This morning, The New Yorker correspondent (and former NBC Newser) Ronan Farrow appeared on Good Morning America for the first of what surely be many stops on his media tour to promote Catch and Kill.
As we have noted over the past couple of days, a portion of Catch and Kill includes the allegation that former Today co-anchor Matt Lauer raped NBC News producer and Meredith Viera‘s then-assistant Brooke Nevils while the two were in Sochi covering the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Lauer put out a lengthy, open letter denouncing the allegation that he raped Nevils in a hotel room in Sochi as, “categorically false.” Both Lauer and Nevils acknowledged that a sex act had happened, but Lauer argued in the letter that Nevils was “a fully enthusiastic and willing partner.”
During his GMA appearance, Farrow told George Stephanopoulos he couldn’t answer specific questions about whether or not Lauer talked to him for the book, but he did say “Matt Lauer’s thinking that is in his letter is presented in the book,” and went on to claim that this “was extensively fact checked…as with everything in this book.”
NBC has publicly said that it first learned of Lauer’s previous behavior the night of Nov. 27, 2017, and fired Lauer within 24 hours after Nevils brought her complaint to NBC Universal human resources. When asked about how NBC handled the situation, Farrow claimed that NBC actually knew about Lauer’s behavior years before, and claimed that there were multiple secret settlements and non-disclosure agreements being struck with women at NBC. “There were seven non-disclosure agreements. Multiple ones of those were with Matt Lauer accusers. This is years before this incident with Brooke Nevils and the firing.”
Catch and Kill hits bookstores on Tuesday.
*UPDATE: A NBC News spokesperson provided us with a statement and a memo NBC News chairman Andy Lack sent to staff on Wednesday, addressing Farrow’s claims:
The first time we learned about Matt Lauer’s sexual misconduct in the workplace was the night of November 27, 2017 and he was fired in 24 hours. Any suggestion that we knew prior to that evening, paid any “hush money,” or tried to cover up any aspect of Lauer’s appalling behavior is absolutely false.
NBCU’s legal team has done an exhaustive search of available records and conducted dozens of interviews of past and present staff, and uncovered no claims or settlements relating to allegations of inappropriate conduct by Matt Lauer that pre-date his firing. Only following his termination did we reach agreements with two women who had come forward for the very first time and those women have always been free to share their stories about Lauer with anyone they choose.
Lack’s Wednesday memo:
Matt Lauer’s conduct in 2014 was appalling and reprehensible – and of course we said so at the time. 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.
Following Lauer’s firing, NBCU’s legal team did an exhaustive investigation of available records and conducted dozens of interviews of past and present staff. They uncovered no claims or settlements associated with allegations of inappropriate conduct by Lauer before he was fired. Only following his termination did NBCU reach agreements with two women who had come forward for the very first time, and those women have always been free to share their stories about Lauer with anyone they choose.