Oct 9, 2019

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

Matt Lauer. Photo: Noam Galai/WireImage

Investigative reporter Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill” alleges that former co-host of NBC's "Today" show Matt Lauer raped colleague Brooke Nevils at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to Variety magazine.

Why it matters: NBC News fired Lauer in 2017 following a "detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace" filed by Nevils, but NBC executives emphasized that the incident hadn’t been criminal or an assault.

Details: Nevils, a former NBC News employee, said she was helping cover Olympic coverage in Sochi and went to a hotel bar with Lauer and another colleague.

  • Nevils said she had 6 shots of vodka and went to Lauer's hotel room twice — once to get her press pass and a second time on his invitation. Nevils told Farrow that Lauer forced himself on her.
  • “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils said, according to Variety.
  • Back in New York City, Nevils continued to have sexual encounters with Lauer. "This is what I blame myself most for," she told Farrow. "It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship."

Farrow writes that Nevils told colleagues and superiors at NBC and was transferred from NBC News to NBC’s Peacock Productions.

  • After she filed the complaint, Lauer was fired, but Nevils found out that Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News, and Andrew Lack, the chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, had said that the incident hadn’t been criminal or an assault.
  • And though Nevils was granted anonymity by human resources, NBC employees knew she filed the complaint, she said.
  • When Nevils decided to leave NBC, "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," Farrow writes.

What they're saying: 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."

  • In a statement to Variety, Lauer said: "In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault. It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense."
  • In 2017, Lauer released a statement after his firing saying: "There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. 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."

Go deeper: NBC fires Matt Lauer for "inappropriate sexual behavior"

Editor’s note: NBC is an investor in Axios and Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, is a member of the Axios board. MSNBC & Axios engage in a weekday sponsored television appearance at 5:55am ET.

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Matt Lauer responds to Ronan Farrow's allegations

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.

Go deeperArrowOct 9, 2019

NBC News president sends staff memo addressing Ronan Farrow book

Photo: Mike Pont/Getty Images for Peabody

NBC News President Noah Oppenheim sent a memo to NBC News/MSNBC staffers on Monday morning defending the company against allegations — in Ronan Farrow's new book, "Catch and Kill" — that NBC management engaged in a cover-up to hide sexual misconduct by former "Today" show host Matt Lauer.

"Matt Lauer's actions were abhorrent, and the anger and sadness he caused continue to this day.  As we've said since the moment he was fired, his abuses should never have happened. Ronan Farrow's book takes that undeniable fact and twists it into a lie — alleging we were a 'company with a lot of secrets.' We have no secrets and nothing to hide."
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What we know: Ronan Farrow's new book "Catch and Kill"

Ronan Farrow. Photo: Angel/AFP/Getty Images

In his yet-to-be released book, investigative reporter Ronan Farrow recounts the difficulties he faced while chasing the Harvey Weinstein story, his fallout with NBC News, and the "untold story of one of the secret heroes of the #MeToo movement."

The big picture: "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators," is scheduled for release on Oct. 15. The book covers "the rampant abuse of power and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook our culture," according to its listing on Amazon.

Go deeperArrowOct 9, 2019