Matt Lauer on Tuesday slammed his rape accuser Brooke Nevils for ‘false’ claims while labeling Ronan Farrow, the journalist who covered her story, as ‘manipulative’.
In an op-ed for Mediaite the former Today host questioned Farrow’s reporting abilities, calling his work ‘shoddy journalism’, after the Pulitzer Prize winner spoke with Nevils about her allegations.
Lauer was abruptly fired by NBC News for sexual misconduct in 2017 after his former colleague Nevils accused him of rape in a Sochi hotel room during the Olympics in 2014.
He said Tuesday: ‘From start to finish Ronan is acting as Brooke’s advocate, not as a journalist investigating her claims.’
Lauer says Farrow broke ‘the cardinal rule of journalism’ by ‘coming to a self-serving conclusion first, and then he sees everything through the prism of that assumption’.
The piece came following a New York Times article which asked: ‘Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True?’ Reporter Ben Smith looked into Farrow’s reporting techniques during his investigations into Harvey Weinstein.
Fuelled by that, Lauer wrote: ‘I believe Ronan knew his work on Catch and Kill would receive little in the way of scrutiny, from the very beginning.
‘It’s the only way to explain why he was so willing to abandon common sense and true fact checking in favor of salacious, and deeply flawed, material.
‘I also believe that some of Ronan’s sources felt they could make outrageous claims to him, knowing he (and thus their stories) would not be doubted.’
Following the publication of the op-ed Farrow tweeted: ‘All I’ll say on this is that Matt Lauer is just wrong. Catch and Kill was thoroughly reported and fact-checked, including with Matt Lauer himself.’
Nevils tweeted: ‘DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.’
The former Today host, pictured, questioned Farrow’s reporting in an op-ed for Mediaite
He called the Pulitzer Prize winner’s work ‘shoddy journalism’. Farrow is pictured
Farrow, a former NBC News employee who now works at The New Yorker, won a Pulitzer in 2018 for stories outlining sexual misconduct allegations against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
In hit book Catch and Kill Farrow makes a the case that NBC may have shied away from the story because several of its executives and personalities, including ‘Today’ co-host Matt Lauer, also had sexual harassment allegations in their closets.
But Lauer said Tuesday: ‘At no time did Brooke Nevils ever use the words “assault” or “rape” in regards to any accusation against me while filing her complaint with NBC in November of 2017. That has been confirmed publicly.’
He also hit out at Nevils, saying her allegation of rape against him was ‘used to sell books’. He said Tuesday that Farrow had failed to speak with two of Nevils’ ex-boyfriends for the purposes of fact checking in his book claims she had made.
‘I was also disappointed, but not surprised, that Ronan Farrow’s overall reporting faced so little scrutiny’, Lauer added.
‘Until this week’s critical reporting by The New York Times, many in the media perceived his work as inherently beyond basic questioning.’
Lauer had already denied Nevils claims in an angry and defiant letter released by his lawyer last year and said that his public silence since his firing had been a mistake.
Lauer was abruptly fired by NBC News for sexual misconduct in 2017 after Brooke Nevils, pictured, accused him of rape in a Sochi hotel room during the Olympics in 2014
On Tuesday he said Farrow ‘consistently failed to confirm stories’, ‘failed to provide evidence of important communications he alleges took place between accusers and me’ and ‘used misleading language to manipulate readers’.
Lauer says Farrow also ‘routinely presented stories in a way that would suit his activist goals’.
Answering claims he had a button under his desk to open and close his door, Lauer said Tuesday: ‘Ronan writes that an unnamed female colleague had sex with me in my office after I pressed a button that remotely shut the door. (At least he stayed away from the myth that I had a button that could lock someone in my office — a fact that NBC has publicly debunked.)
‘He writes that during the sexual encounter, “She passed out. Lauer’s assistant took her to a nurse”.
‘Had he called my assistant, she would have told him that she never took anyone to the nurse, who had any kind of medical issue, while in my office. Ever.
Following the publication of the op-ed Farrow tweeted: ‘All I’ll say on this is that Matt Lauer is just wrong. Catch and Kill was thoroughly reported and fact-checked, including with Matt Lauer himself’
Nevils tweeted: ‘DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender’
Farrow’s book said Nevils met her boss for drinks one night and Lauer joined them. Nevils said she had six shots of vodka and wound up going to Lauer’s room.
She said that Lauer pushed her onto a bed and asked if she liked anal sex. Nevils said she declined several times, but then Lauer ‘just did it.’ She described the encounter as ‘excruciatingly painful.’
‘It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,’ Nevils told Farrow. ‘It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.’
In his open letter last year, Lauer admitted to his extramarital affair with Nevils. He said on that night in Sochi that they consensually performed a variety of sexual acts.
‘She was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner,’ he 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.’
He claimed they had an affair that lasted after they returned to the United States. Nevils described the sex as ‘transactional’ and that she feared the effect Lauer could have on her career.
In one case, she told Farrow that she had asked Lauer for help recording a goodbye video for a friend leaving NBC. He told her he’d do it in his office, and then demanded oral sex, Farrow wrote in the book, ‘Catch and Kill.’
Nevils said she felt she had to do something to protect other women at NBC News, leading to her filing the complaint against Lauer in November 2017.
‘Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time,’ NBC News said in a statement. ‘That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.’
‘From start to finish Ronan is acting as Brooke’s advocate’, Lauer , pictured, said of Farrow
NBC said then that Lauer had been fired for ‘inappropriate sexual conduct.’ The specific rape allegation did not become public until Variety reported that Nevils spoke to Farrow.
Farrow indicated that Lauer’s behavior was an open secret at NBC. He quoted Lauer’s former co-anchor Ann Curry — who left ‘Today’ on bad terms with Lauer — saying she had told NBC executives that Lauer ‘had a problem with women’ and they had to keep an eye on him.
Farrow said he’d learned of seven claims of sexual misconduct raised by women who worked with Lauer. ‘Several said they had told colleagues, and believed the network knew about the problem,’ he wrote.
Nevils, pictured, said she felt she had to do something to protect other women at NBC News, leading to her filing the complaint against Lauer in November 2017
He quoted a former production assistant, Addie Collins, who told him Lauer aggressively pursued her in 2000 and ‘ordered’ her to perform sexual favors.
‘She’d consented, but it had made her feel sick, afraid for her job, afraid of retaliation,’ Farrow wrote.
Lauer said that he had never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex.
In his letter, he said he ended his relationship with Nevils ‘poorly,’ but that ‘being upset or having second thoughts does not give anyone the right to make false accusations years later.’
Lauer acknowledged other extramarital encounters, and criticized the women involved for having ‘abandoned shared responsibility’ for the affairs to shield themselves from blame behind false allegations.
‘They have avoided having to look at a boyfriend, a husband or a child in the eye and say, ‘I cheated,’ Lauer said. ‘And I will no longer provide them the shelter of my silence.’