Brooke Nevils tells her story in a forthcoming book by reporter Ronan Farrow.
Matt Lauer was fired by NBC in November 2017 after a colleague made a sexual misconduct complaint against him. In the days that followed, more allegations against Lauer emerged, including one by a woman who said he sexually assaulted her in his office.
Now, two years after the allegations first became public, the woman who made the 2017 complaint has spoken out under her name: Brooke Nevils, a former NBC News employee, says that Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
The account appears in a forthcoming book by New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow, a copy of which was obtained by Variety ahead of publication.
“It hurt so bad. I remember thinking, Is this normal?” Nevils told Farrow, according to Variety. Nevils also said that she “bled for days” after the assault, Farrow writes.
Lauer denies the allegation in a lengthy letter to Variety, claiming that he and Nevils had a consensual affair. The former Today host also claims that other women have made false allegations against him in order to cover up their own infidelity: “For two years, the women with whom I had extramarital relationships have abandoned shared responsibility, and instead, shielded themselves from blame behind false allegations,” he writes.
Lauer was part of a wave of powerful men deposed from their jobs as the #MeToo movement gained public attention in 2017. He was also one of the first of those men rumored to be considering a comeback. And now, he’s joined another group — men who, when confronted with allegations that they abused women, claim that those women are liars out for personal gain.
Lauer was fired in 2017 after a sexual misconduct complaint against him
Matt Lauer started as co-host of Today in 1997 and became a well-known presence in American homes, interviewing public figures from Tom Cruise to Hillary Clinton.
But on November 29, 2017, NBC News chair Andrew Lack issued a statement announcing Lauer’s firing.
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,” said the statement, which was read on the air by Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie. “It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.”
The New York Times reported that the complaint came from a woman whose involvement with Lauer started during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to Lack. But her name was not released.
The Times reported that shortly after her complaint, NBC received at least two more. One woman, who did not want her name used, told the Times that in 2001, Lauer asked her to come to his office during the workday. Then he locked the door, which she said he could do using a button at his desk (other NBC employees told the Times that the buttons were a security measure for high-profile employees). She said Lauer then pulled down her pants and sexually assaulted her. During the assault, she said, she passed out. She said Lauer got his assistant to take her to a nurse.
At the time, Lauer issued a statement saying that “some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
By spring 2018, Lauer was reportedly planning a comeback, like other powerful men who were the subject of sexual misconduct allegations, including Mario Batali and Charlie Rose. In April of that year, Page Six reported that the former Today host was “said to be testing the waters” for returning to public life “by coming out of hiding from his Hamptons home.”
“With his marriage to Annette Roque now over, he’s ready to restart his life, pals say,” wrote Richard Johnson at Page Six.
Now Brooke Nevils, who made the complaint, is coming forward under her name to say that Lauer raped her
On Wednesday, however, Kate Aurthur and Ramin Setoodeh of Variety reported on new details about Lauer’s case contained in Farrow’s upcoming book, Catch and Kill. The book is due to be released on October 15.
According to Variety, the book reveals that the woman who made the first complaint about Lauer is Nevils, who was assigned by NBC to work with former Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira on coverage of the 2014 Olympics. Nevils told Farrow that in Sochi, Lauer invited her to his hotel room on a night when they’d both been drinking. When she got there, she says he pushed her onto the bed, flipped her over, and asked if she liked anal sex, according to Farrow.
She said repeatedly that she didn’t want to have anal sex, Farrow writes, but Lauer penetrated her anyway. “She told me she stopped saying no, but wept silently into a pillow,” Farrow writes.
After the rape, Nevils told Farrow she had other sexual encounters with Lauer. She said she was afraid of the control he had over her career. “It was completely transactional,” she told Farrow. “It was not a relationship.”
In a letter sent to Variety on Wednesday, Lauer says that the encounter in 2014 was consensual, and the beginning of an extramarital affair. Nevils “is making outrageous and false accusations” and “stepping into the spotlight to cause as much damage as she can,” Lauer writes.
Lauer also disputes the account of the button in 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,” he said. “I have never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period.”
Meanwhile, he argues that not just Nevils, but also other women who came forward with allegations against him, were actually just trying to cover up their own infidelity. “They have avoided having to look a boyfriend, husband, or a child in the eye and say, ‘I cheated,’” he writes. “They have done enormous damage in the process. And I will no longer provide them the shelter of my silence.”
Lauer is not the first man to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct by calling women self-interested liars. Donald Trump did so during his presidential campaign in 2016, when multiple women came forward to say that he had touched or kissed them without their consent.
“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” Trump said at the time. His campaign also released a letter by a cousin of one of his accusers, Summer Zervos, claiming that she made her allegation as a way to get famous.
As Irin Carmon and Amelia Schonbek of New York Magazine make clear in their reporting on the aftermath of #MeToo allegations, people often face job loss and ostracism from friends and family after coming forward about sexual harassment or assault — a far cry from fame and fortune or any benefit to their reputations.
But the idea that women speak out about sexual misconduct for their own selfish ends continues. Lauer is the latest to espouse it, but he’s unlikely to be the last.