Ronan Farrow Says That Matt Lauer Is “Just Wrong” After Ex-‘Today’ Host Blasts Reporting In ‘Catch And Kill’

Matt Lauer
Associated Press

Former Today co-host Matt Lauer published a lengthy op-ed in Mediaite on Tuesday that blasts Ronan Farrow’s reporting for his book Catch and Kill, in which he writes about a former Today producer’s claim that Lauer raped her.

In his op-ed, Lauer cites specific instances in Catch and Kill where he contends that Farrow failed to talk to people who offered contradictory information to Brooke Nevils’ claims.

His op-ed also comes in the wake of a column by the New York Times‘ Ben Smith that criticized aspects of Farrow’s reporting.

Lauer wrote: “I believe Ronan knew his work on Catch and Kill would receive little in the way of scrutiny, from the very beginning. It’s the only way to explain why he was so willing to abandon common sense and true fact checking in favor of salacious, and deeply flawed, material. I also believe that some of Ronan’s sources felt they could make outrageous claims to him, knowing he (and thus their stories) would not be doubted.”

Farrow wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, “All I’ll say on this is that Matt Lauer is just wrong. Catch and Kill was thoroughly reported and fact-checked, including with Matt Lauer himself.” In a statement, he said that “we called dozens of corroborators around the Lauer allegations described in the book, and more than a dozen around Brooke Nevils specifically.”

A spokesperson for the publisher of Catch and Kill said in a statement: “Little, Brown and Company fully supports Ronan Farrow and his reporting in Catch and Kill.  Ronan’s dedication to a deep and thorough fact-check of his reporting, his commitment to the rights of victims and his impeccable attention to detail and nuance make us proud to be his publisher.”

Nevils’ claim centers on an incident when she and Lauer were in Sochi, Russia, for the network’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in 2014.

At the time that Catch and Kill was published last year, Lauer issued an open letter in which he said that while he had an affair with Nevils, it was “mutual and completely consensual.” Nevils responded with her own statement, calling Lauer’s open letter a “case study in victim shaming.”

Lauer was fired from NBC in 2017, after Nevils met with NBC officials and described his conduct. In his op-ed, Lauer claims that Nevils did not use the term “assault” or “rape” in her complaint. Farrow, though, told ABC News last year that she “unambiguously described a rape or sexual assault.”

Around the time Catch and Kill was published last fall, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack sent a statement to staff in which he said, “Today, some have questioned why we used the term ‘sexual misconduct’ to describe the reason for Lauer’s firing in the days following. We chose those words carefully to precisely mirror the public words at that time of the attorney representing our former NBC colleague.”

In his piece today, Lauer points to people he said that Farrow failed to contact even though Nevils claims she told them about the alleged rape or sexual misconduct. Lauer cites a passage in Catch and Kill in which Farrow writes that when she got a new job within the company at Peacock Productions, she reported what had happened in Sochi to one of her new bosses there. Lauer said that he tracked down Sharon Scott, who ran Peacock Productions at the time. She in turn contacted Nevils’ direct superior, Lauer wrote. The new boss said that Nevils “never said a single word about this being anything but a consensual affair,” he wrote.

On Twitter on Tuesday, Nevils wrote, “DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse, Victim and Offender.”

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