Matt Lauer accused of rape by NBC News colleague, book claims

Two years after Matt Lauer’s fall from grace, a new report sheds light on more explosive details from sexual assault allegations against the former NBC News anchor and a cover-up accusation, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan. Variety magazine reveals that in an interview with journalist Ronan Farrow for his new book, “Catch and Kill,” former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils says Lauer raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Farrow writes Lauer invited Nevils to his hotel room after a night of drinks. Once in the room, Nevils alleges Lauer pushed her against the door and kissed her. He then pushed her onto the bed, flipped her over and asked her if she “liked anal sex.” Nevils said she declined several times. But she “was in the midst of telling him she wasn’t interested again when he ‘just did it.'” Nevils recalls the encounter was excruciatingly painful.

Nevils says there were more sexual encounters with Lauer when he returned to New York, telling Farrow, “This is what I blame myself most for. It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.” Farrow says Nevils told colleagues and superiors at NBC about the encounters.

In 2017, when the Me Too movement gained momentum with the downfall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Farrow says Nevils confided in former “Today” show co-anchor Meredith Vieira about the alleged assault. Vieira urged Nevils to “file a formal complaint report with NBC’s office of human resources,” which Farrow says she did.

According to Nevils, after Lauer was fired, she learned NBC News president Noah Oppenheim and chairman Andrew Lack were “emphasizing that the incident had not been ‘criminal’ or an ‘assault.'”

Variety’s Elizabeth Wagmeister and Ramin Setoodeh originally broke the story on the wave of sexual assault allegations against Lauer in 2017. At the time, they say NBC News executives knew about Lauer’s alleged predatory behavior.

“He really used his power in these situations,” Wagmeister said.

“It wasn’t just low-level employees that had knowledge of Matt Lauer’s inappropriate conduct with women. There were also higher-level employees that were aware and openly speaking about Matt Lauer’s conduct with other women at the ‘Today’ show,” Setoodeh said.

According to Variety, Farrow writes Nevils left NBC in 2018. The network suggested she tell people she left to pursue other endeavors.

After a five-month internal investigation, NBC Universal reported in May 2018 that no one in leadership or authority positions at NBC News “received any complaints about Lauer’s workplace behavior prior to November 27, 2017.”

CBS News reached out overnight to representatives for Lauer, Oppenheim, Lack, and NBC News and have not heard back. Sources at NBC News told Variety they haven’t read the book yet, but they plan to defend the company’s decisions against any of Farrow’s claims.

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