Monday, 14 October, 2019

Matt Lauer raped NBC colleague, says Ronan Farrow book

Hoda Kotb Savannah Guthrie CREDIT Courtesy of NBC News
Julia Gonzales | 09 October, 2019, 20:11

A new book by Ronan Farrow details the sexual assault allegations that ended Matt Lauer's run at the Today Show.

She says it happened after a night of drinking with Lauer and others at a hotel bar.

Lauer, 61, allegedly pushed Nevils against a door and kissed her before moving to the bed and "flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex", Farrow wrote, according to Variety. Lauer was sacked, Nevils went on medical leave in 2018 and was eventually paid "seven figures", Farrow writes, according to Variety.

Lauer has not yet commented on the allegation of rape. The book states that Weinstein and Dylan Howard - Chief Content Officer of National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc - searched for a way to coerce NBC into killing Farrow's reporting, eventually landing on a strategy focused on disgraced Today show anchor, Matt Lauer.

At Vieira's urging, Nevils reported her ordeal to NBC executives in the fall of 2017, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Variety reports. After concluding that his "silence was a mistake", Lauer writes: "Today, almost two years after I was sacked by NBC, old stories are being recycled, titillating details are being added, and a unsafe and defamatory new allegation is being made".

NBC News Chairman Andy Lack, who is a key figure of the Variety report, also issued a statement that was read aloud. And as you said, our thoughts are with Brooke.

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. We were sitting here just like this two years ago, and truth be told, Savannah, I did a little prayer upstairs just to sort out what we were going to do", Kotb said.

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Vieira recently opened to PEOPLE about learning the news of Lauer's firing, calling the moment "like a gut punch". She said she had not consented to the sexual act, which she called "excruciatingly painful". "It was completely transactional". In the book, Farrow claims that the new network was obstructive.

Nevils says she continued to have more sexual encounters with Lauer post-Sochi, and she was sometimes the initiator. However, Nevils explained in the book that at no time was it consensual for her. That's why he was sacked within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint.

Farrow wrote that "she had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience". "It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn't want to have anal sex". She certainly did not cry.

In Sochi, Nevils was tasked with working with former "Today" co-anchor Meredith Vieira, who'd been brought back to the show to do Olympics coverage. "Our hearts break for our colleague".

Farrow also makes this point in his book, writing in 2017 that "NBC leadership and the press had deemed" her story "a consensual affair". They said none of the seven victims whom Farrow named in his meticulously reported New Yorker piece - Asia Argento, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette, Lucia Evans, Emma de Caunes, Jessica Barth and Sophie Dix - were willing to speak on the record or be identified on camera to discuss the allegations.

Nevils went on medical leave in 2018 and received a payout of more than $1 million, Farrow wrote in the book which comes out next week.

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