“We’re disturbed to our core,” Guthrie said during a live segment.
Former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils accused Lauer of anally raping her at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to an excerpt of journalist Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book “Catch and Kill” that Variety published Wednesday. Nevils’ complaint led to Lauer being fired in 2017 amid the Me Too movement. Nevils’ identity was not publicly known then, and it was only reported at the time that Lauer had been accused of assaulting a network staffer at the 2014 Olympics.
“You know someone, you feel like you know them inside and out,” Kotb said on air. “And all of a sudden, a door opens up and it’s a part of them you didn’t know.”
Lauer denied the allegation in a letter released Wednesday, saying he and Nevils had a consensual affair that began during the Sochi Olympics.
“In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault,” he wrote in the letter, which was published by Variety. “It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense.”
Kotb said the allegations against Lauer were serious and “shocking.”
“We don’t know all of the facts in all of this, but these are not allegations of an affair. They’re allegations of a crime,” she said. “I think that’s shocking to all of us here who have sat with Matt for many, many years.”
Guthrie acknowledged that it must not have been easy for Nevils to come forward with her allegation in 2017 or to decide to publicly reveal her identity. She said she and Kotb fully supported her.
“Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling horrific and reprehensible and we said at the time that’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint,” NBC News said in a statement. “Our hearts break again for our colleague.”
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.