by Corinne Heller | Fri., Oct. 11, 2019 6:44 AM
Ronan Farrow is standing by the claims made in his book Catch and Kill, which includes former NBC employee Brooke Nevils' rape allegation against Matt Lauer, and says the information published was "extensively fact checked."
The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist made his comments on ABC's Good Morning America on Friday, two days after the news made headlines and spurred a lengthy letter of denial of assault or unconsensual sex from the fired Today show co-host, who lost his job at NBC News in 2017 over alleged sexual misconduct..
"Obviously, in the book, we include his exact thinking without violating any ground rules," Farrow said. "We had very strict rules about what we could reveal about what conversations we had with many of the sources in the book."
The information in Catch and Kill, he said, was "extensively fact-checked, as with everything in this book."
When asked if he talked to Lauer for the book, Farrow said, "I can't answer specific questions about that but I can say that Matt Lauer's thinking, presented in this letter, is in the book."
"I think this young woman, this journalist, Brooke Nevils, presents what I found to be a persuasive response to that," he continued. "The facts of her case, which were backed by documentation and eyewitnesses, suggests that there was an encounter here, that she consistently has described as nonconsensual and she says regardless of what happened before and after that and how he interpreted that, she said no to a physical act."
Lauer's attorney said in a statement on Friday, n response to Farrow's comments, "Ronan Farrow continues his attempt to monetize the Me Too 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 no longer take part in the marketing circus for this book."
In Catch and Kill, Farrow writers that Nevils accepted a seven-figure settlement and signed a non-disclosure agreement to not speak publicly about Lauer.
"What we show in this book—with a paper trail, with documents—is that there were multiple secret settlements and non-disclosures being struck with women at NBC...years before, over a period of six to seven years, a period in which NBC had previously denied any settlements," he added on GMA. "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. I spoke to senior executives who were told about those earlier incidents."
"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," an NBC News spokesperson said in a statement. "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."
Lauer's attorney said the statement on Friday, "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."
Nevils claims Lauer forced her to have anal sex in a hotel room after a night of drinking in Sochi, Russia, where they covered 2014 Olympics. She said it was nonconsensual. In his letter of denial, Lauer said the two had consensual sex and then continued an extramarital affair back in New York.
"Today, nearly two years after I was fired by NBC, old stories are being recycled, titillating details are being added, and a dangerous and defamatory new allegation is being made," Lauer wrote in his statement. "All are being spread as part of a promotional effort to sell a book."
"There's the Matt Lauer that millions of Americans watched on TV every morning for two decades, and there is the Matt Lauer who this morning attempted to bully a former colleague into silence," Nevils said in a statement to NBC News, in response to Laure's denial of her allegations. "His open letter was a case study in victim blaming… I am not afraid of him now, regardless of his threats, bullying, and the shaming and predatory tactics I knew he would (and now has) tried to use against me. The shame in this story belongs to him."
(E! and NBC are part of the NBCUniversal family.)
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