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Former Today host Matt Lauer denies Brooke Nevils rape accusation

Matt Lauer has fired back against a former NBC staffer who has now publicly accused him of rape, saying in a lengthy response Wednesday that she “seemed to know exactly what she wanted to do” and slamming her story as filled with contradictions.

In a new book by Ronan Farrow, Catch and Kill, Brooke Nevils accused the ousted Today show host of anally raping her in a Sochi hotel room in 2014 during the network’s Olympic coverage.

Nevils said she was in Sochi to work with Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira when the attack occurred, according to Variety, which obtained a copy of the book.

She allegedly ran into Lauer during a boozy night at their hotel bar and went back to his hotel room after he invited her. Once in the room, Lauer pushed her onto the bed and asked if she liked anal sex, according to the report.

“She said that she declined several times,” Farrow wrote in the book, according to the report.

Lauer then “just did it”, Farrow wrote.

Nevils told Farrow the pain was excruciating and she spent the entire ordeal crying into a pillow. “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” she told Farrow. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”

Despite the alleged rape, Nevils said she had more sexual encounters with Lauer when they returned to New York. “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship,” she told Farrow, according to the report.

Nevils reported her ordeal to NBC executives and Lauer eventually was fired over the alleged sex assault. She was put on medical leave in 2018 and eventually was paid more than $US1 million by the network.

“The network proposed a script she would have to read, suggesting that she had left to pursue other endeavours, that she was treated well, and that NBC News was a positive example of sexual harassment,” Farrow wrote in the book, according to Variety.

NBC did not immediately return a request for comment.

‘CATEGORICALLY FALSE’

Lauer has admitted that he had an extramarital affair with Nevils in 2014 when he was married but claims their relationship was entirely consensual.

“In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault,” Lauer wrote in an “open letter” sent through his lawyer Libby Locke. “It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense.”

He goes on to say in the nearly 1400-word piece that the alleged encounter in Sochi was “the first of many sexual encounters between us over the next several months”.

“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,” Lauer wrote.

“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 goes on to accuse Nevils of making “false accusations” against him because she was hurt by how abruptly their affair ended.

He also painted her as being driven by money and shopping a book deal within a year after filing her complaint with NBC human resources, despite saying she wanted to remain anonymous.

“Now she is making outrageous and false accusations to help sell a different book and stepping into the spotlight to cause as much damage as she can,” Lauer wrote. “But Brooke’s story is filled with contradictions. Which Brooke is to be believed?”

In the book, Nevils told Farrow that she was terrified over the control she believed Lauer had over her career at NBC — a claim the 61-year-old dad of three slapped down.

“At no time during our relationship did Brooke work for me, the Today show, or NBC News,” he said. “She worked for Meredith Vieira (who had not worked for the Today showin several years) in a completely different part of the network, and I had no role in reviewing Brooke’s work.”

He claimed to have people who can back him up.

“There are people who fully understand the actual dynamic that existed between Brooke and me,” he wrote. “They have reluctantly and quietly reached out in the past two years and shared what they know. They have accurately described Brooke and her role in this affair. I hope those people will understand that these allegations cross a serious line, and what they can share is a vital truth, even if it may seem unpopular.”

Lauer also addressed now-infamous claims that he had a desk button that allowed him to lock his office door.

“Despite numerous erroneous reports in the past, there was not a button in my office that could lock the door from the inside,” he said. “There was no such locking mechanism. It didn’t exist. NBC confirmed this fact publicly following my termination.”

The disgraced journalist — whose only public statement on the allegations against him came in April 2018 — said he’s speaking out this time around because “my silence has been a mistake”.

“Today, nearly two years after I was fired by NBC, old stories are being recycled, titillating details are being added, and a dangerous and defamatory new allegation is being made,” he said in the letter. “All are being spread as part of a promotional effort to sell a book. It’s outrageous. So, after not speaking out to protect my children, it is now with their full support I say ‘enough’.”

‘I BELIEVE HER’

Former Today showco-host Ann Curry said Wednesday that she believes Nevils.

“Brooke Nevils is a credible young woman of good character. She came to NBC News an eager and guileless 20-something brimming with talent,” Curry tweeted — the day after it surfaced for the first time publicly that Nevils was Lauer’s accuser.

“I believe she is telling the truth. And it breaks my heart,” Curry added.

The 61-year-old worked with Lauer as co-host of the hit NBC show for about a year starting in 2011. She continued to work for NBC News until she was ousted in 2015.

Nevils, now 35, worked her way up through the company, starting first as a page fetching coffee before eventually producing newscasts.

She lived on the Upper West Side while working at the Peacock Network, records show.

The Missouri native and 2007 Johns Hopkins University grad, who double-majored in political science and writing seminars, began as a page on the Today show— where she said she was once assigned such tasks as finding actor Robert De Niro’s lost wallet.

Nevils told her alma mater’s magazine in 2010 that the star was appearing on the show and that his manager came rushing over to her at one point, begging her to help him find his boss’s wallet, which had been left in the back of a cab.

The then-TV page said she made a slew of phone calls and finally tracked it down.

By 2009, Nevils was working as Vieira’s personal assistant. Lauer co-hosted the show at the time. She was working for Vieira during NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, when she says Lauer cornered her in his hotel room and raped her.

Nevils had previously reported the alleged 2014 attack to NBC higher-ups, who say they fired him the next day in 2017.

But she remained anonymous in the media — until going public with her name in Farrow’s book which surfaced this week.

Nevils eventually went to work for Brian Williams on the nightly news as a producer.

Her current job is unclear. She lives in Gurnee, Illinois, according to records.

Nevils did not immediately return a request for comment from The Post on Wednesday.

This article originally appeared on NY Post and was reproduced with permission


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