Megyn Kelly Calls for Outside Investigation of NBC Over Matt Lauer Allegations

Kelly spoke with Tucker Carlson in her first televised interview since her Today departure

By Elyse Dupre Oct 17, 2019 8:43 PMTags

Megyn Kelly is calling for an independent investigation into NBC following the rape and sexual harassment allegations made against Matt Lauer.

The 48-year-old journalist made the demand on Wednesday's episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight.

During her first televised interview since her departure from Today, Kelly spoke about the allegations published in Ronan Farrow's new book Catch and Kill. In addition to detailing the sexual misconduct claims made against Lauer, Farrow accused NBC News of trying to shut down his reporting of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

"The question is what did they know about Matt Lauer prior to the time the woman came forward, who was ultimately his downfall?" she said. "She came forward—her name is Brooke Nevils—made an allegation against Matt Lauer and the company's whole defense to Ronan's book essentially has been, 'That's the first we ever knew about Matt Lauer. There was no deal between us and Harvey Weinstein to cover up for Harvey Weinstein so that he wouldn't report on Matt Lauer because we didn't even know that Matt Lauer was doing this. We had no notice of it whatsoever.'"

When Tucker Carlson asked if this could be a plausible claim, Kelly said "it might be." However, she said this would be under the conditions that there had been "no settlements of any kind and no complaints about Mat Lauer prior to Brooke Nevils coming forward." She also claimed "you can get paid out as a sexual harassment victim in something other than a settlement."

"You can get what's called enhanced severance," she said.

She then encouraged the company to put forth any related agreements if there are any.

"The number one thing that needs to happen now is they need to release any and all Matt Lauer accusers from their confidentiality agreements. NBC says it has nothing to hide? Great. Let's not hide anything," she said. "Show us all of the agreements—the enhanced severance agreements that were reached or at least the numbers so we can see which ones pop out, which ones are super high. And are they all women? And do they all have a connection with Matt Lauer? And, number two: Release the women from their confidentiality obligations."

She also questioned if the organization "put dollars ahead of decency" and called for an outside investigation into NBC.

"There needs to be an outside investigation into this company," she said. "They investigated themselves. That doesn't work. Fox News had an outside investigator; CBS News had an outside investigator; NPR; the NFL. This is how it's done. You get somebody on the outside who can be trusted."

As Kelly referenced, Nevils claimed she was anally raped by Lauer in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. According to the book, she later spoke about the alleged incident with Meredith Vieira and was encouraged to go to human resources. She did, and Lauer was fired the next day in 2017. Nevils went on medical leave in 2018. The former staffer was reportedly paid "seven figures."   

An NBC News spokesperson slammed claims there was any prior knowledge of the accusations against Lauer before Nevils came forward.

"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," the spokesperson said via a statement. "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."

NBC News also said, "Matt Lauer's conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time. That's why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague."

Nathan Congleton/NBC

Lauer denied Nevils rape accusation in an open letter. In the note, he claimed he had oral sex, vaginal sex and anal sex with Nevils but insisted "each act was mutual and completely consensual." 

"The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this was an abusive encounter," he wrote in part of the letter. "Nothing could be further from the truth. There was absolutely nothing aggressive about that encounter. Brooke did not do or say anything to object.  She certainly did not cry.  She was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner.  At no time did she behave in a way that made it appear she was incapable of consent.  She seemed to know exactly what she wanted to do. The only concern she expressed was that someone might see her leaving my room.  She embraced me at the door as she left." 

However, this wasn't the only accusation Lauer faced. According to Farrow, an unnamed former NBC on-air personality accused Lauer and an unnamed executive of making unwanted advances toward her. These reportedly included lewd comments. In the book, she claimed her "career took a nosedive" after declining the alleged advances. Per the book, she claimed she was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement upon her exit in 2012.

"Farrow says this individual received inappropriate messages from Lauer, and showed them to ‘colleagues,' not management, made no report, and we've found no record of one," NBC News President Noah Oppenheim wrote in a memo, per People. "She signed a completely standard separation agreement, including a routine confidentiality provision that was in her original employment contract. Again, that provision was designed to protect proprietary company information, not prevent an employee from reporting misconduct, nor has it ever been used that way."

According to the book, Lauer was also accused of exposing himself to former staffer Melissa Lonner in 2010. Lonner did not provide comment for the book. In addition, neither Lonner nor Lauer addressed these claims when contacted by Today. Per Today, Oppenheim addressed the allegation in a staff memo.

"At the time of the employee 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," he stated. He also claimed that the standard confidentiality clause "was not drafted to prevent an employee from reporting misconduct, and it has never been used that way."

Noam Galai/WireImage

Lauer's attorney, Elizabeth M. Locke, has also said, "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.  I am sure NBC will have much to say about Ronan's claim."

Furthermore, Oppenheim denied claims there was interference with Farrow's reporting.

"We are more confident now than ever in the decisions we made around Ronan's reporting," he told Variety

Watch the video see Kelly's interview.

(E! and NBC are both part of NBCUniversal).