Matt Lauer, former host of NBC’s Today, is facing newly unearthed allegations of sexual misconduct. Ronan Farrow, who won a Pulitzer at The New Yorker for his reportage on Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior, has a book called Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators coming out Oct. 15. A handful of media outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, accessed the book.
Farrow was formerly at NBC News. As he chased down the Weinstein story, Catch and Kill states that Weinstein met with principals at American Media Inc. (AMI), whose publications include the National Enquirer, with information on Lauer, hoping he could use that to prevent NBC News from breaking the Weinstein story.
Farrow also said he was investigated by espionage agents, presumably hired by Weinstein, as he prepared to publish the Weinstein story.
Little, Brown is the book’s publisher.
NBC issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that said, “NBC News was never contacted by AMI, or made aware in any way of any threats from them, or from anyone else, for that matter. And the idea of NBC News taking a threat seriously from a tabloid company about Matt Lauer is especially preposterous, since they already covered him with great regularity."
After he departed NBC News, which decided that Farrow’s reporting was not ready to air, Farrow published his Weinstein story in The New Yorker in October 2017, days after the New York Times had its own Weinstein bombshell.
The Reporter said that NBC staffers, including an assistant to Meredith Vieira and a Today employee, got seven-figure payouts related to Lauer’s misconduct. One former employee, Brooke Nevils, alleges that Lauer raped her at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the book states.
When she learned of the incident, Vieira urged Nevils to go to human resources with a lawyer, according to Variety.
Lauer was dismissed in 2017. In a statement issued to Variety, NBC News called Lauer’s behavior “appalling, horrific and reprehensible,” and noted that he was fired within 24 hours of NBC learning of the initial complaint.
Lauer countered that sex with Nevils was “mutual and completely consensual.” In a letter issued to Hollywood Reporter, he said, "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."
Farrow told The Hollywood Reporter that “Harvey was laying siege to NBC."