Ronan Farrow on Matt Lauer allegations in book: ‘Let the facts stand on their own’

The journalist and author of “Catch and Kill” discusses allegations made against the former “Today Show” host in his new book.
8:10 | 10/14/19

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Transcript for Ronan Farrow on Matt Lauer allegations in book: ‘Let the facts stand on their own’
Ronan farrow has earned a pulitzer prize and helped ignite the me too movement for his fareless reporting that helped bring down Harvey Weinstein amongst others. His new book, "Catch and kill," is full of really shocking and hard claims about how far people went to silence him from Weinstein hiring ex-mossad agents to spy on him to his own employers at NBC news telling him to stop his investigation. We got to warn you, viewers. This is really mature subject matter so if you have kids at home, now's the time to get them out the room. Yeah. We'll give you a couple of beats. All right. Welcome back, Ronan farrow. Thank you for having me on. Consistently at this table, tackling those hard subjects. Thank you. I really respect the hell out of that. Thank you. I was -- I think we have all just been engulfed in this, and we got an early copy, so thank you for trusting us. I want to thank you on behalf of all women in media. You're making it safer for us. Thank you, Meghan. It has been open season, and Abby and I came from fox. It has been open season for a really long time, and I know me and everyone I have talked to in this industry is really, really sick of it. I want to start, you're very brave. It means so much, and the people who are brave in this book are the sources, and whoopi is right. There is a lot of dark stuff in this book, but it's also again and again, I hope you found this a hopeful story about brave people saying enough. Enough. Absolutely. We have a lot to get to, but let's start with the allegations about Matt Lauer. It made a lot of news last week. NBC claims Lauer was fired in 2017 for, quote, inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, but in the book, you write that the alleged victim, Brooke Nevils' allegations are much more disturbing. I found them much more disturbing. She said she was raped. What does Nevils say happened that night, and for me, I keep saying -- I have been done with Matt Lauer since the way he treated Anne curry. And Anne curry is incredibly brave in this book, and speaks out about having reported another incident involving Matt, involving another colleague years before that firing. Yes. So this is about more than any one person, any one allegation. As serious as they are, this is about how systems of silencing and protecting sometimes enshrined in corporate and legal practices at a company shut people up, and that risks other people getting up. For Brooke Nevils, you're absolutely right. This was described in one way initially, and we talk in the book about how people were calling it an affair. Yes. There's significant evidence in the book that it was characterized as an affair at the behest of some people at NBC. Last week they were still doing that. This was not an affair which he alleges. The book is carefully fact checked. It's very fair to Matt Lauer, and his thinking is in there. What she claims is she said no to a very brutal and violent act and was injured by it, and, you know, it's been weaponized against her as in so many cases of sexual violence, she was in a situation where she's working with this guy, and she couldn't in her description get away from him, and there were other encounters that happened afterwards. That is not an affair. That's her struggling to get out of a toxic situation of somebody who abused her. Mat Lauer wrote a response letter. Mm-hmm. He calls the account categorically false, and says the sexual encounter with Brooke like all of his relationships was completely consensual. He says she was an enthusiastic and willing partner. He says, at no time did she behave in a way she was incapable of consent, and suggests she's lying about him in effort to sell a book. What is your response to that? I will let that statement stand on its own and say that as with everything else I report on, Matt Lauer was given a very fair opportunity for fact checking and comment, and his thinking and as you conveyed in the book loud and clear, I'm confident in the reporting of the book, and confident in the fact checking and I will let the facts stand on their own. Brooke Nevils' claims checked NBC felt they checked out and they fired him over it, and I think it represents an ongoing coverup culture that we see way beyond NBC that has been mischaracterized and she was paid seven figures this year to ensure she can never speak about NBC executives and what they did or didn't know about. They said they didn't know about Matt Lauer's behavior at all. You claim that NBC had multiple secret settlements and nondisclosures with women who alleged misconduct from Lauer years before this. NBC put out a statement today calling this, quote, false. They say the agreements you seem to be referring to involved employees who made no complaint to management and whose departure agreements were unrelated to Lauer and completely routine. They add, we have no secrets. We have nothing to hide. Do you have proof? There is proof and a paper trail in this book, and here's the thing. The nature of secret sexual harassment settlements, employed by Harvey Weinstein and NBC and a lot of people, here's a payout so you don't talk about Matt Lauer and these specific things he did to you. We know legally it's euphemistic. It's a payout for silence. It bans them from talking about the company and what it knew, and from protecting executives B you just about everyone involved said this was explicitly designed to shut up women with allegations of sexual harassment, and the risk there is if companies continue to silence people, predators stay at companies and more people potentially get hurt. Also that email was blast out to the employees this morning at NBC. They would rather you not be speaking anymore. They say that you have an axe to grind against NBC news. You had a show that was canceled there, that you were angry with them. How do you respond? Not even slightly. I had friendly relationships with all these people outside of the killing of the Weinstein story, and thought only highly of them, and the only reason I'm not there now is it became increasingly clear to me after this went down there was more than one story. There was a pattern of concealment and source after source came to me saying, they have been abused in this corporate context, and there were signs to cover it up. This is persistent in our profession and the media, and on CBS, and by the way, similar claims there. Axe to grind, smear campaign. I always get this stuff. Our shows were canceled at the same time. They were. We can always relate to that. I think you would agree too, I kept working for years after that. You have a pulitzer prize. I think we're done with that. Pulitzer prize. To Meghan's point, there's this conversation that they're attempting to focus things on which is, what did I have and when? That's my question because they're basically saying that your reporting -- that they refused to run your reporting on Harvey Weinstein because your story wasn't ready. They also said that you had no accuser willing to have their name used on the record at that point, but you say that they ordered you to stop the investigation. So look. The headline here is I took that same reporting they're talking about, and took it across the street to "The new Yorker," and a few weeks later, we did have this pulitzer prize-winning reporting that thank goodness sparked an impact. It stands on its own, and there were three named women during the time that the story was at NBC. No draft had fewer than two women, and I had a police recording of him admitting to crimes. I think the reporting stands on its own, but it is misdirection to make the conversation about the conversation is they ordered a stop to so much as a single phone call about the story. This book answers why.

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

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