[Editor’s Note: Since publishing the below story, Matt Lauer has issued a lengthy response denying the accusations. You can read his full response at Variety.]
When former NBC anchor Matt Lauer was fired from the network and his gig on “Today” in November 2017, a widely circulated memo from NBC brass owed the sacking to alleged “inappropriate sexual behavior” that had been reported by another NBC employee mere hours before. In the days that followed, more details were revealed about Lauer’s alleged misdeeds, running the gamut from gifting sex toys to colleagues to exposing himself to another staffer.
Yet the original complaint, which alleged that Lauer behaved inappropriately towards towards a fellow NBC employee in a sexual manner for several months, starting at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, remained mostly vague in the weeks that followed.
Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book “Catch and Kill,” which mostly focuses on his investigation of Harvey Weinstein, also includes new details about Lauer’s alleged misconduct, including an interview with Lauer’s original accuser herself. Variety reports that the “most explosive interview in the book is with Brooke Nevils, the former NBC News employee” whose complaint against Lauer was directly referred to in the original firing memo. Farrow’s interview with Nevils, however, paints a picture that goes far beyond acts of “inappropriate sexual behavior” and alleges that the network long knew about the complaints against Lauer.
Per Variety, in “Catch and Kill,” Nevils “alleges that at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room.” At the time, Nevils was working with former “Today” co-anchor Meredith Vieira on Olympics coverage and, “one night over drinks with Vieira at the hotel bar where the NBC News team was staying, they ran into Lauer, who joined them. At the end of the night, Nevils, who'd had six shots of vodka, ended up going to Lauer's hotel room twice — once to retrieve her press credential, which Lauer had taken as a joke, and the second time because he invited her back.”
Nevils told Farrow that during the second visit to Lauer’s room, the former anchor “pushed her against the door and kissed her. He then pushed her onto the bed, ‘flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex,’ Farrow wrote. ‘She said that she declined several times.'”
Farrow writes that Nevils repeatedly told Lauer that she was not interested and that he “just did it” and “the encounter was excruciatingly painful.” The former NBC employee told Farrow, “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent. It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn't want to have anal sex.”
After the alleged rape in Sochi, Nevils told Farrow she had more sexual encounters with Lauer. Farrow writes in the book, “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.” Nevils told Farrow, “This is what I blame myself most for. It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”
In the months that followed, Nevils alleged she told multiple people at NBC about what had happened with Lauer, despite being afraid of the control she perceived the high-powered NBC anchor had over her young career. Nevils told Farrow that there were no repercussions for Lauer, despite her repeated telling of the story, until the fall of 2017 when “the post-Harvey Weinstein reckoning led former ‘Today’ colleagues to ask her about Lauer.”
After telling a “distraught” Vieira about the incident, the former anchor encouraged Nevils to officially go to NBC Universalhuman resources with her allegations. Lauer was fired soon after. Variety adds that, “though Nevils had been promised anonymity by human resources, [chairman of NBC News and MSNBC Andrew] Lack saying internally that the encounter had happened at Sochi limited the possibilities of complainants — and soon, everyone knew it was Nevils.”
Nevils went on medical leave in 2018, and despite telling Farrow she was not interested in a payout, was given a seven figure deal to leave the network.
Variety also shares that sources at NBC News say they haven't read the book yet and they’ve not responded to the outlet’s request for comment, “but they plan to defend the company's decisions against Farrow's claims.”
You can read more over on Variety. Farrow’s book will be released on October 15.
In the second excerpt from his new book, 'Catch and Kill,' he writes about a woman who used the name Diana Filip and got close to the actress as part of the intelligence firm's work.
The New Yorker on Tuesday morning published a second excerpt from Ronan Farrow's new book, Catch and Kill, in which the journalist details how Black Cube spies closely monitored him as he was working on his reports about sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, published in the fall of 2017.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
In the second of three installments this week on The New Yorker's website about the work of Black Cube, a private intelligence agency based in London, Tel Aviv and Madrid, Farrow writes about a woman who spied on Rose McGowan for Weinstein.
The excerpt starts in October 2016 when writer Ben Wallace, who was at the time looking into rumors of sexual harassment and assault swirling around the producer for New York magazine, got a call from a woman who identified herself only as "Anna," said she had heard about his assignment and added: "I might have something that might be of importance for you."
Describing their first meeting, he writes: "As they talked, she leaned in, conspicuously extending her wrist toward him. Wallace began to suspect that he was being recorded." After a couple of meetings and Anna claiming she had had a consensual affair with Weinstein, a suspicious Wallace stopped returning her calls, according to the excerpt.
Farrow writes that a woman looking like Anna also met McGowan using the name Diana Filip, who identified herself as the deputy head of sustainable and responsible investments at a London-based wealth management firm. They met at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills, and soon became close and met up regularly.
Farrow eventually reveals that the woman was actually a Black Cube agent named Stella Penn Pechanac, describing her and others' role as "trying to befriend sources and reporters on behalf of Black Cube."
Farrow writes that "McGowan began to let her guard down" and recounts how the agent eventually also reached out to him.
The child of a Bosnian Muslim mother and a Serbian Orthodox father, Pechanac "was born between two worlds and belonged to none," Farrow writes and explains how her interest in acting eventually led her to her Black Cube work. "For Pechanac, the job at Black Cube presented an ideal compromise: its operatives were trained to conduct psyops —psychological operations designed to manipulate a mark. Like the best actors, they were students of body language, of the tics that expose lying or vulnerability. They knew how to read those signs in others and how to deploy them convincingly themselves. They wore costumes and used technology straight out of spy thrillers, like camera watches and recording pens."
What did the agent think of Weinstein and the allegations against him? "Pechanac has said that she was unaware of many of the allegations against Weinstein during the operation,” Farrow highlights. And he quotes her telling Israel's Channel 12: "At the time he was really not a monster."
In last year's massive “Elseworlds” crossover event in The CW's “Arrowverse,” Ruby Rose officially debuted as Kate Kane, otherwise known as Batwoman. With the character's introduction, which occurred across interconnected episodes of The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl, viewers were treated to news that Bruce Wayne's Batman was nowhere to be found in Gotham City. The so-called “Dark Knight” was gone without a trace, leaving a power vacuum among the city's massive rogues gallery and those willing to stand up to them.
Almost a year later, the inevitable Batwoman spin-off series premieres this Sunday. Developed by The Vampire Diaries and Smallville alum Caroline Dries and starring Rose, it's the first of The CW's many, many “Arrowverse” shows to kick off the new television season. It's an obvious move by executive producer Greg Berlanti, of course, as the final season of the flagship Arrow show is also about to premiere. Someone needs to pick up the mantle first adopted by Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen, after all, and it seems that Rose's Kane is the right woman for the job.
As much as Rose shines in Batwoman's bat signal, her heroine faces insurmountable narrative odds and, sadly, isn't always able to rise above them judging by the two episodes made available for review. For starters, Arrow has been on the air since 2012 and, in the years since, has had plenty of time and wiggle room to help Berlanti launch his massive “Arrowverse.” Batwoman, on the other hand, is literally being shoehorned into the crime-fighting archer's position without the possibility or the luxury of so much time.
The real issue, however, arises for the same reason that I chose to begin this review with the show's Batman-is-missing plot device: Batwoman cannot escape Bruce Wayne. Or, put in a slightly different way, the new series doesn't really try to escape the Batman-shaped hole in its premise. Yes, it makes sense that someone with the means and the abilities would step into the vigilante's vacancy if necessary. And judging by the state of Gotham City in the pilot episode, it's completely necessary. The Lewis Carroll-quoting Alice Rachel Skarsten quickly proves to be too much of a handful for Jacob Kane's Dougray Scott private security force, known primarily as “The Crows.” A masked hero is needed.
The Batman plotline works as s setup for Kane's eventual transformation into Batwoman, of course, but this was already established in last year's “Elseworlds” crossover. And while the pilot should perform due diligence by referencing this fact, both it and the second episode, “The Rabbit Hole,” spend a lot of time unpacking Bruce's sudden disappearance, Kate's misgivings about his mysterious bachelor life and the apparent apathy of his masked alter ego. A few simple flashbacks or expositional scenes would have done the trick.
Which is a shame, because whenever Batwoman veers away from the Batman story and focuses entirely on Kane's, it shines like the best of the “Arrowverse.” It's no Legends of Tomorrow, mind you, but it's still quite good when it wants to be. This is largely due to Rose's performance. Her take on Kane, along with the aide of Dries, Berlanti, and the rest of the writing staff, smartly adapts the modern kernels of the character as laid out in Detective Comics #859 and Batwoman: Elegy. She survived a horrible accident that left her sister and mother dead and her father distraught. It also ignited a powerful fury for all things Batman, whom she blamed for the deaths.
As Kane, Rose successfully parses this backstory and brings it to life, along with the character's iconic origins as a West Point cadet who was kicked out for being a lesbian. For not only does Batwoman embrace this aspect of her character — it celebrates it. From her romance with fellow cadet Sophie Moore Meagan Tandy and their subsequent fallout to the pair's many run-ins in Gotham City, where Moore works as a Crow and Kane becomes a vigilante, Batwoman integrates the comic book source material's LGBTQ threads and embraces them fully.
This, along with Rose's steady performance as a brooding outlier ready for what comes with being a vigilante, is what Batwoman excels at in its first two episodes. Hopefully, as the season progresses, Dries and the creative team will work to tease out Kane's story beyond the limits of repeated origins and expand it into something wonderful and unique. Something that, as Arrow's looming departure suggests, will be fully capable of filling the void left by the chief “Arrowverse” series and informing the next major crossover events to come.
'Batwoman' premieres Sunday, October 6th at 8 p.m. on The CW.
Some Super-vision will clearly be required for Arrowverse fans when they watch The CW's upcoming “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event, which promises to be the largest assemblage of superheroes in a live-action epic in television history. That team-up will include no less than three once and future Superman actors and two of them — Tyler Hoechlin and Brandon Routh — met up Tuesday and, during a break from shooting, the Men of Steel posed for a photo in the Daily Planetlobby in make-believe Metropolis.
The moment was preserved for posterity see below on the Instagram account of Routh who wore the cape in the 2006 feature film Superman Returns,who was all smiles as he palled around with Hoechlin, who has been The CW's “local” Man of Steel since guest starring on Supergirlin 2016.Not in the photo: Tom Welling, the Smallville star who is also back in Clark Kent mode for the crossover.
There are other old-school screen superheroes back in action for the all-hands-on-deck crossover event, including Burt Ward, who portrayed Robin the Boy Wonder on Batman 1966; Ashley Scott, who played the Huntress on Birds of Prey; and Kevin Conroy the voice of the Dark Knight on Batman: The Animated Series.
The crossover will span December and January and string together episodes of five of The CW's active adaptations of DC Comics properties: Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman. The crossover will also include the title character from The CW's sixthDC series, Black Lightning, but will not invade that franchise's time slot.
The crossover episode schedule: Supergirl on December 8, Batwoman on December 9, The Flash on December 10, Arrow on January 14, and Legends of Tomorrow, also on January 14.
Actor Osric Chau is going from Supernatural to superhero. The alum of the CW’s longest-running sci-fi/genre series on broadcast television is set to join the Arrowverse for the forthcoming “Crisis on Infinite Earths” five-part crossover event, Deadline has confirmed.
Chau will recur as Ryan Choi, who is described as a physics professor at Ivy Town University. He is just a normal guy who comes to learn that he has a pivotal role to play in the coming crisis. The buzz is that he will be suiting up and shrinking down as the new Atom but it has yet to be confirmed.
The news comes after Deadline exclusively broke the news that Brandon Routh, who plays Ray Palmer aka Atom, would be leaving during the fifth season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. It was also announced that Courtney Ford, who portrays Nora Darhk, would be exiting as well.
The crossover event will take place over three nights in December and on one evening in January. Supergirl's episode will air Sunday, December 8, Batwoman's episode will air Monday December 9 and The Flash will help out Tuesday, December 10, while Arrow and DC's Legends of Tomorrow will round it out on Tuesday, January 14.
A Canada native, Chau is best known for his role on the CW hit series Supernatural, where he played Kevin Tran or six seasons. He also starred in the BBC America series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and appeared in Roland Emmerch’s 2012. Most recently he starred in and produced the indie drama Empty by Design from filmmaker Andrea Walter. The film which also stars Chris Pang Crazy Rich Asians, Dante Basco Hook, Desmond Chiam Now Apocalypse and newcomer Rhian Ramos is set in Manila and follows two Filipino millennials as they return home after some time abroad and find themselves drawn together through their mutual loneliness.
Chau is repped by BRS/Gage Talent Agency and Echelon Talent Management.
The CW is not quite ready to say goodbye to Star City.
The network is developing a spinoff of Arrow that would center three of its female characters: Katherine McNamara's Mia Smoak/Green Arrow and the Canaries, Katie Cassidy's Laurel Lance and Juliana Harkavy's Dinah Drake.
The potential series is set to air as a backdoor pilot in Arrow's 10-episode final season, which begins Oct. 15. Showrunner Beth Schwartz, Marc Guggenheim, Jill Blankenship and Oscar Balderrama are co-writing the episode and will serve as executive producers along with Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter of Berlanti Productions, which produces all of The CW's DC Comics series in association with Warner Bros. TV.
CW president Mark Pedowitz told reporters in August that the door was open to another spinoff of Arrow, which spawned the connected universe that also encompasses The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and the soon-to-debut Batwoman.
"Nothing is ever 100 percent done," Pedowitz said at the time. "You learn that over time. There's a possibility, but we haven't had a discussion about what that storyline will do asnext generation. There is another property we're looking at for the following season."
The CW announced in March that Arrow's eighth season would be its last. "This was a difficult decision to come to, but like every hard decision we've made for the past seven years, it was with the best interests of Arrow in mind," Schwartz, Berlanti and Guggenheim said in a joint statement. "We're heartened by the fact that Arrow has birthed an entire universe of shows that will continue on for many years to come. We're excited about crafting a conclusion that honors the show, its characters and its legacy and are grateful to all the writers, producers, actors, and — more importantly — the incredible crew that has sustained us and the show for over seven years."
The pilot order arrives as The CW is weeks away from launching the next phase of its Arrow-verse with Ruby Rose-led Batwoman. Pedowitz has been open about entering what he called the "next generation" of his DC shows. The younger-skewing network's current roster includes The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning.
For Berlanti, meanwhile, he currently has a TV-record 19 live-action scripted shows in the works and several more in development across multiple broadcast networks and premium cabler Showtime. The prolific producer continues to help launch new writers and program nearly two-thirds of The CW's full primetime lineup. Via his $400 million overall deal with Warners, he has clauses in his contract that provide bonuses for reaching a certain number of shows.
The Arrow-verse has become a network-defining brand for The CW, with The Flash ranking as its most-watched original series. The decision to do yet another spinoff from Arrow comes as the network is saying goodbye to the flagship as well as long-running staple Supernatural this year. Last season, The CW parted ways with critical darlings Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. With both of those female-focused shows having wrapped, The CW is leaning deeper into female-fronted programming with Batwoman and now this Arrow spinoff.
This is The CW's first pilot order of the 2019-2020 broadcast season.