Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill” is supposed to drop in 6 days, but details of the book are leaking out and they are explosive.
While the book goes into a lot of detail about the Harvey Weinstein case, the biggest scoop is about a woman that worked former NBC and claims that Matt Lauer raped her.
Brooke Nevils, the former NBC News employee whose complaint about Matt Lauer led to his firing from the “Today” show in 2017 and whose identity had been kept anonymous from press reports at her request, is now telling the details.
Nevils alleges that at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room.
While at the Olympics in Sochi, Nevils was working with Lauer and his co-anchor Meredith Vieira.
In her account, one night over drinks with Vieira at the hotel bar where the NBC News team was staying, they ran into Lauer, who joined them. At the end of the night, Nevils, who’d had six shots of vodka, ended up going to Lauer’s hotel room twice — once to retrieve her press credential, which Lauer had taken as a joke, and the second time because he invited her back. Nevils, Farrow writes, “had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience.”
Once she was in his hotel room, Nevils alleges, Lauer — who was wearing a T-shirt and boxers — pushed her against the door and kissed her. He then pushed her onto the bed, “flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex,” Farrow writes. “She said that she declined several times.”
According to Nevils, she “was in the midst of telling him she wasn’t interested again when he “just did it,” Farrow writes. “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 tells him yes. She claims that “she bled for days,” Farrow writes.
Nevils tells Farrow: “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” she says. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
Back in New York City, Nevils had more sexual encounters with Lauer. “Sources close to Lauer emphasized that she sometimes initiated contact,” Farrow writes. “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 says to Farrow. “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”
She was terrified about the control Lauer had over her career. After her encounters with Lauer ended, Nevils said she told “like a million people” about her situation with Lauer.
“She told colleagues and superiors at NBC,” Farrow writes. She moved to NBC’s Peacock Productions to be a producer, “and reported it to one of her new bosses there.”
Nothing happened until fall 2017, when the post-Harvey Weinstein reckoning led former “Today” colleagues to ask her about Lauer. Nevils told Farrow she then went to Vieira and told her what had happened. A distraught Vieira, according to the book, urged Nevils to go to NBC Universal human resources with a lawyer, which she did. After Lauer’s firing, she learned that Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News, and Andrew Lack, the chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, “were emphasizing that the incident hadn’t been ‘criminal’ or an ‘assault’” — which she claims caused her to throw up, Farrow writes.
“Nevils’s work-life became torture,” according to Farrow. “She was made to sit in the same meetings as everyone else, discussing the news, and in all of them colleagues loyal to Lauer cast doubt on the claims, and judgment on her.”
And though Nevils had been promised anonymity by human resources, Lack saying internally that the encounter had happened at Sochi limited the possibilities of complainants — and soon, everyone knew it was Nevils. Though Nevils had not wanted money, she went on medical leave in 2018, and was eventually paid, Farrow writes, “seven figures.”
A representative for Lauer did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment. NBC News declined to comment.
Farrow’s book “Catch and Kill” hits shelves Oct. 15th.