Matt Lauer pushed back at his latest accuser Wednesday in an “open letter” after another bombshell tidbit from Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill, was revealed.
In the letter, Lauer specifically addresses an interview with Brooke Nevils, a former NBC employee whose complaint about Lauer’s behavior led to his firing in 2017. According to Variety, Nevils told Farrow that Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room while they were on assignment covering the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Nevils told Farrow that Lauer pushed her onto the bed and asked if she liked anal sex. She told him no, but then Nevils says he “just did it.”
“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils is reported to have told Farrow. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
In his response to the accusations, Lauer vigorously denied that the relationship with Nevils was without her explicit consent.
“Despite my desire to set the record straight and confront the individuals making false allegations, I wanted nothing less than to create more headlines my kids would read and a new gathering of photographers at the end of our driveway,” he wrote. “But my silence has been a mistake. Today, nearly two years after I was fired by NBC, old stories are being recycled, titillating details are being added, and a dangerous and defamatory new allegation is being made.”
Lauer then goes on to call the new allegation about raping Nevils “outrageous” and writes that it is “being spread as part of a promotional effort to sell a book.”
He says he asked his family for support to address the matter publicly, which he was granted.
“In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault,” the former Today host writes. “It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense.”
Lauer then explains how his alleged extramarital affair with Nevils began when she came to his hotel room “very late one night” in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. He says the two “engaged in a variety of sexual acts.”
To explain further, he gives the following details: “We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex.”
He says, “Each act was mutual and completely consensual.”
The next lines of the letter directly accuse the woman who went on to file a complaint to NBC News about his alleged sexual abuse of being a liar, saying the story Nevils tells “is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this was an abusive encounter.”
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he writes. “There was absolutely nothing aggressive about that encounter. Brooke did not do or say anything to object. She certainly did not cry.”
He goes on to call her a “fully enthusiastic and willing partner” and that she never showed that she was not capable of giving her full consent.
“She seemed to know exactly what she wanted to do,” Lauer insists. “The only concern she expressed was that someone might see her leaving my room. She embraced me at the door as she left. This encounter, which she now falsely claims was an assault, was the beginning of our affair.”
Lauer then outlines the timeline of their continuing affair, which he says lasted for the next several months, outlining one alleged sexual encounter in his dressing room at NBC’s studios.
“It showed terrible judgment on my part, but it was completely mutual and consensual,” Lauer writes. He says Nevils’ fears over control of her career were unfounded because she did not work for him or the Today show or for 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.”
Continuing to blame his accuser, he makes one admission. “I admit, I ended the affair poorly. I simply stopped communicating with her,” he writes. “Brooke continued to reach out.”
Lauer goes on to say that she had tried several times to rekindle the affair, even calling him late at night when he was with his family.
“But I attempted to go back to my life and pretend as if nothing had happened. I understand how that must have made her feel,” he writes, before again accusing her of making false accusations behind his back despite being friendly to him on many occasions to his face.
He says it was not until he was called in to speak to an NBC attorney in November 2017 that he says he first learned of Nevils’ complaint. He says she then asked NBC for money and that she was trying to sell a book and that he could not defend himself at the time because she insisted on remaining anonymous.
“But Brooke’s story is filled with contradictions,” he says. “Which Brooke is to be believed?”
Lauer then goes on to explain how he has “brought more pain and embarrassment to my family than most people can ever begin to understand,” which he says he has worked to fix. He also calls on friends and colleagues who knew of the affair to come forward. “I hope those people will understand that these allegations cross a serious line, and what they can share is a vital truth even if it may seem unpopular.”
He says that by not speaking out he “emboldened those who continue to do me harm with false stories.” He also seeks to clarify stories that he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock the door without getting up. “Despite numerous erroneous reports in the past, there was not a button in my office that could lock the door from the inside,” he writes. “There was no such locking mechanism. It didn’t exist.”
He ends the lengthy letter with a final swing.
“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. “They have avoided having to look a boyfriend, husband, or a child in the eye and say, ‘I cheated.”
Then, in what appears to be a not-so-veiled threat, he implies he will out them all. “They have done enormous damage in the process,” he says. “And I will no longer provide them the shelter of my silence.”