Ronan Farrow on Friday said that “multiple” Matt Lauer accusers had signed non-disclosure agreements with NBC “years before” rape accuser Brooke Nevils came forward with the accusation that led to his firing two years ago.
During a sit-down on “Good Morning America” to promote his new book, “Catch and Kill,” Farrow questioned NBC News executives’ public statements that they were only aware of Lauer’s behavior when Nevils filed a complaint to NBC human resources in 2017 in the heat of the #MeToo movement — and that the longtime “Today” anchor was fired soon afterward.
“There were seven non-disclosure agreements, multiple ones of those were with Matt Lauer accusers. This is years before this incident with Brooke Nevils,” Farrow told “GMA” host George Stephanopoulos.
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In a statement on Friday, a NBC News spokesperson denied that the network had previous knowledge of Lauer’s behavior. “The first time we learned about Matt Lauer’s sexual misconduct in the workplace was the night of November 27, 2017 and he was fired in 24 hours. Any suggestion that we knew prior to that evening, paid any ‘hush money,’ or tried to cover up any aspect of Lauer’s appalling behavior is absolutely false,” the spokesperson said.
“NBCU’s legal team has done an exhaustive search of available records and conducted dozens of interviews of past and present staff, and uncovered no claims or settlements relating to allegations of inappropriate conduct by Matt Lauer that pre-date his firing,” the spokesperson added. “Only following his termination did we reach agreements with two women who had come forward for the very first time and those women have always been free to share their stories about Lauer with anyone they choose.”
In an internal memo earlier this week, NBC News and MSNB chair Andy Lack wrote something similar, but when presented with Lack’s statement, Farrow said, “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 a paper trial, with documents — is that there were multiple secret settlements and non-dislosures being struck with women at NBC News.”
“But those were after the fact, weren’t they?” asked George Stephanopoulos. “The two non-disclosures?”
“Nope,” said Farrow. “Years before.”
Of seven non-disclosures before the firing, he said, “multiple ones of those were with Matt Lauer accusers.” He said he spoke to senior executives who said they’d heard of the earlier Lauer incidents.
Farrow declined to “answer specific questions” about whether or not Lauer spoke to him for the book, but said Lauer’s “thinking” is “fully represented” and the book was “extensively fact-checked.”