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Matt Lauer. Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Former co-host of NBC's "Today" show Matt Lauer on Wednesday responded to new allegations of workplace sexual misconduct detailed in Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Why it matters: Lauer said his silence amid the accusations "has been a mistake" and that the women who have made claims of misconduct have "shielded themselves from blame behind false allegations." NBC fired Lauer in Nov. 2017.

What they're saying: Specifically, Lauer admitted to an extramarital affair with NBC News employee Brooke Nevils, that took place at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but denied allegations of rape, and said it "was mutual and completely consensual." Nevils, however, said she was too drunk at the time to give consent.

"The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this was an abusive encounter. Nothing could be further from the truth. 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."
— Matt Lauer

Lauer said Nevils and he had multiple sexual encounters after the Olympics. When he ended the illicit relationship, he said Nevils filed a complaint with NBC "in an effort to rekindle the affair."

"I attempted to go back to my life and pretend as if nothing had happened. I understand how that must have made her feel. However, being upset or having second thoughts does not give anyone the right to make false accusations years later about an affair in which they fully and willingly participated."

NBC said in a statement to Farrow: "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."

Go deeper: Ronan Farrow's new book accuses Matt Lauer of raping NBC colleague

Go deeper

Biden speaks with Macron for first time since diplomatic crisis

President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have a conversation ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels, on June 14, 2021. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time since a diplomatic row erupted over a scrapped submarine order, per the White House.

Driving the news: Macron said that the French ambassador will return to Washington next week and will resume working with senior U.S. officials.

50 mins ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran "plan B"

Bennett and Biden. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran last week to discuss a possible “plan B” if nuclear talks are not resumed, two senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time a top-secret U.S.-Israel strategic working group on Iran has convened since the new Israeli government took office in June.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan plans to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE next week

Sullivan. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan is planning to travel to the Middle East next week, including a stop in Saudi Arabia. He would be the most senior Biden administration official to visit the kingdom.

Why it matters: Sullivan's first trip to the region since taking office is expected to include stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, sources briefed on the plans tell Axios. All three countries are longtime U.S. partners who have faced some early tensions with Biden.