Matt Lauer calls rape allegation false, says it was consensual affair in letter to Variety
Former NBC News host fires back against former coworker's rape claim
Matt Lauer is speaking out and calling a rape allegation by a former coworker at NBC News "categorically false."
According to reports, in Ronan Farrow's soon-to-be-released "Catch and Kill" book, former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils accuses Lauer of raping her in a hotel room in 2014 when the TV crew was in Sochi for the Olympic games. Nevils ultimately told the network about the affair and alleged rape, leading to Lauer's firing in 2017.
Variety got a copy of the book and was first to report the detailed rape claim against Lauer on Wednesday. Lauer has followed up with a letter to Variety that explains his side of the story:
"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 ... Each act was mutual and completely consensual," reads part of the letter to Variety.
Both Nevils and Lauer have said the sexual relationship carried on once they returned to New York. Lauer calls it an affair that he regrets. However, Nevils explained in the book that at no time was it consensual for her.
Lauer denies this claim, calling this "part of a promotional effort to sell a book" in his letter published by Variety.
"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," Lauer wrote.
NBC News and the TODAY Show spent time Wednesday morning addressing Nevils' accusations in Farrow's book.
"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," reads a statement by NBC News.
TODAY Show hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb offered their comments during the show Wednesday morning.
"These are not allegations of an affair, these are allegations of a crime," said Kotb. "And I think that's shocking to all of us here who have sat with Matt for many, many years. I think we're going to sort of continue to process this part of this horrific story, and ... our thoughts are with Brooke. It's not easy what she did, to come forward, it's not easy at all."
Guthrie said they are disturbed "to our core."
"We have a commitment to keep you informed, and we will continue to do that," said Guthrie.