- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Former “Today” show host Matt Lauer is accused of raping a former colleague in 2014 while covering the Winter Olympics, according to excerpts released Wednesday from Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill.”

Former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils came forward with her story to Mr. Farrow for his book, which hits shelves Tuesday nearly two years after Mr. Lauer was fired from NBC’s morning show in 2017.

Ms. Nevils said Mr. Lauer invited her up to his hotel room in Sochi, Russia, after they shared a night of drinks, with Mr. Farrow saying she “had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience.”

But in his hotel room, Ms. Nevils said Mr. Lauer began to make advances, pushing her on the bed, “flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex.” Mr. Farrow wrote that Ms. Nevils “said that she declined several times,” but Mr. Lauer forced her to have anal sex anyway.

Mr. 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.” Lauer then asked her if she liked it. She tells him yes. She claims that ‘she bled for days.’”

Ms. Nevils told Mr. Farrow: “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent. It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”

Ms. Nevils said after the night in Sochi, she continued a sexual relationship with Mr. Lauer but that it was “completely transactional” and she was terrified of Mr. Lauer having control of her career, Mr. Farrow wrote.

Variety reported Mr. Lauer confirmed the sexual relationship in a letter but said the actions between him and Ms. Nevils were “mutual and completely consensual” and the allegations were “categorically false.”

Mr. Lauer was fired in 2017 amid the burgeoning #MeToo movement after similar allegations of misconduct surfaced. Ms. Nevils, who was then unnamed, reported him for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”

NBC News condemned its former employee’s actions.

“Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time,” the network said in a statement. “That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”

Current “Today” show co-host Savannah Guthrie reacted Wednesday to the developments, calling them “shocking and appalling.”

“I honestly don’t even know what to say about it,” she said. “We support her and any women who come forward with claims.”

Co-host Hoda Kotb added, “These are not allegations of an affair, there are allegations of a crime, and I think that’s shocking to all of us here who have sat with Matt for many many years.”

Jessica Chasmar contributed to this story.

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