Wednesday was a difficult morning for the staff of The Today Show, who reported on the alleged sexual assault of one colleague by another. New details in the allegations against Matt Lauer came out this week, forcing everyone from the victim to the bystanders to relive a painful memory. This included Lauer's former co-star Al Roker.
Roker was at the table on Wednesday morning in the third hour of The Today Show, when Lauer's story came up. The new details come from Catch and Kill, an upcoming book by Roan Farrow. In an excerpt first released by Variety, Farrow interviewed Brooke Nevils, the formerly anonymous accuser who claims that Lauer assaulted her while they were working together at the 2017 Olympics in Sochi.
Today's report was thorough, narrated by host Morgan Radford. After going over the details, Radford turned back to the table of other hosts, including Roker, who was friendly on air with Lauer for years. The weatherman was practically at a loss for words.
Overnight, troubling new allegations about former TODAY anchor Matt Lauer were revealed from journalist Ronan Farrow’s soon-to-be-released book “Catch and Kill.” @MorganRadford reports the details. pic.twitter.com/H5txYIjM0R— 3rd Hour of TODAY (@3rdHourTODAY) October 9, 2019
"It's a — really, a sad, sad day," Roker said shakily. "I mean, [there are] some horrific allegations, claims and charges. Again, as you said, we really feel badly for Brooke Nevils. Our heart goes out to her, it took a lot of courage for her to do that. It's just a sad, sad story."
The others at the table agreed, saying that their thoughts were with Nevils, first and foremost. The show's hosts remarked on how hard it must be for Nevils to relive such an experience so publicly, while promising to continue to follow the story unflinchingly, despite its proximity to their show.
Meanwhile, Lauer himself is still denying Nevils' allegations. In an open letter sent to Variety by his lawyer, Lauer admits that he had an "extramarital affair" with Nevils, and says that the other claims in her interview were all false.
"It is categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense," Lauer wrote. Instead, he says that he and Nevils had "an extramarital, but consensual sexual encounter."
The Today Show and NBC as a whole have shown sympathy for Nevils in every comment on the scandal, without taking a stance on Lauer's denial. The network issued a statement to Variety for its initial report, echoing previous releases on this topic.
"Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time," it said. "That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague."
Lauer was fired from The Today Show nearly two years ago, and has stayed relatively out of public life since. The disgraced anchor has been spending time with his children at his properties in the Hamptons and in New Zealand.
Farrow's book, Catch and Kill, is on shelves everywhere on Tuesday, Oct. 15.