Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book, Catch and Kill, explains what went into his investigation into Harvey Weinstein, the firm of ex-Mossad agents Weinstein used to stop him, and the pushback he received from his then-employer, NBC News. It also reveals new details about the rape allegation that ended Matt Lauer’s career at NBC, according to Variety. In 2017, former NBC employee Brooke Nevils came forward with a complaint against Lauer, but the specifics of the allegation were kept private, until now.
In the book, through interviews with Farrow, Nevils claims that Lauer anally raped her in a hotel room while at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. She describes going out for drinks with another co-worker, running into Lauer, and going to his hotel room twice (first, to take back her press credential, which Lauer took as a joke and second on invitation from Lauer), and being “too drunk to consent.” Farrow writes that Nevils had “no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience.” Instead, according to Nevils’ account, Lauer began “flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex” and penetrating her anally despite Nevils repeatedly refusing. “Lauer, she said, didn’t use lubricant,” Farrow writes. “The encounter was excruciatingly painful. ‘It hurt so bad. I remember thinking, Is this normal?’ She told me she stopped saying no, but wept silently into a pillow.” When he asked, Nevils told Lauer she liked it. She says she bled “for days” afterward.
Back in New York, Nevils and Lauer began a sexual relationship that she described as “completely transactional.” When it ended, Nevils told “like a million people” about the relationship, including her bosses and co-workers at NBC. Nothing happened, Nevils says, until the Me Too movement set off bells for her colleagues. Even after Lauer was fired, tensions in the office and allegiances to the anchor made her life “torture.” Eventually, she was placed on medical leave and paid “seven figures” by the company, according to Farrow. The journalist also claims NBC News president Noah Oppenheim obstructed him from looking into Harvey Weinstein. The pushback led him to take his story to the New Yorker. NBC told Variety that it plans to defend any of the company’s decisions in Farrow’s book, after they read it. Catch and Kill comes out on October 15.
Update, 2:30 p.m.: NBC News condemns Matt Lauer’s actions in a statement: “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.”