On Wednesday, Nevils released a statement, which aired on NBC Nightly News saying, “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,” Nevils said, adding “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 concluded.
Nevils also expressed gratitude to those who have been moved to share their own stories after hearing hers.
“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,” Nevils tweeted.
Earlier on Wednesday, Variety published details from Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. In the upcoming book, Nevil alleges that Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“It was non-consensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” she reportedly tells Farrow in the book. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
Nevils says in the book that she had more sexual encounters with Lauer back in New York City, according to Variety, telling Farrow: “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”
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
The ousted Today co-anchor, who recently finalized his divorce from longtime wife Annette Roque, penned a lengthy letter in response, saying the encounter in Sochi was the beginning of his affair with Nevils and “the first of many sexual encounters between us over the next several months.”
“At no time, during or after her multiple visits to my apartment, did she express in words or actions any discomfort with being there, or with our affair,” he said. “She also went out of her way to see me several times in my dressing room at work, and on one of those occasions, we had a sexual encounter. It showed terrible judgment on my part, but it was completely mutual and consensual.”
Lauer, who pointed out what he claims are “contradictions” in Nevils’ story, also acknowledged that people were aware of the affair.
“There are people who fully understand the actual dynamic that existed between Brooke and me,” he said. “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 concluded by stating that he has “never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period.”
NBC News Chairman Andrew “Andy” Lack expressed support of Nevils following news of Lauer’s alleged behavior and claimed that the television broadcasting company did not know of his alleged conduct before his 2017 firing.
“First, and most importantly, in reading today’s news our hearts go out to our former colleague. Matt Lauer’s conduct in 2014 was appalling and reprehensible — and of course we said so at the time,” Lack wrote in an internal memo to NBC staff obtained by PEOPLE.
Lack said that Lauer was fired after NBC first became aware of his alleged behavior.
“The first moment we learned of it was the night of November 27, 2017, and he was fired in 24 hours. Any suggestion that we knew prior to that evening or tried to cover up any aspect of Lauer’s conduct is absolutely false and offensive,” Lack added.
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He then shared that after Lauer’s termination, “NBCU’s legal team did an exhaustive investigation of available records and conducted dozens of interviews of past and present staff. They uncovered no claims or settlements associated with allegations of inappropriate conduct by Lauer before he was fired.”
Since the incident, Lack said that NBC has worked to “improve our culture and ensure we have a workplace where everyone feels safe and respected, as well as protected in raising claims.”
“We’ve required all NBC News employees to complete in-person workplace behavior trainings and we’ve significantly increased awareness of the ways employees report concerns – anonymously or otherwise,” Lack added.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.