Savannah Guthrie said Wednesday that she, Hoda Kotb, and everyone on NBC’s Today show were “disturbed to our core” over the fresh allegations of rape against former show anchor Matt Lauer.
Anchors Guthrie and Kotb addressed viewers directly after a report on allegations published in Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill. According to excerpts of the book obtained by Variety, the ex-NBC staffer Brooke Nevils claimed Lauer had raped her in a Sochi hotel room during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“I feel like we owe it to our viewers to pause for a moment,” said Guthrie. “This is shocking and appalling, and I honestly don’t even know what to say about it. I want to say that I know it wasn’t easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then. It’s not easy now. And we support her and any women who come forward with claims. It’s just very painful for all of us at NBC and at the Today show, and it’s very, very difficult.”
Kotb said she was having a flashback to two years ago when the women sat together on air to tell viewers about Lauer’s firing.
The women had prayed upstairs before today’s show, Kotb said. “It’s like you feel like you’ve known someone for 12 years... and all of a sudden a door opens up and it’s a part of them you didn’t know.”
The allegations were not of an affair, emphasized Kotb, but “of a crime. That’s shocking to all of us who have sat with Matt for many, many years.”
Kotb said that they would “continue to process this part of this horrific story... Our thoughts are with Brooke. It’s not easy, what she did, to come forward, it’s not easy at all.”
“I think I speak for all of us: We are disturbed to our core,” added Guthrie.
Guthrie ended the segment by saying that they would “continue to keep viewers informed” as the story developed.
In a statement, NBC News said: “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.”
In a somber opening to the Today show’s third hour, both Al Roker and Craig Melvin also reacted to the news.
“It's a really sad, sad day,” Roker told viewers about what he called “horrific allegations” against Lauer. “We feel really badly for Brooke Nevils. Our heart goes out to her.”
Melvin, meanwhile, praised, Nevils for the “courage it takes to come forward, knowing that this is the kind of accusation that stays with you for years to come—that’s a special kind of bravery."
Dylan Dreyer lamented that Nevils and her colleagues at NBC “have to re-live this all again.”
Later in the morning, Lauer responded to the fresh allegations with a stunning letter in which he said his involvement with Nevils was with her explicit consent during what he said was a mutual encounter in Sochi.
He accused Nevils of being a liar, and saying the story she 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.”