Friday, June 21, 2024

The Empire Strikes Back: Matt Lauer Finally Addresses Ronan Farrow Book, Ann Curry Scandal, His Exit from NBC


Matt Lauer has finally said something about his scandalous exit from NBC and the Today Show.

Indeed, Lauer has written a piece for the website Mediaite, owned by Dan Abrams, in which he picks apart Ronan Farrow’s reporting in the book “Catch and Kill.”

Lauer says he was going to publish the piece last November but certain events postponed it. Then this past weekend the New York Times media critic Ben Smith published his own scathing appraisal of Farrow’s book. That gave Lauer an opening.

Lauer not only pinpoints what he sees as journalistic and fact checking errors, he also refers to Ann Curry’s ouster from the Today Show and mentions former entertainment booker Melissa Lonner.

Lauer writes: “Lonner is also a close friend of Ann Curry, and both believed I had a major role in having Ann removed from our show in 2012 in what was a terrible chapter at Today that played out in the headlines. They both blamed me, and they did little to hide their feelings with people, both inside and outside the network.”

He stops short of denying that he campaigned to oust Curry.

Most of Matt’s piece is focused on Brooke Nevils, with whom he says he had a consensual affair. Nevils told Farrow that was not the case, and it led to NBC firing him.

“The allegation came from Brooke Nevils, the same woman whose complaint resulted in my termination at NBC. It was made public as part of the promotional rollout for a new book by Ronan Farrow. This accusation was one of the worst and most consequential things to ever happen in my life, it was devastating for my family, and outrageously it was used to sell books.

“At no time did Brooke Nevils ever use the words “assault” or “rape” in regards to any accusation against me while filing her complaint with NBC in November of 2017. That has been confirmed publicly. NBC never suggested I was being accused of such an offense when I met with their attorney on Nov. 28 of that same year. They have also confirmed that publicly.”

Lauer concludes: “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.”

I don’t know anything about Matt Lauer’s alleged sexual harassment of employees at NBC. It was common knowledge that he “fooled around,” but that was all. But no one could ever write that because it couldn’t be fact checked. And apparently, according to Lauer and Smith, it wasn’t.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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