'shocking and appalling'
Matt Lauer was fired from Today after allegedly raping an NBC News colleague, Ronan Farrow's new book has revealed.
When NBC News fired Lauer in November 2017, it cited having received a complaint of "inappropriate sexual behavior." Numerous women would later accuse Lauer of sexual misconduct, but the identity of this initial accuser and the details of her allegation were not known.
Now, Farrow's new book Catch and Kill includes an interview with the initial accuser, Brooke Nevils, who alleges Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Variety reports.
According to excerpts from the book, Nevils alleges Lauer pushed her onto the bed, "flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex." She says she declined several times and "was in the midst of telling him she wasn't interested again when he 'just did it.'" Farrow writes that Nevils stopped saying no and "wept silently into a pillow," and she says she "bled for days" afterward.
"It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent," Nevils tells Farrow. "It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn't want to have anal sex."
Farrow reports Nevils had additional sexual encounters with Lauer while being scared of the power he had over her career, describing the encounters as "completely transactional." Eventually, she told colleagues and superiors and in 2017 went with a lawyer to NBC Universal's human resources, prompting Lauer's firing.
But the book claims NBC News President Noah Oppenheim and NBC News Chair Andrew Lack still "were emphasizing that the incident hadn't been 'criminal' or an 'assault' — which she claims caused her to throw up."
In a new statement, NBC News that Lauer's "conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible" and that "our hearts break again for our colleague." Savannah Guthrie addressed the new claims on Today Wednesday, calling them "shocking and appalling." Lauer has denied any "abusive" behavior.
Update: Lauer has denied Nevils' allegation in a new statement, calling it "categorically false" and saying their encounter as "completely consensual."