According to an anonymous source, a “disastrous” meeting between Today staffers and NBC network news chief Noah Oppenheim became “heated” when staffers demanded to know if Oppenheim knew about the rape allegations against former Today host Matt Lauer prior to his firing in 2017.
A new book by Ronan Farrow alleges that Matt Lauer was fired from his job when a former NBC news employee, Brooke Nevils, reportedly told executives that Lauer raped her in his hotel room at the Sochi Olympics. In the first staff meeting after the news broke, Page Six reports former co-workers of both Nevils and Lauer demanded more information about what, exactly, Oppenheim had been told when Nevils made her complaint:
“[Oppenheim] said Nevils’ ‘confidentiality is not something that I am ever going to breach, not only for her sake. The whole point of that is so she can tell her story whenever, however she chooses to and she is doing so now, I think that is appropriate,’ Page Six reports. ‘Everyone laughed at him,’ said a source, adding that the staffer replied, ‘Pretty sure she’s waived that right [when she gave her blockbuster interview to Farrow]. We deserve answers from you.’
People is also reporting that Lauer’s Today Show co-host Meredith Vieira never spoke to Lauer again after he was fired. Vieira covered the Sochi Olympics alongside Lauer, and Nevils was her assistant. In Ronan Farrow’s new book Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, Nevils reveals that she first went to Vieira with her allegations of sexual assault, and it was Vieira who encouraged her to report Lauer’s behavior to executives:
“While Nevils said several people knew of her relationship with Lauer, she didn’t disclose the full details or escalate the situation until she confided in Vieira — who immediately told her to take action, according to Farrow’s excerpt.
At Vieira’s urging, Nevils reported her ordeal to NBC executives in the fall of 2017, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Variety reported. After Lauer was fired, Nevils went on medical leave in 2018 and was eventually paid ‘seven figures,’ Farrow writes, according to the outlet.”
In an open letter published by Variety, Lauer claimed that his “relationships” with Nevils and others were all consensual and maintained that the women coming forward have “abandoned shared responsibility.”
In response, Nevils called the letter a “case study in victim-blaming.” Meanwhile, Lauer’s daughter, who he claims encouraged him to write the Variety letter, has deleted Tik Tok videos of her father gleefully lip-synching to “Big Fun” from Heathers: The Musical.