Matt Lauer has reared his head for the first time since his 2017 #MeToo reckoning to speak out against Ronan Farrow and a claim made in his book Catch and Kill. In a passionate op-ed published in Mediate, Lauer took advantage of the recent criticism of Farrow in the New York Times to vehemently deny the accusation and question the credibility of the Catch and Kill author’s claims.
In November 2017, NBC fired Lauer over allegations of "inappropriate sexual behaviour" in the workplace. The New York Times then shed some light on specific allegations, which included a former employee’s claim that the host pressured her into sex in his office in 2001. This news came at the height of Harvey Weinstein’s downfall as it seemed every day a new prominent man was accused of sexual misconduct.
Two years later, the release of Farrow’s Catch and Kill reignited the conversation around Lauer when it revealed new details of the accusation that prompted his dismissal. Farrow wrote that former NBC staffer Brooke Nevils says Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room while the two were covering the 2014 Sochi Olympics. New accusations against the disgraced broadcaster in the book also include one from former producer Melissa Lonner, who alleges Lauer exposed himself to her during a company party.
The recent piece by the New York Times accuses Farrow of not properly fact-checking these claims, saying witnesses and friends who were reportedly privy to knowledge of these instances were never contacted. In Lauer’s op-ed, he latches on to the NYT’s claims, and adds that Farrow himself is biased against NBC, given that the network refused to publish his Harvey Weinstein reporting that eventually landed in the New Yorker.
Lauer says he himself contacted the witnesses, and claims that they dispute a number of the instances in the book, namely instances in which the accusers confided in them about the alleged misconduct. What Lauer does not acknowledge in his reporting is that, like Farrow, he himself is extremely biased, given that he is conducting an investigation not just into Farrow’s reporting, but ultimately himself. It comes as no surprise, then, that Lauer’s reporting finds all the major accusations against him to be uncorroborated.
Brooke Nevils appeared to respond to the op-ed on Twitter, citing the acronym "DARVO," which stands for the common behaviour exhibited by those accused of wrongdoing.
Farrow also issued a succinct reply, writing on Twitter, "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."
To Refinery29, Farrow wrote, “We called dozens of corroborators around the Lauer allegations described in the book, and more than a dozen around Brooke Nevils specifically."
A spokesperson with publisher Little Brown added, “Little, Brown and Company fully supports Ronan Farrow and his reporting in Catch And Kill. Ronan’s dedication to a deep and thorough fact-check of his reporting, his commitment to the rights of victims and his impeccable attention to detail and nuance make us proud to be his publisher.”
A spokesperson for Lauer declined to comment.