Former Lauer colleagues Guthrie, Kotb address rape allegation: 'Disturbed to our core'

NBC's Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb early Wednesday addressed a new rape allegation against former colleague Matt LauerMatthew (Matt) Todd LauerWomen's advocacy group calls on DNC to cancel MSNBC debate after rejection of new Lauer investigation Former NBC hosts call for reversal of rejection of sexual misconduct investigation NBC-Universal rejects outside investigation of Matt Lauer MORE, with the current "Today" hosts telling viewers they are "disturbed to our core."

"I feel like we owe it to our viewers to pause for a moment," an emotional Guthrie said Wednesday morning. "This is shocking and appalling. I honestly don't even know what to say about it. I want to say I know it wasn't easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then, it's not easy now and we support her and any women who have come forward with claims. And it's just very painful for all of us at NBC and who are at the 'Today' show. It's very, very, very difficult."

Kotb, who replaced Lauer in 2018 after his firing by the network, added: "These are not allegations of an affair, there are allegations of a crime, and I think that’s shocking to all of us here who have sat with Matt for many many years."

In a new book, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Farrow details allegations that Lauer raped NBC staffer Brooke Nevins in Sochi, Russia, during the network's coverage of the Winter Olympics in 2014. Variety first reported the accusations contained in "Catch and Kill," which will be released on Tuesday.

Lauer vigorously denied Nevils's allegation in a lengthy statement to Variety.

"I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014. It began when she came to my hotel room very late one night in Sochi, Russia. We engaged in a variety of sexual acts. We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual," the Lauer statement reads.

"The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression this was an abusive encounter. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was absolutely nothing aggressive about that encounter," he adds.

In Farrow's book, Nevils claims she entered Lauer’s hotel room on two occasions in Sochi — the first time to retrieve her press credentials, which she says Lauer took as a joke, and a second time at his invitation.

On the second occasion, Nevils claims the former host forced her on his bed, "flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex."

“Lauer, she said, didn’t use lubricant. The encounter was excruciatingly painful. ‘It hurt so bad. I remember thinking, Is this normal?’ She told me she stopped saying no, but wept silently into a pillow,” Farrow writes, adding: "Lauer then asked her if she liked it. She tells him yes. She claims that 'she bled for days.' ” 

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

Nevils says she experienced more sexual encounters with Lauer after they returned to New York.

“Sources close to Lauer emphasized that she sometimes initiated contact,” Farrow writes.

“What is not in dispute is that Nevils, like several of the women I’d spoken to, had further sexual encounters with the man she said assaulted her. ‘This is what I blame myself most for,’” Nevils  tells Farrow. “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”

Farrow, 31, won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2018 for his reporting on sexual abuse allegations against former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.