NEW YORK - Former "Today" show host Matt Lauer has denied new reports that he raped one of his co-workers at NBC News in 2014, writing in a statement Wednesday that the claim is "categorically false, ignores the facts and defies common sense."
The allegation against Lauer, who was ousted from "Today" in 2017 amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior, was revealed as part of journalist Ronan Farrow's upcoming book "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators," according to Variety.
Update 10:35 a.m. EDT Oct. 9: Lauer claimed in an open letter published Wednesday that he had a consensual, extramarital affair with former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils amid reports the disgraced journalist had been accused of raping her.
"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," Lauer said in the letter, according to The New York Post. "Each act was mutual and completely consensual."
Nevils told Farrow that she was drunk when Lauer invited her to his hotel room one night during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to Variety. She said he pushed her onto the hotel bed and raped her, the magazine reported, citing Farrow's book.
Original report: A new book by journalist Ronan Farrow alleges that former "Today" show host Matt Lauer raped a co-worker in 2014, Variety reported early Wednesday.
BREAKING: Ronan Farrow Book Alleges Matt Lauer Raped NBC News Colleague https://t.co/9975bwXP3m— Variety (@Variety) October 9, 2019
According to the entertainment magazine, Farrow's book, "Catch and Kill," says the sexual assault occurred during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Then-NBC News employee Brooke Nevils told Farrow that she was drunk when Lauer invited her to his hotel room one night, Variety reported. She claimed that he then pushed her down on the hotel bed and anally raped her, the magazine reported, citing Farrow's book.
"It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent," Nevils told Farrow, according to Variety. "It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex."
Although the Cox Media Group National Content Desk typically does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault, Nevils chose to come forward publicly in Farrow's book, Variety reported.
On Wednesday morning, NBC issued a statement about the new allegation against Lauer, who was fired in 2017 amid sexual misconduct allegations.
"Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time," the statement read, according to CNN's Brian Stelter. "That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague."
New statement from NBC: "Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time. That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague."— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 9, 2019
Meanwhile, "Today" show co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb responded to the allegations during Wednesday's broadcast.
"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've come forward with claims," Guthrie said. "And it's just very painful for all of us at NBC and who are at the 'Today' show. ... It's very, very, very difficult."
"There are not allegations of an affair; they're allegations of a crime," Kotb said. "And I think that's shocking to all of us here who've sat with Matt for many, many years. So I think we're going to ... 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."
A visibly emotional Guthrie added: "I think I speak for all of us: We're disturbed to our core."
TODAYshow) October 9, 2019