Ronan Farrow on Matt Lauer’s denial of rape allegation

The “Catch and Kill” author speaks out on “GMA” after Lauer unequivocally denied a rape allegation made public by a former NBC employee in the book.
8:47 | 10/11/19

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Transcript for Ronan Farrow on Matt Lauer’s denial of rape allegation
he is awake and no broken bones. We turn to that new book from Ronan farrow. "Catch and kill" documents farrow's report on the Harvey Weinstein scandal and accusation of rape against Matt Lauer. He is here for his first broadcast interview about the book that already generated heated denials from Matt Lauer and NBC news. Linsey Davis starts us off. Reporter: His bombshell reporting earned Ronan farrow a pulitzer prize. Now in his new book he names names and reveals sources into his investigation of Harvey Weinstein. It reads like a Hollywood script. A high-staking game of whack-a-mole where they worked clandestinely to ruin reputation and intimidate whistle-blowers. In Ronan farrow's upcoming new book "Catch and kill," the investigative reporter details what he said were powerful attempts to stifle the reporting that ultimately sparked the explosive scandal and the me too movement. In August of 2017, farrow says he thought he had enough of a story including secretly recorded audio of Weinstein provided by an alleged victim willing to be named, ambra gut ear Rees. Why yesterday you touch my breast. Oh, come on. Reporter: He had an accuser in shadow, anonymous corroborating witnesses and believed he could convince some accusers to go on the record. But instead of airing the story or encouraging more reporting he writes he was told by NBC news executives to pause on all reporting, cancel interviews and according to farrow NBC news president Roh Oppenheim whentsed whether they were even newsworthy. I don't know what it proves. He is trying to get rid of her. Harvey Weinstein grabbing a lady's breasts a couple of years ago, that's not national news. Farrow kept going. Ultimately taking his reporter to "The new Yorker" magazine and told by Noah Oppenheim saying, right now we can't run with it. In a memo, chairman Andy lack maintained when he presented his reporting he didn't have one victim or witness on the record saying farrow simply didn't have a story that met our standard for broadcast then with the me too movement in full swing, another stunning fall. Good morning, breaking news overnight. Reporter: Matt Lauer fired for what NBC said was sexual the former NBC employee behind the complaint, Brooke Nevils spoke out to farrow for the first time accusing Lauer in graphic detail of raping her in a hotel room while at the 2014 Sochi olympics on assignment as Meredith Vieira's producer. In an open letter, Lauer adamantly denies the allegation saying it was mutual and completely consensual and calling Nevils a fully enthusiastic and willing partner going on to have several more consensual sexual encounters at his New York City apartment and his office at 30 rock until ending what he called an affair. Farrow says Nevils acknowledges the encounters and this week she responded to Lauer saying the statement was classic victim shaming and saying the shame in this story belongs to him. An NBC spokesperson told us Matt Lauer's conduct was appalling, horrific and represent presenceable as we said at the time. That's why we fired him within 24 hours of us learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague. George. Okay, linsey, thanks. For his first broadcast interview the author of "Catch and kill." Let's start out with that denial from Matt Lauer. He detailed an angry denial and calls your story categorically false and this was a consensual affair, the accusation of rape is defamatory designed to sell a book. We include his exact thinking without violating any ground we had strict rules about what we could reveal about what conversations we had with many of the sources in the book. The thinking of every person against him, a serious allegation made is -- Did you talk to -- Again, I can't answer specific questions but can say Matt Lauer's thinking presented in this letter is in the book and I think this young woman, this journalist, Brooke Nevils presents what I found to be a persuasive sponge. The facts of her case backed by documentation and eyewitnesses suggests that there was an encounter here, that she consistently has described as nonconsensual and says regardless of what happened before and after and how he interpreted it she said no to a physical act. If he were to say you didn't fact-check those claims? Extensive fact-checked as with everything in the book. Let's go into how NBC handled this as well. They say they first learned about this in November 2017. Matt was fired. We just saw that, within 24 here's what Andy lack said any suggestion we knew prior to that evening or tried to cover it up is false and offensive. And that they're saying they did something as soon as they knew. So, this is an important point, George. This is not what the reporting in the book suggests. We spent several years reporting this out, extensively fact-checking it. What we show in this book with the paper trail with documents is that there were multiple secret settlements and nondisclosures being struck with women at NBC. Those were after the fact. Nope. Years before. Over a period of six to seven years. A period in which NBC -- On Matt Lauer? -- Any settlements. There were seven nondisclosure agreements, and multiple were with Matt Lauer accusers years before this incident with Brooke Nevils and the firing and I spoke to senior executives who were told about those earlier With Matt Lauer? Indeed. When they say the first they heard about any allegations with Matt Lauer were after the fact, after November 2017? I'll let the facts in the book speak for themselves but I think this is difficult to believe when you look at the documents and records. Did Brooke use the words rape or assault when they went to We're careful about laying out exactly what happened. She unambiguously described a rape or sexual assault. She was not ready to use those words like many trauma victims and her attorney did in case like this where someone complain, asked a clear series of question that's list Ted answers without any doubt said this is nonconsensual and even stopped the proceedings to say this is nonconsensual. Nbcprevented you from finishing your reporting on Harvey Weinstein. They said it's not. I have to write my own book to show how Ronan farrow willfully distorts our interactions. You didn't meet their standards. I'm confident in the reporting in the book and let it stand on its own. The point here is not that we did, indeed, have multiple named women in every draft. We did indeed have a taped confession from Harvey Weinstein. The point is that they ordered a hard stop to reporting. This he told me and a producer working on this they we should not take a single call. They told us to cancel interviews. The question for years has been why because every journalist at that institution didn't understand why and I think the book answers that question. This was a company with a lot of secrets. Can their point bolstered by the fact it took another seven weeks to get it in shape for "The new Yorker." That's inaccurate. It was briefer than that. There was a month where "The new Yorker" green-lit the story and goat it out as quickly as humanly possible. The argument is not that there was no room to grow but that they halted reporting and this explains why. That is the big question, why. You lay out the suggestion that Harvey Weinstein was blackmailing NBC news. Multiple sources do say that and the way in which that's framed is very careful. All of NBC's denials are in the book. We fact-checked for many hours with them. That said, it is indisputable based on the NEFD this book that there was a chain of secret settlements at this company that were covered up with victims of harassment and assault. Some of them about Lauer. Some about others in the company. This was a pattern. It was concealed from journalists there and, George, that's bigger than NBC. It's bigger than these executives. These are not highly public the reason this reporting was important is because this is a pattern in media, in law, in politics, institutions that conceal abuse of this type let people get hurt and that's something we should care about Did they not allow it because they thought information about Matt Lauer would get out. That's what the documents in this book suggest. Stick with us. We'll have more on Harvey Weinstein's attempts to intimidate you and the spying on you. That's when we come back. Thanks, George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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