NEW YORK – Matt Lauer accused author Ronan Farrow on Tuesday of shoddy and biased journalism in his book “Catch and Kill” that included what Lauer says is a false accusation that the former “Today” show host raped a co-worker.
Farrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer at The New Yorker, said Lauer “is just wrong.”
Lauer penned an article published on the Mediaite website a day after an investigation in The New York Times suggested that Farrow, who won a Pulitzer for his work on the accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, was less than thorough in vetting his work.
Lauer, similarly, said Farrow had not corroborated several specific accusations against him in the 2019 book, “Catch and Kill.”
NBC fired Lauer in 2017 for an inappropriate relationship with a co-worker. In Farrow's book, that former co-worker, Brooke Nevils, said Lauer raped her in a Sochi hotel room during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Lauer denies the rape charges, and both he and Nevils said they had a subsequent consensual relationship.
“What I found when I read the book was frankly shocking, and it should concern anyone who cares about journalism,” Lauer wrote. “This is not just about accusations against the former host of the ‘Today’ show.”
Lauer noted the bad feelings between Farrow and NBC News, which declined to air the work he had done while at the network on the Weinstein story. He subsequently took his material to the New Yorker.
As a result, “he became a magnet and a willing ear for anyone with negative stories about the network and people who worked for it,” Lauer said.
Farrow tweeted a brief response to Lauer's lengthy piece: “All I'll say on this is that Matt Lauer is just wrong. ‘Catch and Kill’ was thoroughly reported and fact-checked, including with Matt Lauer himself.”
Farrow's publisher, Little, Brown and Co., said it fully supported the author.
“Ronan's dedication to a deep and thorough fact-check of his reporting, his commitment to the rights of victims and his impeccable attention to detail and nuance make us proud to be his publisher,” the company said in a statement.
Mediaite said that its editors checked with four people that Lauer spoke to for his article, and they all independently backed up the conversations they had with him.