Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie addressed the new rape allegation against their former Today show colleague, Matt Lauer, calling them “shocking and appalling” on the October 9 broadcast. The co-hosts said they were “disturbed to the core” about the interview with a former NBC employee, Brooke Nevils, included in Ronan Farrow‘s new book, Catch and Kill, in which she alleged that Matt anally raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Her account was one of the complaints that led to Lauer’s firing from NBC in 2017. “I feel like we owe it to our viewers to pause for a moment,” Savannah began. “This is shocking and appalling. I honestly don’t even know what to say about it. I want to say that I know it wasn’t easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then, and it’s not easy now. We support her and any woman who has come forward with claims. It’s just very painful for us for all of us at NBC and the Today Show. It’s very, very, very difficult.”
Hoda added, “I’m looking at you and i’m having a weird moment. We were sitting here just like this two years ago. Truth be told, Savannah and I did a little prayer upstairs before [this], just to sort out what we were going to do. And I think it’s like… you feel like you’ve known someone for 12 years. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that — you feel like you know them inside out. And then, all of a sudden, a door opens up, and it’s a part of them you didn’t know. We don’t know all the facts of this, but it’s not allegations of an affair; they’re allegations of a crime. I think that’s shocking to all of us here who sat with Matt for many, many years. I think we’re going to just continue to process this part of this horrific story, and as you said, our thoughts are with Brooke. It’s not easy what she did, to come forward. It’s not easy at all.”
Savannah ended the segment by saying, “I think I speak for all of us. We’re disturbed to our core. We have a commitment to keep you informed and we will continue to do that.” While Hoda said in her April 2018 profile for Hollywood Reporter’s “35 Most Powerful People In New York Media List” that she still spoke with Matt, it’s unclear if she’s kept that connection. Matt has denied the new rape allegation in a statement provided to our sister site, Variety, through his lawyer.
“Over the past two years people have asked why I have not spoken out to defend myself more vigorously against some of the false and salacious allegations leveled at me. It is a fair question and the answer is deeply personal. Despite my desire to set the record straight and confront the individuals making false allegations, I wanted nothing less than to create more headlines my kids would read and a new gathering of photographers at the end of our driveway.
“So I decided to just stay quiet and work on repairing my relationship with the people I love. It has been the most important full-time job I have ever had. But my silence has been a mistake… In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault. It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense. I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014.
“It began when she came to my hotel room very late one night in Sochi, Russia. We engaged in a variety of sexual acts. We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. 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. 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.” You can read Matt’s full letter of denial, provided to Variety, HERE.