Former “Today” show host Matt Lauer denied a rape allegation in a letter published Wednesday morning.
“In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault. It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense,” Lauer wrote in the letter published by Variety.
Former NBC employee Brooke Nevils accused Lauer of anally raping her at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to an excerpt from journalist Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book “Catch and Kill” that Variety published Wednesday. Nevils’ complaint led to Lauer being fired in 2017 amid the Me Too movement. Nevils’ identity was not publicly known then, and it was only reported at the time that Lauer had been accused of assaulting a network staffer at the 2014 Olympics.
Lauer wrote that the alleged extramarital affair included a “variety of sex acts” including vaginal and anal sex, which were each “mutual and completely consensual.” He added that the encounter at the Olympics was the beginning of the alleged affair.
“The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this was an abusive encounter,” he wrote. “Nothing could be further from the truth. 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 goes on to question Nevils’ story further, pointing out that the two continued their affair after the alleged rape.
It’s not uncommon for survivors of sexual assault to continue consensual sexual relationships with their abuser. Often, this behavior is due to a power imbalance between the victim and perpetrator.
Nevils told Farrow that she did have subsequent consensual sexual interactions after the alleged rape.
“This is what I blame myself most for,” she told Farrow. “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”
The former “Today” show host added that Nevils’ story is “filled with contradictions,” later pointing out that she is seeking monetary payment from NBC and is trying to write a book.
NBC News responded to Nevils’ accusation in a Wednesday morning statement.
“Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time,” the statement reads. “That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”
Lauer also denied the infamous story that he had a button underneath his desk that locked employees into his office so that he could sexually harass them.
“One such story I should have confronted a long time ago is an example of why I believe my silence was a mistake,” he wrote. “Despite numerous erroneous reports in the past, there was not a button in my office that could lock the door from the inside. There was no such locking mechanism. It didn’t exist.”
Head over to Variety to read Lauer’s full letter.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.