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Matt Lauer's former NBC colleague accuses him of rape in new Ronan Farrow book

Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

The NBC News employee whose sexual harassment complaint led to the firing of Matt Lauer in November 2017 says she was raped by the former anchor, according to a new book by investigative journalist Ronan Farrow.

According to a report in Variety, which obtained a copy of the book, "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators," Lauer allegedly forced the woman, Brooke Nevils, to have anal sex in a hotel room in Sochi, Russia, while the "Today" team was covering the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Nevils, who was interviewed by Farrow and agreed to reveal her identity, worked as an assistant to Meredith Vieira, Lauer's co-anchor at the time.

Nevils told Farrow she was drinking heavily the night of the incident. She had gone to Lauer's room twice -- once to retrieve an Olympics press credential that he had taken as a joke and a second time at his invitation.

Farrow wrote that "she had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience."

Nevils alleges that once she was in Lauer's hotel room he pushed her against a door and kissed her before pushing her on the bed and asking her if she liked anal sex. She declined several times, but he "just did it," according to the book. She said she wept into a pillow during the incident.

 

"It was non-consensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent," Nevils said in the book. "It was non-consensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn't want to have anal sex."

Nevils told Farrow she had more sexual encounters with Lauer after the incident. She said she was fearful that he had control over her career. Farrow wrote that sources close to Lauer said Nevils sometimes initiated their meetings.

Nevils told Vieira about the Sochi incident in 2017. Vieira told her to report it to NBC's human resources department with a lawyer. Lauer was terminated the day after Nevils and her attorney met with NBC.

In a report Wednesday on "Today," the network said in a statement: "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 for our colleague."

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