AceShowbiz - Matt Lauer has been accused of rape by former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils, with the alleged incident recounted by Ronan Farrow in his new book.
The TV newsman was dismissed as the co-anchor of breakfast news show "Today" by NBC chiefs in November 2017, after they received a "detailed" complaint of inappropriate behaviour from a colleague.
The anonymous colleague has now been identified as Nevils, and her allegations have been printed in Farrow's "Catch and Kill", in an excerpt provided to Variety.
According to Nevils, the rape occurred during the Sochi Olympics in 2014. While she was working with Meredith Vieria, the pair ran into Lauer at their hotel and had drinks with him at the bar. She claims Lauer jokingly took her press credential, and she went back to his hotel room to retrieve it. Later that evening, Nevils, who had had six shots of vodka, returned to the room after being invited back, having "no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience."
Once in the hotel room, Nevils alleges Lauer, who was wearing a T-shirt and boxer shorts, pushed her against the door and kissed her, before pushing her onto the bed, "flipping her over, (and) asking if she liked anal sex."
"She said that she declined several times," Farrow wrote, while Nevils added that, while she was in "the midst of telling him she wasn't interested again," he "just did it."
"Lauer, she said, didn't use lubricant. 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." Lauer then asked her if she liked it. She told him yes, and later claimed that "she bled for days," Farrow continued.
"It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent," Nevils told Farrow. "It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn't want to have anal sex."
Once back in New York, Nevils had several more sexual encounters with Lauer.
"Sources close to Lauer emphasised that she sometimes initiated contact," Farrow wrote. "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."
"This is what I blame myself most for," she told Farrow. "It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship."
Once her encounters with Lauer had come to an end, Nevils reported what had happened to "like a million people," with no response until after the allegations surrounding fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein prompted her former "Today" colleagues to ask her what exactly had happened with the anchor. Nevils then told Vieira what had happened, to which the "distraught" presenter urged her "to go to NBC Universal human resources with a lawyer."
While HR are said to have promised Nevils anonymity, her story quickly got out in the company, and prompted her to go on medical leave in 2018. While she maintains she didn't want any money, she was eventually paid "seven figures."
Following Nevils' initially anonymous sexual misconduct claims, Lauer released a statement apologising for some of his actions, but contested some of the allegations made against him.