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Ronan Farrow discusses latest in Matt Lauer allegations

The investigative reporter shared the latest developments related to his book.

October 14, 2019, 2:28 PM

Ronan Farrow said his extensive, award-winning coverage of sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men stems from a personal place.

During a Monday appearance on "The View," Farrow said his sister Dylan Farrow's experience publicly alleging sexual abuse by her adoptive father, Woody Allen, led him to a clearer appreciation of what women go through when coming forward.

Farrow said his sister's story "inspired me and helped me understand."

Allen, who is estranged from both Ronan and Dylan Farrow, has always denied the allegations made by Dylan Farrow that he sexually abused her when she was a child. Allen was investigated on child molestation claims for the alleged incident in Connecticut in the 1990s, but prosecutors decided not to charge him.

In his book, "Catch and Kill," Farrow presents his account of reporting allegations of sexual misconduct by former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and offers new allegations concerning former NBC "Today" anchor Matt Lauer.

Touching on a number of different aspects in the book, Farrow appeared on "The View" Monday and discussed what allegedly happened between Lauer and Brooke Nevils, a former producer at NBC who accused Lauer of rape during a sexual encounter.

According to Farrow's reporting, Nevils alleges that after a night of drinking at the hotel bar in Sochi, Russia, during the 2014 Olympics, Nevils went to Lauer's room to first retrieve her press credentials, and on a second trip to his room, Lauer, who was wearing a T-shirt and boxers, pushed her against the door and kissed her, pushed her onto the bed and asked if she wanted to have anal sex. Farrow wrote that Nevils said she was too drunk to give consent and that she "declined several times" and "she was in the midst of telling him she wasn't interested again when he 'just did it.'"

"She said 'no' to a very brutal and violent act," Farrow said on "The View" of what Nevils claimed.

PHOTO: Ronan Farrow appears on The View, Oct. 14, 2019, in New York.
Ronan Farrow appears on The View, Oct. 14, 2019, in New York.
Lou Rocco/Walt Disney Television

Both she and Lauer have acknowledged that they had a subsequent sexual encounters after their first in Sochi, but they described those differently.

"She has been clear in saying that [it] was not an affair. That was her struggling to get out of a toxic situation," Farrow said of Nevils on "The View."

Lauer released an open letter last week saying he and Nevils "engaged in a variety of sexual acts [that night in Sochi]. We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual. … She was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner."

Nevils issued her own statement to NBC News in response to Lauer's letter, writing that "his open letter was a case study in victim blaming."

"I am not afraid of him now regardless of his threats, bullying, and the shaming and predatory tactics I knew he would and now has tried to use against me," she said in the statement.

On "The View," Farrow said the situation involving Lauer and Nevils "represents an ongoing cover-up culture that we see way beyond NBC."

"If companies continue to silence people, predators stay at companies," Farrow said, touching on the concept of non-disclosure agreements, which require signors to not speak on certain topics.

In the book, Farrow alleged that NBC had multiple non-disclosure agreements with women who had alleged sexual misconduct, including some involving Lauer completed before Nevils went to human resources with her complaint.

In a memorandum to NBC News staff released Monday, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim challenged that assertion.

In the memo, Oppenheim says that contrary to Farrow's assertions, "there is no evidence of any reports of Lauer's misconduct before his firing, no settlements, no 'hush money' – no way we have found that NBC's current leadership could have been aware of his misdeeds in the past." Oppenheim asserts that the three employee separation agreements that Farrow seems to be referring to "involve employees who by their own admission made no complaint to management and whose departure agreements were unrelated to Lauer and completely routine."

As he has throughout his public appearances discussing the book, Farrow defended his reporting on "The View," maintaining that the book is "extensively fact-checked" and added that NBC was given the chance to participate in the fact-checking process.

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