Matt Lauer denies rape allegation in new Ronan Farrow book

The Hill 2 months ago

Former "Today Show" host denied a recently published allegation that he raped a former colleague, calling the accusation "categorically false."

"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," he wrote in a lengthy statement to Variety

The magazine had previously published details of investigative journalist Ronan Farrow's new book, in which Brooke Nevils accused Lauer of rape. 

Lauer denied Nevils's accusation that he raped her in a hotel room while they were covering the winter Olympics in Sochi, saying that her claim was full of "false details."

"I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014. It began when she came to my hotel room very late one night in Sochi, Russia. We engaged in a variety of sexual acts. We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual," he wrote. 

"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. At no time did she behave in a way that made it appear she was incapable of consent. She seemed to know exactly what she wanted to do. The only concern she expressed was that someone might see her leaving my room. She embraced me at the door as she left," he added. 

The former host also pushed back on Nevils's statement that she was concerned about the impact he had on her career, saying she did not work for him. 

"Brooke now says that she was terrified about the control I had over her career and felt pressure to agree to our encounters after Sochi. But at no time during our relationship did Brooke work for me, the Today Show, or NBC News. She worked for Meredith Vieira (who had not worked for the Today Show in several years) in a completely different part of the network, and I had no role in reviewing Brooke’s work," he wrote. 

Lauer also accused Nevils of making  "false accusations" after he ended the affair and to help sell as book. 

"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," he wrote.

"She is making outrageous and false accusations to help sell a different book and stepping into the spotlight to cause as much damage as she can," he added.

Lauer also denied previously reported accusations of sexual harassment, including allegations that he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock the door from inside his office.

"It would have been impossible to confine anyone in my office, for any purpose, and I have never attempted to make anyone feel as if they were confined in my office. I have never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period," he wrote.

Nevils alleged in Farrow's new book "Catch and Kill" that she drank heavily before entering Lauer's hotel room at the Sochi Olympics and was not in a condition to consent to sex, Variety reported. 

She also said in the book that she explicitly declined anal sex several times, according to the magazine, but Lauer "just did it."

Nevils tells Farrow in the book that the experience was painful, and that while she stopped saying no, she cried silently into a pillow.  

“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils reportedly told Farrow. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”

When they had returned from Russia, Nevils said she had more sexual encounters with Lauer. Farrow notes that some sources close to Lauer emphasized Nevils initiated some of those encounters. 

“What is not in dispute is that Nevils, like several of the women I’d spoken to, had further sexual encounters with the man she said assaulted her," Farrow writes.

"‘This is what I blame myself most for,’” Nevils tells Farrow in the book. “'It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.'”

"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," NBC News told The Hill in a statement Wednesday. 

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