Almost two years after NBC fired former “Today” show host Matt Lauer amid allegations of widespread sexual harassment, the disgraced former celebrity is fighting back.
Lauer has issued a public letter seeking to refute allegations from former co-worker Brooke Nevils that she was raped by Lauer while they were on assignment at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The allegation is contained in the book “Catch & Kill” authored by Ronan Farrow, according to CNN.
According to the book, after having a few drinks in a hotel bar, they went to Lauer’s room where Nevils alleged she was raped.
“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils said in the book. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
Afterward, she said, “it hurt so bad. I remember thinking, Is this normal?”
“Back in her room, she threw up. She took off her pants, passed out. When she woke up, blood was everywhere, soaked through her underwear, soaked through her sheets,” the book said.
“I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014. It began when she came to my hotel room very late one night in Sochi, Russia. We engaged in a variety of sexual acts. We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual,” Lauer said.
“The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this was an abusive encounter. 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 wrote.
The revelation sparked debate on Twitter.
Thanks for your bravery this morning @SavannahGuthrie and @hodakotb in reporting on your former colleague #MattLauer and the rape allegation while he was at @NBCNews – I know how tough that was. Thank you for supporting all women and believing them. #befierce #metoo #BelieveWomen
— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) October 9, 2019
Proof is required when making serious allegations. Just saying it doesn’t make it true.
— Dr Boyce Watkins (@drboycewatkins1) October 9, 2019
In the letter, Lauer said he now regrets not having responded to past allegations against him.
“Over the past two years people have asked why I have not spoken out to defend myself more vigorously against some of the false and salacious allegations leveled at me. It is a fair question and the answer is deeply personal.
“Despite my desire to set the record straight and confront the individuals making false allegations, I wanted nothing less than to create more headlines my kids would read and a new gathering of photographers at the end of our driveway.
“So I decided to just stay quiet and work on repairing my relationship with the people I love. It has been the most important full-time job I have ever had. But my silence has been a mistake,” he said, referencing the book and the accusations made by Nevils.
Lauer said that what Nevils characterized as rape was, in fact, the beginning of a months-long affair.
“At no time, during or after her multiple visits to my apartment, did she express in words or actions any discomfort with being there, or with our affair. She also went out of her way to see me several times in my dressing room at work, and on one of those occasions we had a sexual encounter. It showed terrible judgment on my part, but it was completely mutual and consensual,” Lauer wrote.
The book portrays Nevils as saying the incident was a watershed in her life.
“I just get so angry how this one thing derailed my life,” she said, according to CNN. The book also claims that the alleged incident impacted her professional career because of Lauer’s influence. Lauer denies that.
“Brooke now says that she was terrified about the control I had over her career and felt pressure to agree to our encounters after Sochi. But at no time during our relationship did Brooke work for me, the Today Show, or NBC News,” Lauer wrote.
Lauer, in his letter, paints Nevils as wanting to continue the affair long after he wanted to end it.
“I admit, I ended the affair poorly. I simply stopped communicating with her. Brooke continued to reach out. She admitted to NBC at the time she filed her complaint that she called me late at night while I was home with my family in an effort to rekindle the affair. But I attempted to go back to my life and pretend as if nothing had happened. I understand how that must have made her feel.
“However, being upset or having second thoughts does not give anyone the right to make false accusations years later about an affair in which they fully and willingly participated,” he wrote.
“Brooke’s story is filled with contradictions. Which Brooke is to be believed?” he later wrote.
Lauer said his family has suffered enough for what he did do without family members suffering for things he did not do.
“Because of my infidelity, I have brought more pain and embarrassment to my family than most people can ever begin to understand. They’ve been through hell. I have asked for their forgiveness, taken responsibility for what I did do wrong, and accepted the consequences. But by not speaking out I also emboldened those who continue to do me harm with false stories,” he said.
Lauer said the women with whom he had affairs “have abandoned shared responsibility, and instead, shielded themselves from blame behind false allegations. They have avoided having to look a boyfriend, husband, or a child in the eye and say, ‘I cheated.’ They have done enormous damage in the process. And I will no longer provide them the shelter of my silence.”
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