On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
86°
Partly Cloudy
H 88° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    86°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 88° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    73°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 88° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    86°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 88° L 73°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Entertainment
Rape accusations against Lauer ensnare NBC management
Close

Rape accusations against Lauer ensnare NBC management

Rape accusations against Lauer ensnare NBC management
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File
FILE - In this April 21, 2016, file photo, Matt Lauer, co-host of the NBC "Today" television program, appears on set in Rockefeller Plaza, in New York. A new book by Ronan Farrow, a former NBC News employee who now works at The New Yorker, names the accuser whose story that Lauer raped her in a Sochi hotel room led to his dismissal. Lauer denied the charges in an angry and defiant letter released by his lawyer Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, and said that his public silence since his firing had been a mistake. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Rape accusations against Lauer ensnare NBC management

Two years after Matt Lauer was abruptly fired by NBC News for sexual misconduct, more questions are emerging about the former "Today" show host's behavior and whether bosses looked the other way at problems involving one of the network's biggest stars.

A new book by Ronan Farrow, a former NBC News employee who now works at The New Yorker, names the accuser whose story that Lauer raped her in a Sochi hotel room led to his dismissal.

Lauer denied the charges in an angry and defiant letter released by his lawyer Wednesday and said that his public silence since his firing had been a mistake.

Farrow's book said Brooke Nevils, a former NBC News employee who worked with Meredith Vieira at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, met her boss for drinks one night and Lauer joined them. Nevils said she had six shots of vodka and wound up going to Lauer's room.

She said that Lauer pushed her onto a bed and asked if she liked anal sex. Nevils said she declined several times, but then Lauer "just did it." She described the encounter as "excruciatingly painful."

"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."

In his letter, Lauer admitted to his extramarital affair with Nevils. He said on that night in Sochi that they consensually performed a variety of sexual acts.

"She was a fully enthusiastic and willing partner," he wrote. "At no time did she behave in a way that made it appear she was incapable of consent. She seemed to know exactly what she wanted to do."

He claimed they had an affair that lasted after they returned to the United States. Nevils described the sex as "transactional" and that she feared the effect Lauer could have on her career. In one case, she told Farrow that she had asked Lauer for help recording a goodbye video for a friend leaving NBC. He told her he'd do it in his office, and then demanded oral sex, Farrow wrote in the book, "Catch and Kill."

Nevils said she felt she had to do something to protect other women at NBC News, leading to her filing the complaint against Lauer in November 2017.

"Matt Lauer's conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time," NBC News said in a statement Wednesday. "That's why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague."

NBC said then that Lauer had been fired for "inappropriate sexual conduct." The specific rape allegation did not become public until Variety reported Wednesday that Nevils spoke to Farrow.

Nevils grew disenchanted with NBC, feeling bosses there weren't doing enough to protect her anonymity internally and mischaracterizing the relationship with Lauer as an affair. After some rough times — she said she was hospitalized for post-traumatic stress and alcohol abuse — she left NBC with a seven-figure settlement.

NBC Chairman Andrew Lack, in a memo sent to network staff on Wednesday, said the network hadn't known of Lauer's behavior with Nevils until the day before he was fired. An internal investigation uncovered no claims or settlements associated with allegations of inappropriate conduct by Lauer before he was fired, Lack said.

But Farrow indicated that Lauer's behavior was an open secret at NBC. He quoted Lauer's former co-anchor Ann Curry — who left "Today" on bad terms with Lauer — saying she had told NBC executives that Lauer "had a problem with women" and they had to keep an eye on him.

Farrow said he'd learned of seven claims of sexual misconduct raised by women who worked with Lauer. "Several said they had told colleagues, and believed the network knew about the problem," he wrote.

He quoted a former production assistant, Addie Collins, who told him Lauer aggressively pursued her in 2000 and "ordered" her to perform sexual favors. "She'd consented, but it had made her feel sick, afraid for her job, afraid of retaliation," Farrow wrote.

Lauer said that he had never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex.

In his letter, he said he ended his relationship with Nevils "poorly," but that "being upset or having second thoughts does not give anyone the right to make false accusations years later."

Her lawyer did not return a message for comment Wednesday on Lauer's letter.

Lauer acknowledged other extramarital encounters, and criticized the women involved for having "abandoned shared responsibility" for the affairs to shield themselves from blame behind false allegations.

"They have avoided having to look at a boyfriend, a husband or a child in the eye and say, 'I cheated,'" Lauer said. "And I will no longer provide them the shelter of my silence."

That statement is chilling and could be read as a threat by women who feel they are victims of Lauer's misconduct, said Linda Vester, a former NBC News employee who formed Silence Breakers Alliance, which tries to direct foundation spending for programs that combat sex abuse.

Lauer's letter was called "unbelievable" by Eleanor McManus, who co-founded the group Press Forward to support victims of sexual misconduct in the new industry. McManus said she was harassed by journalist Mark Halperin, who lost jobs at NBC News and elsewhere because of misconduct allegations.

"Lauer's statement demonstrates not only his lack of remorse, but his lack of understanding of sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement," McManus said. "Nowhere in his letter does Lauer acknowledge the power he yielded as a celebrity and the star of NBC's highest-rated show. The two people in the hotel room in Sochi did not have equal power."

Nevils' story was reported Wednesday on the show Lauer hosted for two decades. His former co-host, Savannah Guthrie, called it shocking and appalling.

"We're disturbed to our core," Guthrie said.

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A Florida man who prosecutors allege drove 900 miles to Virginia to kill his estranged wife ended up paralyzed from the waist down after his stepdaughter shot him, authorities said. Henry Frank Herbig IV, 65, of Pace, Florida, is charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding and breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, Virginia Beach authorities said in a news release. He is being held without bond in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center. Herbig's mugshot shows him lying in a hospital bed with a brace around his neck. >> Read more trending news  Court records from Santa Rosa County, Florida, show that Herbig's wife, Cathy Herbig, filed for divorce in June. The Virginian-Pilot reported that Cathy Herbig moved to Virginia Beach to live with her 31-year-old daughter. Virginia court records obtained by the Virginian-Pilot allege Henry Herbig, a retired, decorated U.S. Navy captain and pilot, drove to Virginia and broke into the women's home the night of Sept. 8. Henry Herbig was armed with a large wrench, the records said. The newspaper reported that around 9:30 p.m., Herbig's stepdaughter went outside with her dog and was accosted by her stepfather. Herbig forced his way into the house, where the attack continued as he beat both women with a large wrench. Neighbors witnessed part of the aftermath. 'My husband heard a scream and then a gunshot,' one of the neighbors, who asked not to be identified, told the Virginian-Pilot. 'Then we saw the older woman outside screaming, ‘Help! Help! Help!'' Police officers responded to the scene and paramedics took Herbig, his estranged wife and his stepdaughter to the hospital for treatment, authorities said. The newspaper reported that Herbig remained hospitalized for a week before being booked into the jail. Autumn Blackledge, the Florida lawyer representing Cathy Herbig in the couple's divorce, said both her client and her stepdaughter were seriously injured in the assault. 'She's on the mend, but her injuries were extensive,' Blackledge said of Cathy Herbig. 'It's tremendously unfortunate.' WTKR in Norfolk reported that Henry Herbig could not be transported to court for his Sept. 25 bond hearing. He appeared via video conference from his hospital bed in the jail infirmary. Herbig's defense lawyer argued he should be released on bond due to his condition, for which the attorney claimed jail medical staff are unable to provide adequate care, WTKR reported. According to the Virginian-Pilot, the doctor in charge of the jail's infirmary testified at Herbig's bond hearing that the facility would have to hire more staff to attend to the inmate's medical needs. The doctor said Herbig is paralyzed below the waist and has limited use of his arms. He is unable to feed himself and is at risk for bedsores, the doctor said, according to the newspaper. Prosecutors argued that, even though Herbig will likely never walk again, he remains a danger and a flight risk. According to the Virginian-Pilot and WTKR, they pointed to his considerable finances, his connection to pilots and his multiple homes, one of which is on the Canadian border. The prosecution also detailed evidence obtained in the criminal investigation, including a long to-do list Herbig had in his car pertaining to his alleged plot to murder his wife, the news station said. The list included using multiple cars to make the drive to Virginia and back, bringing gas cans along with him so he wouldn't have to buy any along the way, using cash instead of credit cards and having multiple cellphones so he could not be traced, WTKR reported. Investigators said Herbig had in his vehicle a murder kit including garbage bags, duct tape, zip ties and disguises. According to the news station, his weapons included the wrench used in the attack, as well as a wooden baton and a gun. The judge denied him bail, but left the matter open for discussion at a later date if the defense can find a secure medical facility to house Herbig, the Virginian-Pilot reported. The newspaper reported that Herbig's military records show he served in the Navy for 30 years before retiring in 2012. Before marrying Cathy Herbig in 2009, he was married for 25 years to Donna Vance-Herbig. Vance-Herbig died in September 2008 following a long battle with breast cancer, her obituary read. The couple had settled in Pensacola in 1987 after Henry Herbig was transferred to Naval Air Station Whiting Field near Milton. Henry Herbig's stepdaughter will not face charges in the shooting because she acted in self-defense, authorities said. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, declined to talk about the incident with a reporter, the Virginan-Pilot reported. Herbig faces 20 years to life on the charge of aggravated malicious wounding, according to Virginia law. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the breaking and entering charge.
  • Researchers from the University of Central Florida are working with a Kissimmee-based non-profit to develop a new kind of camera that could be used to hunt pythons in the Everglades. Hyperspectral imaging cameras captures wavelengths of light that can not be seen with the naked eye.   Professor Ronald Driggers with UCF’s College of Optics and Photonics explained to News 96.5 WDBO how the technology works. “Hyperspectral is a camera that slices wavelengths up into many bands, like hundreds or thousands of bands,” said Driggers. “We see in the region of 400 nanometers to 700 nanometers.  The hyperspectral that we used on the pythons sees from 400 nanometers all the way out to 1,100 nanometers,” said Driggers. Driggers says the camera sees beyond a python’s natural camouflage making the snakes more easy to locate. The camera can scan an area and immediately pick up a python slithering in the Everglades because of the contrast of light reflected by the snake versus light being reflected by the grass, leaves, and brush. For now, the cameras are being mounted on platforms on vehicles.  Driggers says his team has applied for state funding to mount the cameras on drones so they can cover more area. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is planning a major announcement about the cameras next month. Driggers says they cameras could be widely used in Florida’s python hunt next year.
  • Different people find different things romantic. A wedding cake recently made at Shady Maple Market in East Earl, Pennsylvania was the shape of a deer, sitting down. Cake decorators say it took ten hours to create the deer. The bride and groom came in with a pair of plastic antlers and asked the bakers to design a cake 'to fit the antlers.' The head and neck of the cake are carved from Styrofoam, but the entire back part of the deer is made from cake-- enough for 250 wedding guests. No word on why the unidentified bride and groom wanted a deer cake.
  • Taco Bell appears to be coming out with chips made out of their cheddar cheese. Instagrammer @CandyHunting posted a photo of the product packaging, and writes, 'New Taco Bell Cheddar Crisps in Fire, Mild, and Nacho flavors will be out in stores soon! I tried the Mild flavor. It was quite tasty.' The product will allegedly be available in stores like 7-Eleven and Target, but when they'll be released is unclear. Currently, the brand has different flavors of Tortilla Chips up for sale in retail locations. App users can see Taco Bell chips here. 
  • Walt Disney World’s newest transportation system, the Disney Skyliner, is back up in operation after experiencing what the park is calling a ‘system malfunction’ over a week ago. The cable cars stopped moving the evening of October 5th, leaving some guests stranded for hours. Since then, the gondolas have been closed, for nine days, while Disney investigated the incident. The Skyliner was spotted over the weekend moving, but without passengers, as they tested the system. Now, it’s open for guests again with hours between 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.  System updates later this week will result in modified operating hours, though, as wdwinfo.com writes: October 16-18: October 16: The Disney Hollywood Studios line will be closed while the other two lines will be available from 1 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. October 17-18: All lines will be open from 1 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Washington Insider

  • With bipartisan condemnation of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw a small group of U.S. soldiers from Syria, Congress returns to Capitol Hill on Tuesday with members of both parties denouncing the President, and lawmakers willing to approve sanctions on Turkey to slow its move into Syria. 'I thought you were going to defeat ISIS, that is why people voted for you,' Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tweeted to President Trump, as Republicans from all corners of the country have denounced the President. 'I urge the President to reverse his decision of removing our troops, and to send a strong message to Turkey,' said Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL). 'President Trump is a populist who wants to put America first and to the detriment of our allies and friends, people we’ve been associated with for decades,' said Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), who denounced Mr. Trump's decision last week, during an interview with KMOX Radio in St. Louis. 'I called my chief of staff in D.C., I said pull my name off the I-support-Donald-Trump-list,' Shimkus added. 'President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria is having sickening and predictable consequences,' said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Members of both parties say they want to quickly approve economic sanctions against Turkey, as a way to try to force the Turks to stop their push into Syria, and halt attacks on groups which had allied with the U.S. military. 'I will be working across party lines in a bicameral fashion to draft sanctions and move quickly,' said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who tweeted on Monday that he already spoken with Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  'The Speaker indicated to me that time was of the essence,' Graham said. But both parties said the President had started this crisis, by giving the green light to the Turks to move troops into Syria, while the U.S. pulled back, as Democrats were also livid. 'The President’s actions in Syria have made the world less safe,' said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). 'Donald Trump sold out our allies to appease authoritarian dictators, and paved the way for an onslaught of war crimes against the Kurds,' said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).  'The Turkish attacks against the Kurds are attacks against humanity, and our President is sitting back and watching,' said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). 'Our enemies - ISIS - are escaping while our partners - Kurdish & Syrian opposition forces - are dying,' tweeted Rep. Chrissy Houlihan (D-PA). 'We are seeing the results of our betrayal of U.S. partners, namely the Syrian Kurds, who were critical to the international fight against ISIS,' said Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), who worked at both the CIA and Pentagon.