Matt Lauer Sexual Assault Allegations: Everything You Need To Know

Earlier in October, prominent news journalist Ronan Farrow’s forthcoming book Catch and Kill uncovered a serious controversy involving former NBC News correspondent and Today show host, Matt Lauer. Although vehemently denied by Lauer, Farrow’s accusations are supported in the book by Brooke Nevils – the victim of Lauer’s 2014 assault. In her account of the incident, Nevils tells it all – including a supposed affair that she had had with Lauer, its transactional nature, and the final, subsequent act that cost Lauer his career. Nevils isn’t the only woman who has come forth with accounts of dealing with sexual misconduct from Lauer, but she is one of the only women who has decided to shed her anonymity in the midst of the scandal. With new details on the story developing in real-time, it may be a bit confusing to keep up with who’s who and what’s what, so here are few fast facts that you should know.

1. The story broke out in relation to journalist and advocate Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators

Farrow, also a prominent figure in the MeToo Movement, details in his new book a larger scandal at NBC News, including a long history of sexual misconduct in the workplace which the news organization denies. Farrow, however, alleges that the Lauer incident stands as only one link in a larger chain of “paper trails, non-disclosure agreements, and multiple secret settlements”. This isn’t the first case in which Farrow has worked to expose exploitive networks of predators and perpetrators in large companies like NBC. The company has also denied allegations of suppressing Farrow’s work on the Weinstein scandal, wherein the journalist contends that his evidence was repeatedly rejected and his work unsupported by the network in an attempt to keep the sexual charges leveraged against Weinstein from coming out.

Courtesy: Page Six

2. The incident in question involving Brooke Nevils occurred in 2014. Despite Nevils seeking help to the best of her ability, she was still pressured into anonymity by both Lauer and NBC.

Brooke Nevils, a television producer and former NBC news employee, began her career as a page at NBC. The Lauer incident happened in 2014 when Nevils was assigned to work with former Today co-anchor, Meredith Viera at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. One night while out drinking, the two women encountered Lauer, who also joined them. Nevils detailed that after having had six shots of vodka and she was coerced to return to Lauer’s hotel room twice – once for a pass credential of hers that Lauer had taken as a joke, and the second time as Lauer’s request. It was there that Nevils recounts how Lauer had made several, forceful advances on her sexually. She states that she declined his advances several times but that Lauer pushed her down and proceeded to assault her anyways, by raping her anally. She reports in Farrow’s book that she bled for days afterward and needed serious medical attention. Colleagues at the news company urged Nevils to report the instance, and when she did take her story to NBC Universal, Lauer was subsequently fired. Her anonymity was guaranteed by NBC Universal, but the company released internal details on where the incident had occurred and thus, left a way for supporters of Lauer to deduct that she was the alleged victim.

3. Nevils was paid a seven-figure settlement by NBC and continued to see Lauer after the incident occurred.

Although she denies seeking any cash settlements from the company, Nevils ended her career with NBC in 2018, with her departure being listed as “medical leave”. She also states that at the time she was paid a seven-figure settlement check. Nevils also details, in both letter and in Farrow’s book, how she continued to see Lauer after the incident. Nevils claims that it wasn’t a relationship and strictly transactional. In a letter which she has written in response to Lauer’s own vehement letter of denial, Nevils calls the engagement “shameful” and opens up about she blamed herself for the rape.

4. Lauer has a long history of sexual misconduct at NBC that pre-dates his engagement with Nevils, despite his denial of any and all allegations in a lengthy and public letter. 

In a letter addressed to Variety, Lauer denies the charges and states that his relationship with Lauer was “extramarital, but consensual.” But as reported in PEOPLE, former colleagues of Lauer have come forth with more details about Lauer’s supposed work-behavior and his consistent pursual of inappropriate relationships with junior staffers at NBC. In the article, Lauer’s behavior is described as predatory. Rejecting his advances was dangerous because he would damage his victim’s reputation at work in a menacing way or would impede workplace growth. He also made it difficult to support the women who he continually harassed: speaking out against or aiding in rejecting his advances placed meant placing a “target on one’s back.” Despite denying this behavior, NBC has recently published an article as well, claiming that Lauer has learned nothing from the incident and is similar to Weinstein in his refusal to acknowledge how the abuse of his position and his power has greatly, and negatively, impacted those who have suffered at his hands. Lauer was fired from NBC in 2017.

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