The former NBC employee who says she was raped by fired “Today” co-anchor Matt Lauer had harsh words for his strongly worded denial of her accusation.
Brooke Nevils, who told investigative journalist Ronan Farrow that Lauer raped her in 2014, said the fallen TV star’s open letter that disputed her allegation was an attempt to bully and shame her.
“There’s a Matt Lauer that millions of Americans watched on TV every morning for two decades. And there is the Matt Lauer who this morning attempted to bully a former colleague into silence,” she said in a statement to NBC News, issued late Wednesday. “His open letter was a case study in victim-blaming. I am not afraid of him now regardless of his threats, bullying, and the shaming and predatory tactics I knew he would and now has tried to use against me.”
Nevils alleged that Lauer forced her to have anal sex without her consent in a hotel room in Sochi, Russia, while the “Today” team was covering the 2014 Winter Olympics, according to Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill.”
Nevils told Farrow she was drinking heavily the night of the incident. She said she had gone to Lauer’s room twice — once to retrieve an Olympics press credential that he had taken as a joke and a second time at his invitation.
Nevils alleged that once she was in Lauer’s hotel room, he pushed her against a door and kissed her before pushing her onto the bed and asking her if she liked anal sex. She declined several times, but he “just did it,” according to the book. She said she wept into a pillow during the incident.
“It was non-consensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils said in the book. “It was non-consensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
Lauer responded with a vivid description of the incident, which he insisted was consensual. He also said he continued an extramarital affair with Nevil for several months after the two returned from Sochi to New York.
“The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this was an abusive encounter,” Lauer said in his open letter, which was his first detailed statement since NBC fired him almost two years ago for inappropriate sexual behavior. “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. The only concern she expressed was that someone might see her leaving my room. She embraced me at the door as she left.”
Lauer, the popular co-anchor of “Today” for more than 20 years, was fired by NBC after Nevils went to human resources with a complaint against him in November 2017. Nevils eventually left the network with a seven-figure settlement.