Almost two years after Matt Lauer was fired from NBC following complaints of sexual misconduct, public outrage has been reignited thanks to new details in Ronan Farrow's book, Catch And Kill, published October 15. We now know the anonymous complaint cited by the New York Times back in 2017 that ultimately prompted Lauer's dismissal belonged to former NBC colleague Brooke Nevils. In Catch And Kill, Farrow reports Nevils' allegation that Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room while the two were covering the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The book also contains new accusations against the disgraced broadcaster, including one from former producer Melissa Lonner who alleges Lauer exposed himself to her during a company party.
“In 25 years at NBC, Matt Lauer did not have a single complaint brought to his attention until November 28, 2017. NBC has already stated this for the record after an internal investigation," Lauer's lawyer, Libby Locke, told Refinery29 in a statement. “Ronan Farrow continues his attempt to monetize the MeToo movement, using salacious allegations as promotional trinkets to sell his book. Matt never exposed himself to anyone. This ridiculous story has been shopped around for years. Many allegations that are being circulated were never raised during any fact-checking process. And despite repeated requests for an advance copy of this book, we have not been provided one, while many media outlets have. Matt will have more to say at an appropriate time, but he will not take part in the marketing circus for this book.”
The timing of Lauer's firing and the anonymity of accusers can make the accusations difficult to parse. To this day, the shadow of secrecy that still surrounds powerful men means we may not yet have the full story, but one thing is for certain: Lauer's reckoning is still unfolding. Ahead is a timeline of all the accusations of sexual misconduct against the former NBC anchor.
NBC Receives At Least Three Complaints Against Matt Lauer, November 29, 2017
The New York Times reports that Lauer was fired from NBC after an allegation of sexual misconduct was made by a subordinate who we now know to be Nevils.
“While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” Andrew Lack, the NBC News chairman, reportedly wrote in a memo to staff. That same day, the NYT says NBC received "at least two more complaints," one being from a former employee who says she was sexually assaulted in 2001 in Lauer's office.
Three Women Accuse Matt Lauer Of Sexual Harassment To Variety, November 29, 2017
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” he said. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”
“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly,” the statement continued. “Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching, and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
Former Today Production Assistant Alleges Secret Relationship With Matt Lauer, December 14, 2017
Former NBC intern Addie Collins detailed to Variety her account of an affair she had with Lauer during her last few weeks at the network before leaving for another job. After the two met for lunch, Collins says they had a number of sexual encounters. While the relationship was ultimately consensual, Collins says Lauer took advantage of his power to pursue her.
Brooke Nevils Accuses Matt Lauer Of Rape, October 8, 2019
“In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault,” Lauer responded in a letter. “It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense.”
Former NBC Host Alleges Affair With Matt Lauer, October 15, 2019
“Matt had influence over everyone’s career — one word and your career would be sunk," a source told the outlet. "I know there was a clear imbalance of power in this woman’s relationship with Matt."
Former NBC Host Alleges Repeated Unwanted Advances From Matt Lauer, October 15, 2019
Catch And Kill details the account of an NBC on-air personality who claims they were treated like "a hanging piece of meat" before leaving the network in 2012 and signing an NDA. She claims Lauer and a former senior executive would make inappropriate comments about her during broadcasts, and when she turned down these advances, she had less assignments.
“I got punished,” she told Farrow. “My career took a sharp nosedive.”
Melissa Lonner Says Matt Lauer Exposed Himself To Her, October 15, 2019
Former Today producer Melissa Lonner told Farrow in Catch And Kill that Lauer exposed himself to her during a company party in 2010, and that the NDA she signed upon leaving the company in 2013 was meant to silence her.
"At the time of the employee’s exit, three years later, she still had made no complaint about Lauer, was paid 22 weeks of severance based on her years of service, and was asked to sign a separation agreement that was standard for departing employees at the time," NBC News president Noah Oppenheim released in a memo following her account. "The standard separation agreement included a routine confidentiality clause that was designed to protect proprietary company information. It was not drafted to prevent an employee from reporting misconduct, and it has never been used that way. (This employee made a complaint to management about Lauer, for the first time, after his 2017 firing.)"