Matt Lauer apparently made a thinly veiled dig at his former “Today” colleagues Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb for “rushing to judge” him after he was accused of rape by an ex-staffer at the show.
In his stunning rebuttal to Ronan Farrow’s book “Catch and Kill,” Lauer challenged what he called Farrow’s “flawed reporting and factual errors” — particularly regarding former NBC staffer Brooke Nevils’ claims that Lauer raped her. He denies rape and insists he had a consensual sexual relationship with Nevils.
NBC insiders are buzzing about a barbed passage in his essay that they believe is directly aimed at his ex-co-anchors Guthrie and Kotb, with both of whom he believed he had an amicable friendship.
Lauer wrote, “I was shaken, but not surprised, that few in the media were willing to thoroughly challenge the accusations against me, or the person making them. The rush to judgment was swift. In fact, on the morning I was falsely accused of rape, and before I could even issue a statement, some journalists were already calling my accuser ‘brave’ and ‘courageous.’ While the presumption of innocence is only guaranteed in a court of law, I felt journalists should have, at the very least, recognized and considered it.”
Details of the rape allegation — which led to Lauer’s firing in 2017 — became public in October, and co-anchors Guthrie and Kotb expressed their horror — without using the terms “brave” or “courageous.” Guthrie said, “This is shocking and appalling … I want to say that I know it wasn’t easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then. It’s not easy now. And we support her and any women who come forward with claims.” She added, “We are disturbed to our core.”
Kotb said, “It’s like, you feel like you’ve known someone for 12 years … and all of a sudden a door opens up and it’s a part of them you didn’t know … Our thoughts are with Brooke. It’s not easy, what she did, to come forward. It’s not easy at all.”
Reps for NBC and “Today” did not comment.