Matt Lauer was fired from The Today Show nearly two years ago over allegations of sexual assault from an anonymous colleague. Now, that colleague has spoken up in a new book by Ronan Farrow. With her identity out in the open, the world is starting to get to know Brooke Nevils.
Nevils worked with Lauer at NBC News for several years, and even traveled with the team that covered the 2014 Sochi Olympics. There, she claims Lauer sexually assaulted her. She further says that their relationship continued for years afterward, with a troubling power dynamic obscuring the lines of consent.
Nevils told her story in an interview with Farrow for his new book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. The book takes a vague story and adds detail and nuance, but it also puts Nevils under the microscope.
It is worth remembering that Nevils was just one of the women who came forward with allegations against Lauer back in 2017. Lauer was officially fired from The Today Show over Nevils' complaint, but just days before The New York Times and Variety intended to publish their own investigative reports, including interviews with some accusers. NBC News claimed that it had no knowledge of the other allegations.
So far, Nevils has been relatively quiet, letting her quotes from the book speak for themselves. However, with the release date fast approaching, readers are starting to dig for details on Nevils herself.
Here is what we know about Nevils so far.
Nevils had a meteoric rise through the ranks at NBC before the scandal broke. She explained her career in an interview with Arts & Sciences Magazine, published by her alma mater, Johns Hopkins University.
Nevils hails from Missouri, and graduated from Johns Hopkins in 2007 with a double major in political science and writing. Out of school, she took a job as an NBC page at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.
She shared some outlandish stories about her time as a page. Nevils recalled greeing celebrity guests, guiding them through the studio and doing whatever was asked of her. She recalled tracking down Robert De Niro's wallet, which he had left in a cab, all in the time he was doing an interview.prevnext
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After her tenure as a page was up, Nevils transitioned to a job as Meredith Vieira's personal assistant on The Today Show. She ran errands for the host, but also helped with research and interview prep. Nevils became close with Vieira, and spoke highly of her.
"It was a great learning experience," she said.prevnext
From there, Nevils became an NBC producer. She continued to work hard, telling Arts & Sciences that she often worked sixty hours per week or more, researching and pitching stories, tracking down guests or helping put together segments for the show.
"You never know what you’re going to be doing, ever," she said. "At the end of the day what’s most important to me is that my work gets seen and that it makes a difference to the people who watch it — that it informs them, makes them laugh, or gives them something to talk about with their moms."prevnext
Nevils hit a career peak in 2014, when she and her team were nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding feature story in an news magazine. She was an assistant producer on A Leap of Faith: A Meredith Vieira Special, which earned the nod.
In this time, Nevils was also credited as a producer on NBC shows like 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After? and Royal Wedding Watch, among others.prevnext
2014 Sochi Olympics Allegations
That same year, Nevils had the encounter with Lauer that would ultimately end both of their time at NBC News. According to a report by Variety, in Catch and Kill, Nevils recounts going to the 2014 Sochi Olympics with Lauer, Vieira and other members of the coverage team for NBC.
Nevils says that she was mostly working with Vieira at the sporting event, but one night the two of them ran into Lauer at the hotel bar. Nevils had a lot to drink, and Lauer did some flirtatious joking with her. He took her press credentials up to his room at one point, trying to invite her back. Eventually, she accepted.
Nevils claims that Lauer kissed her as soon as she was in his room, then pushed her onto his bed. He allegedly tried to initiate sexual acts, which Nevils says she "declined several times."
Finally, she says, he "just did it." Nevils claims she "bled for days" after the encounter.
"It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent," she added. "It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex."prevnext
Back in New York City
Nevils said that she had more sexual encounters with Lauer once they were back in New York City together. She told Farrow that "this is what I blame myself most for. It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship."
Sources close to Lauer claimed that Nevils "sometimes initiated contact," but she did not confirm that claim.prevnext
Nevils said that the assault and her whole affair with Lauer was not a secret. She said that she told "like a million people," including "colleagues and superiors at NBC." When she moved to the company's Peacock Productions as a producer, she "reported it to one of her new bosses there."
Finally, Nevils said she went directly to Vieira in the fall of 2017, as the Me Too movement was picking up steam. It was Vieira who reportedly told Nevils to escalate the issue by bringing a lawyer along to NBC News human resources with her.prevnext
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.— Brooke Nevils (@BrookeNevils) October 9, 2019
Nevils reportedly turned down monetary compensation for the assault. However, she found it hard to maintain anonymity with her accusation, as NBC had revealed that the assault took place at the Sochi Olympics. This left few candidates for the allegation, and soon everyone knew it was her.
"Nevils’s work life became torture," Farrow wrote. "She was made to sit in the same meetings as everyone else, discussing the news, and in all of them colleagues loyal to Lauer cast doubt on the claims, and judgment on her."
After a few months, Nevils reportedly grew tired of the environment and took a medical leave from work. She eventually accepted a payment to the tune of "seven figures."
"The network proposed a script she would have to read, suggesting that she had left to pursue other endeavors, that she was treated well, and that NBC News was a positive example of sexual harassment," Farrow added.prevnext
When details from Nevils' interview first began to come out, Lauer issued a statement very similar to the one he had made in 2017.
"I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014," he wrote in an open letter. "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."
Privately, sources told PEOPLE that Lauer was genuinely "dumbfounded" by Nevils' accusations, believing their relationship was "consensual."0comments
Meanwhile, NBC News is reportedly preparing to defend itself against certain claims in Farrow's book as well, which documents this and other cases of high-profile sexual misconduct.
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators hits shelves everywhere books are sold on Tuesday, Oct. 15.prev