The ousted Today anchor has strenuously denied the rape allegation, calling the encounter "consensual"

By Aurelie Corinthios
October 09, 2019 03:07 PM

Matt Lauer‘s former Today show co-anchor Ann Curry has spoken out about the explosive new allegation that he raped his former NBC News colleague Brooke Nevils.

“Brooke Nevils is a credible young woman of good character,” Curry — who has said she herself reported Lauer for sexual harassment on behalf of a colleague shortly before leaving Today — tweeted on Wednesday. “She came to NBC News an eager and guileless 20-something, brimming with talent.”

“I believe she is telling the truth,” Curry, 62, continued. “And that breaks my heart.”

RELATED: Everything We Know About the Allegations Against Matt Lauer

Ann Curry and Matt Lauer
Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire/Getty

The story broke early Wednesday morning, when Variety published details from Ronan Farrow‘s Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. In the upcoming book, Nevils alleges that Lauer, 61, anally raped her in his hotel room at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” she reportedly tells Farrow in the book. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”

Nevils says in the book that she had more sexual encounters with Lauer back in New York City, according to Variety, telling Farrow: “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”

Lauer, who recently finalized his divorce from longtime wife Annette Roquepenned a lengthy letter in response, claiming the encounter was “extramarital, but consensual.”

Matt Lauer
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

In Wednesday’s letter, Lauer, who was fired in November 2017 due to Nevils’ complaint, said the encounter in Sochi was the beginning of his affair with Nevils and “the first of many sexual encounters between us over the next several months.”

Lauer, who pointed out what he claims are “contradictions” in Nevils’ story, concluded by stating that he has “never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period.”

RELATED: Everything to Know About Brooke Nevils, the Emmy-Nominated Producer Accusing Matt Lauer of Rape

Curry has her own complicated history with Lauer. In April 2018, she told the Washington Post that she reported Lauer in 2012 on behalf of a colleague, approaching two members of NBC’s management team after a female staffer at the network told her she was “sexually harassed physically” by him. The NBC staffer confirmed to the Post that she went to Curry with her complaint, but remained anonymous because she fears retaliation.

“A woman approached me and asked me tearfully if I could help her,” Curry told the newspaper. “She was afraid of losing her job … I believed her.”

Curry said the woman implored that she not reveal her name to anyone and she obliged — but she did specifically name Lauer in her conversation with management.

“I told management they had a problem and they needed to keep an eye on him and how he deals with women,” she said.

Ann Curry and Matt Lauer
Peter Kramer/NBC/Getty

Curry, who reportedly has a non-disclosure agreement with the company, declined to name the management officials she says she approached. An NBC spokesman told the Post at the time that the company has no record of her warning and said there was no mention of it in Lauer’s personnel file.

After barely a year co-hosting Today with Lauer, Curry left the NBC morning show in 2012 — the same year she says she reported Lauer. Her exit was a painful ordeal that came complete with gossip-column speculation that her firing had been due in part to a lack of “chemistry” with Lauer and amid reports that he had played a part in forcing her out. (NBC sources have told PEOPLE falling ratings were to blame.)

In a statement read on-air Wednesday on the Today show, NBC News said, “Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time. That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”

His former colleagues, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, said on-air Wednesday that they were “disturbed to our core” by Nevils’ claims.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.

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