According to Variety, Matt Lauer is being accused of rape by a former colleague in Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill. His former Today co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb are not holding back words about their longtime television partner and the allegations against him.
In the book, Lauer’s accuser, former NBC producer Brooke Nevils, alleges that she visited the Today host in his hotel room during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014, following drinks they shared alongside Lauer’s former co-host Meredith Viera.
Nevils said she went to Lauer’s room after he had taken her identification card, then visited again when he invited her back. Lauer then reportedly forced her to engage in anal intercourse despite repeated objections from her. It would not be the last time the two had sexual relations, though Nevils described the arrangement between the two as a “transaction,” not a relationship.
On Wednesday, NBC News released a statement in which they referred to their 2017 firing of Lauer, calling their former anchor’s actions “appalling, horrific, and reprehensible.”
Just as they did in 2017 when it was announced that Lauer had been fired amid allegations against him, Today hosts Guthrie and Kotb seemed to get a little emotional when discussing the situation.
“You know, this is shocking and appalling and I honestly don’t even know what to say about it,” Guthrie said after telling viewers that she believed they owed it to their audience to discuss the allegations against Lauer. “I want to say that we know it wasn’t easy for our colleague, Brooke, to come forward then and not easy now. And we support her and any women who come forward with claims, and it’s just very painful for all of us at NBC and who are at the Today show and you know it’s very very very difficult.”
Guthrie sat in the anchor seat next to Lauer for five years as one of the show’s leading hosts, appearing nearly every day alongside the disgraced morning anchor from 7-9 a.m. Guthrie replaced former Today anchor Ann Curry in 2012 after rumors circulated that Lauer did not get along with her and had urged network executives to replace her. Curry was in the show’s main role less than a year.
Kotb was promoted to a main Today co-anchor alongside Guthrie in 2017 following Lauer’s sudden exit from the morning show. She also hosts the fourth hour of Today alongside Jenna Bush Hager, a job she started in 2007 when she hosted with Kathie Lee Gifford. Wednesday, Kotb remarked that it was hard to hear the claims against Lauer after knowing him for more than a decade.
“You know someone – you know them – you feel like you know them inside and out, and then all of a sudden a door opens up and it’s a part of them you didn’t know,” she said during the broadcast, which was shared on the show’s Twitter page. “And we don’t know all the facts of this, but they are not allegations of an affair, they are allegations of a crime, and I think that’s shocking to all of us here who sat with Matt for many many years.”
Lauer has denied the allegations against him and said in a statement that his relationship with Nevils was consensual.