Matt Lauer’s Accuser Responds to His ‘Bullying and Shaming’ Open Letter

Matt Lauer’s accuser Brooke Nevils has spoken out against the disgraced Today co-anchor, characterizing his open letter—in which he denies raping her in a hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics—as “a case study in victim blaming.”

Nevils released a statement Wednesday night to NBC News in which she said she was “not afraid of him now” and eviscerated Lauer’s “predatory tactics” while accusing him of “threats, bullying, and shaming” in his efforts to counter her account.

“There’s the Matt Lauer that millions of Americans watched on TV every morning for two decades,” Nevils said. “And there is the Matt Lauer who this morning attempted to bully a former colleague into silence.”

Nevils is interviewed by Ronan Farrow in his upcoming, said-to-be-explosive book Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. Her statements on Lauer contain more graphic detail than had previously been disclosed of his misconduct at Today. Nevils alleges that Lauer anally penetrated her without consent, exploiting his powerful position over her in the newsroom during future sexual encounters back in New York City.

“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” she’s reported as telling Farrow in the book. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”

Lauer’s open letter, released Wednesday in response to Catch and Kill, claimed that Sochi encounter was both consensual and the start of an extramarital affair that lasted 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 wrote. “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 further noted “contradictions” in Nevils’ account and wrote: “There are people who fully understand the actual dynamic that existed between Brooke and me. 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.”

Ending his open letter, Lauer further contends that he has “never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period.”

Over at NBC, chairman Andy Lack stood with Nevils in an internal memo obtained by People, claiming that he and the TV broadcaster were not aware of Lauer’s alleged conduct until his firing in 2017.

“First, and most importantly, in reading today’s news our hearts go out to our former colleague,” he wrote in the memo. “Matt Lauer’s conduct in 2014 was appalling and reprehensible — and of course we said so at the time. “

Lack added: “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.”

NBC News issued a statement as well, though it lacked the memo’s emphatic assertion that no one at the network knew of Lauer’s conduct prior to the evening of his firing.

“Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time,” read that statement. “That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”

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.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

Mindy Kaling fires back at the Television Academy—here’s why
Rihanna explains why she turned down the Super Bowl halftime show
Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail on the show’s fourth and final season
HBO’s Watchmen is an “extrapolation” of the source material
Nick Kroll on the “meta” experience of making Big Mouth
Follow Fortune on Flipboard to stay up-to-date on the latest news and analysis.

Loading...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here