Matt Lauer penned a lengthy opinion piece, attacking Ronan Farrow’s journalistic integrity and reporting in his book, but his attempt to defend himself seems to have backfired.
In the op-ed, published by Mediaite, Lauer continued to defend himself against rape allegations made by former NBC News producer Brooke Nevils and also attacked Farrow’s book, Catch and Kill, which delves into the controversial case and highlights other prominent sex abuse scandals.
Lauer was fired from the Today Show after violating the network’s company policy by admitting to having a consensual relationship with Nevils. Two years later, in 2019, Nevils accused him of sexual assault.
In the op-ed, Lauer called the publicizing of the accusation “one of the worst and most consequential things” to ever happen to him and argued it was “outrageously used to sell books,” including a book by Farrow.
“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,” Lauer wrote.
He also argued that the media rushed to condemn him, failing to properly scrutinize the allegations against him. He blamed the climate of fear surrounding the subject for allowing Farrow to get away with “shoddy” reporting for the book, which recently received renewed attention after an article by the New York Times offered a critical—and very controversial—take on Farrow’s reporting.
“I’m sure he also understood that some people he referenced even indirectly in his book, who might completely contradict his version of events, would be too intimidated to step forward and correct the record,” he wrote. “Ronan knows, as well as anyone, that there is a great deal of fear surrounding this subject, and it would take an act of selfless bravery (some might say foolishness) for anyone to challenge him, or the story of an alleged victim of sexual assault.”
Lauer then launched a lengthy attack on Ronan’s reporting, asserting that he failed to fact-check, confirm stories, and provide evidence to support various claims. He goes on to provide examples of said journalistic faux-pas.
According to Lauer, Farrow failed to reach out to multiple sources to verify stories told to him by the alleged victim.
In one example, the disgraced news anchor pulls an excerpt from Farrow’s book that tells the story of how Lauer allegedly sexually assaulted the victim when she came into his dressing room.
“Crying, she ran to the new guy she’d started seeing, a producer who was working in the control room that morning, and told him what had happened,” the excerpt reads.
However, according to Lauer, Farrow never contacted the victim’s new boyfriend to verify the story.
“Did he ask that ‘new guy’ to share what he heard from Brooke when she allegedly came crying to him in the control room that morning?” Lauer questioned. “He did not. How do I know that? Because I did.”
Lauer goes on to explain that he contacted the “new guy,” who allegedly refuted the story altogether.
“That ‘new guy’ also told me, as I expected, that Ronan Farrow never reached out to him to fact check the story that referenced him in the book.” Lauer wrote.
The op-ed goes on to give other examples of Farrow allegedly failing to contact important sources but ends by asserting no one will hold Farrow accountable for failing to uphold journalistic integrity.
“How will Ronan Farrow respond to this criticism?” Lauer questioned.
Many Twitter users expressed the same sentiment: No one wants to hear what Matt Lauer has to say about anything.
Others tweeted graphic reminders of the allegations made against Lauer.
Farrow and Nevils also used the platform to respond to Lauer’s op-ed.
“All I’ll say on this is that Matt Lauer is just wrong,” Farrow tweeted. “Catch and Kill was thoroughly reported and fact-checked, including with Matt Lauer himself.”
Nevils used an acronym typically associated with those accused of sexual assault and misconduct, according to PageSix.
“DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender,” she wrote.