a statement Wednesday morning. “That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”
“TODAY” anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb addressed the allegations on the show Wednesday morning as well.
“They are not allegations of an affair,” Kotb said. “They are allegations of a crime.”
“We support her and any women who come forward with claims,” Kotb added. And it is just very painful. For all of us at NBC who are at the ‘Today’ show, it is very very difficult.”