Almost two years after Matt Lauer was fired from Today in response to sexual assault accusations from an unnamed NBC employee, new allegations have surfaced. In an interview published in Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book Catch and Kill, which was obtained by and reported on at Variety, the NBC employee Brooke Nevils provided her name and additional details on her alleged abuse, claiming that Lauer raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
His former co-workers Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb reported the latest development from their desk at Today, and it was an emotional and difficult experience for them both.
“I feel like we owe it to our viewers to pause for a moment,” Guthrie said. “This is shocking and appalling. I honestly don’t even know what to say about it. I want to say I know it wasn’t easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then, it’s not easy now and we support her and any women who have come forward with claims. And it’s just very painful for all of us at NBC and who we are at the Today show. It’s very, very, very difficult.” She added that she and everyone at the network are “disturbed to our core.”
Hoda responded in agreement. “I’m looking at you and having a weird moment. We were sitting here just like this two years ago,” she said. “Truth be told, Savannah and I did a little prayer upstairs before just to sort of sort out what we were going to do. I think you feel like you’ve known someone for 12 years. I don’t know if you guys have ever felt like that. You know someone, you feel like you know them inside and out, and then all of a sudden a door opens up and it’s a part of them you didn’t know.”
Kotb stressed that these new allegations are of criminal height. “We don’t know all the facts on all of this, but there are not allegations of an affair, there are allegations of a crime,” she said. “I think that’s shocking to all of us here who have sat with Matt for many, many years. So I think we’re going to just sort of continue to process this part of this horrific story and as you said, our thoughts are with Brooke. It’s not easy what she did, to come forward. It’s not easy at all.”
In their report, Variety gave Lauer the opportunity to respond, which he did via an open letter provided by his lawyer. He said the new allegation is “categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense,” and that Nevils’ public statements are simply a “promotional effort to sell a book.”
NBC News chairman Andy Lack also responded to the news. “Our highest priority is to ensure we have a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected,” he said. “We are absolutely committed to making this a reality — there can be no exception.”
If you or someone you know needs help or has been affected by sexual assault, call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. You can also visit online.rainn.org to receive support via confidential online chat.
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