In 2017, Matt Lauer was fired from the Today Show following sexual assault allegations against a staff member. Though her identity was unknown at the time, Ronan Farrow's new book, Catch and Kill, has revealed the victim to be Brooke Nevils.
Nevils claims Lauer anally raped her in a hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. She released a statement regarding the accusations:
"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. 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, I want to thank the many survivors who shared their stories with me today and offered their support. It takes courage, and I am truly grateful."
Lauer released a statement of his own, denying the accusations and claiming he and Nevils had consensual sex.
But though he claims the sex was consensual, Lauer apparently knew he was going to be fired from the network one week beforehand.
At the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 23, 2017, Lauer, 60, dressed in all black and was overheard telling a coworker, “This is going to be my last parade.” A source said the former show host was “gray and tired-looking” that day, just a week before the truth came out and NBC pulled the plug.
Even though he knew his fate, he fought until the very end, a source told Page Six. He lied and denied all accusations against him, and even told his bosses they had nothing to worry about.
Photo: Getty Images
“He was already being investigated by Variety magazine, but at that point, nobody knew what they had got on him,” said the source who overheard him at the parade. “The Times was calling around, saying they were doing a piece on the culture of the Today show, and The Enquirer was asking about settlements paid to female staff members who had affairs with Matt.”
While Lauer was being investigated for his work behavior, he was asked by NBC President Noah Oppenheimer and Chairman Andy Lack multiple times, “Is there anything we should know or be worried about?” Lauer dismissed them by saying, “I am racking my brains, but I can’t think of anything.”
The “favorite dad” on TV knew of his demise but seemed unaware it would happen so quickly.
Photo: Getty Images
“He was acting his usual cocky, confident self,” says the first insider. “He had no idea that this would turn out to be his last day on the show.”
A fellow colleague of Lauer’s and her lawyer arranged a meeting with NBC’s human resources team at 6 PM on November 26, and he was fired two days later.
“Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly, as all companies should when confronted with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace,” said civil-rights and employment lawyer Ari Wilkenfeld, who represented Nevils before her identity was revealed.
Matt lawyered up by that afternoon but continued to defend himself up until the evidence proved he was at fault. “Matt was at first unapologetic, defending himself,” an NBC employee told Page Six, and continued to say that his demeanor shifted as the evidence against him poured out.
Two more women came forward with sexual allegations against Lauer that turned out to be true. “He became quiet and didn't argue,” the first insider added. “He accepted that it didn't look good.”
After getting fired from NBC, Lauer’s wife, Annette Roque, filed for divorce. The divorce was finalized on September 5, 2019, and the exes will share joint custody of their children.
Added a source close to Lauer, “He goes between sadness and acceptance of his fate, to disbelief how it all happened so quickly, and how the situation was so out of his control.”
Sarah Gangraw is a travel-addicted cat lady who lives on black coffee and cheese. She writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter — she's occasionally funny.