Matt Lauer fired back against the former NBC staffer who has now publicly accused him of rape, saying in lengthy response Wednesday that she “seemed to know exactly what she wanted to do” and slamming her story as filled with contradictions.
The ousted “Today” show host admitted that he had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014 when he was married but claims their relationship was entirely consensual.
In a new book by Ronan Farrow, Nevils accused Lauer of anally raping her in a Sochi hotel room in 2014 during the network’s Olympic coverage.
“In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault,” Lauer wrote in an “open letter” sent through his lawyer Libby Locke. “It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense.”
He goes on to say in the nearly 1,400-word piece that the alleged encounter in Sochi was “the first of many sexual encounters between us over the next several months.”
“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,” Lauer wrote. “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 goes on to accuse Nevils of making “false accusations” against him because she was hurt by how abruptly their affair ended.
He also painted her as being driven by money and shopping a book deal within a year after filing her complaint with NBC human resources, despite saying she wanted to remain anonymous.
“Now 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,” Lauer wrote. “But Brooke’s story is filled with contradictions. Which Brooke is to be believed?”
In the book, Nevils told Farrow that she was terrified over the control she believed Lauer had over her career at NBC — a claim the 61-year-old dad of three slapped down.
“At no time during our relationship did Brooke work for me, the Today Show, or NBC News,” he said. “She worked for Meredith Vieira (who had not worked for the Today Show in several years) in a completely different part of the network, and I had no role in reviewing Brooke’s work.”
He claimed to have people who can back him up.
“There are people who fully understand the actual dynamic that existed between Brooke and me,” he wrote. “They have reluctantly and quietly reached out in the past two years and shared what they know. They have accurately described Brooke and her role in this affair. I hope those people will understand that these allegations cross a serious line, and what they can share is a vital truth, even if it may seem unpopular.”
Lauer also addressed now-infamous claims that he had a desk button that allowed him to lock his office door.
“Despite numerous erroneous reports in the past, there was not a button in my office that could lock the door from the inside,” he said. “There was no such locking mechanism. It didn’t exist. NBC confirmed this fact publicly following my termination.”
The disgraced journalist — whose only public statement on the allegations against him came in April 2018 — said he’s speaking out this time around because “my silence has been a mistake.”
“Today, nearly two years after I was fired by NBC, old stories are being recycled, titillating details are being added, and a dangerous and defamatory new allegation is being made,” he said in the letter. “All are being spread as part of a promotional effort to sell a book. It’s outrageous. So, after not speaking out to protect my children, it is now with their full support I say ‘enough.’”
Read the full statement below: