Editor’s Note: Some may find the details in this story graphic and disturbing.
NEW YORK – Brooke Nevils says Matt Lauer’s open letter addressing her allegations of rape against him is a “case study in victim blaming.”
The former NBC News employee says Matt Lauer raped her at a hotel while on assignment for the Sochi Olympics.
When the story broke in Variety, detailing an excerpt from Ronan Farrow’s book, “Catch and Kill,” Lauer’s lawyer issued a public response to her claim.
The letter said it was a promotional effort to sell a book, and that Nevils made the claim for “a monetary payment” and that she “was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner.”
Following the release of that letter, Nevils had more to say.
In a statement that aired on NBC Nightly News, Nevils said:
“There’s the Matt Lauer that millions of Americans watched on TV every morning for two decades, and there is the Matt Lauer who this morning attempted to bully a former colleague into silence. His open letter was a case study in victim blaming. I am not afraid of him now. Regardless of his threats, bullying, and the shaming and predatory tactics I knew he would (and now has) tried to use against me.”
Nevils thanked people who offered their support in a tweet.
“I want to thank the many survivors who shared their stories with me today and offered their support.”
I want to thank the many survivors who shared their stories with me today and offered their support. It takes courage, and I am truly grateful.
— Brooke Nevils (@BrookeNevils) October 9, 2019
One of those supporters is former Today Show anchor, Ann Curry, who co-anchored with Lauer for several years.
“Brooke Nevils is a credible young woman of good character. She came to NBC News an eager and guileless 20-something, brimming with talent. I believe she is telling the truth. And that breaks my heart,” she wrote on Twitter.
Brooke Nevils is a credible young woman of good character. She came to NBC News an eager and guileless 20-something, brimming with talent.
I believe she is telling the truth. And that breaks my heart. https://t.co/k4LT3MEh5Q
— Ann Curry (@AnnCurry) October 9, 2019
Farrow’s publisher, Little, Brown & Co., said the book has been fact-checked and incorporates the responses of individuals and institutions that were included. When it is published, “readers will understand the full context and impact of Farrow’s work, and the bravery of the sources who entrusted him with their stories.”
NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack sent a memo to his staff on Wednesday, saying that any suggestion that NBC knew of Lauer’s conduct prior to the night before he was fired for “inappropriate sexual conduct” was wrong. There were no claims or allegations of improper conduct by Lauer prior to that, he said, although settlements were reached with two women regarding Lauer after he was fired.
“Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time,” NBC News said in a statement Wednesday. “That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”
Farrow’s book recounts his investigation of Harvey Weinstein and the hurdles he faced at NBC News in his attempt to report on it, leading him to leave NBC and report for the New Yorker instead.