Matt Lauer is being accused of rape in investigative reporter Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill,” a claim the former “Today” host denies.
In the book, which was obtained by Variety, Lauer is accused of raping NBC News employee Brooke Nevils during an incident at the Sochi Olympics in Russia in 2014.
Nevils eventually filed a complaint with NBC that led to Lauer’s firing. That complaint has previously been reported, but new details about the alleged rape are included in the Farrow book, which includes an interview with her, according to Variety.
In the book, Farrow writes that Nevils ended up going to Lauer’s hotel room twice. The first time she went to retrieve her press pass, which Lauer had taken as a joke. The second time she went at his invitation and, writes Farrow, had no reason to think Lauer would be anything but friendly.
She then told Farrow that once she was in the hotel room, Lauer pushed her against a door and kissed her and then pushed her on to the bed, “flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex,” Farrow writes.
Nevils said she had consumed six shots of vodka before going to Lauer’s room and that she was in no condition to give consent to a sexual encounter. She also explicitly declined anal sex several times to Lauer, according to Farrow’s book, but Lauer “just did it.”
Nevils tells Farrow in the book that the experience was physically painful and that while she stopped saying “no” she wept silently into a pillow.
“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils told Farrow, according to the book seen by Variety. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
When Nevils and Lauer were back in New York City, Nevils said she had more sexual encounters with Lauer. Sources close to Lauer said she initiated some of the contact.
“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.”
Nevils also told Farrow that she was terrified over the control that Lauer held over her career, the Variety report stated.
Once the sexual encounters ended, Nevils told Farrow that she told “like a million people” about her situation with Lauer, according to Variety.
“She told colleagues and superiors at NBC,” Farrow writes. She moved to NBC’s Peacock Productions to be a producer “and reported it to one of her new bosses there.”
“This was no secret,” Farrow writes.
After allegations were made about disgraced film executive Harvey Weinstein and more women came forward with stories about sexual assault and harassment, NBC colleagues asked Nevils about her relationship with Lauer.
She said she told former NBC News star Meredith Vieira about what had happened to her and that Vieira urged her to go to NBCUniversal human resources.
Lauer was later fired, but Nevils tells Farrow that NBC News President Noah Oppenheim and NBC News and MSNBC Chairman Andrew Lack “were emphasizing that the incident hadn’t been ‘criminal’ or an ‘assault.’”
In a lengthy statement to Variety, Lauer denies the new allegations, calling them “categorically false” and saying he and Nevils had an “extramarital affair” that he described as “mutual and consensual.”
“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 told the magazine.
“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,” he added.
He also accused Nevils of making “false accusations” after he ended the affair and to help sell a 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 in the statement 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.
Sources at NBC told Variety that they hadn’t read the book yet but planned to defend the company’s decisions against Farrow’s claims.
“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.
Updated at 10:33 a.m.