Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb opened this morning's new installment of The Today Show with their reactions to a scandal that is both personal and professional:
A newly-reported rape accusation against Matt Lauer.
As previously detailed, a former NBC staffer named Brooke Nevils told Ronan Farrow for the reporter's latest book that Lauer sexually assaulted her in a Sochi hotel room during that city's 2014 Olympic Games.
According to Nevils, the ex-Today co-host (who was fired in November 2017 for sexual misconduct) pushed her down on a bed and asked if she liked anal sex.
Nevils then claims she said no, but Lauer ignored her declaration, didn't use lubricant and raped hre from behind.
“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils tells Farrow in his book. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
She said she "bled for days" as a result of the incident.
During the first hour of Wednesday's edition of Today, Guthrie and Kotb responded to this allegation while sitting side-by-side, the latter in the chair formerly occupied by Lauer.
"I feel like we owe it to our viewers to pause for a moment," Guthrie said.
"You know, this is shocking and appalling, and I honestly don't even know what to say about it. I want to say that we -- I know it wasn't easy for our colleague Brooke [Nevils] to come forward then. It's not easy now.
"And we support her and any women who come forward with claims. It's just very painful for all of us at NBC and who are at the Today show. It's very, very, very difficult."
As it turns out, Nevils was the one who issued the complaint in 2017 that prompted Lauer's firing.
Her name was kept secret at the time, however.
Shortly after Lauer was let go, a different accusation of rape was leveled against the disgraced star.
Kotb, for her part, looked back at Lauer's 2017 firing, which took place following an official complaint of inappropriate sexual behavior.
"I'm looking at you, and I'm having a weird moment that we were sitting here just like this two years ago, and truth be told, Savannah and I did a little prayer upstairs just before just to sort of sort out what we were going to do," she said.
Continued Kotb this morning:
"I think it's like you feel like you've known someone for 12 years, and I don't know if you guys have ever felt like that: You know someone, you know them, you feel like you know them inside and out.
"And then, all of a sudden, like, a door opens up, and it's a part of them you didn't know. And we don't know all the facts in all of this, but there are not allegations of an affair.
There are allegations of a crime. I think that's shocking to all of us here who've sat with Matt for many, many years. So, I think we're going to just sort of continue to process this part of this horrific story.
"And, as you said, you know, our thoughts are with Brooke. It's not easy what she did to come forward. It's not easy at all."
Guthrie concluded by saying "we're disturbed to our core" and pledged to keep viewers informed of any new developments.
Lauer, for his part, broke a lengthy silence in order to respond to this rape allegation.
"I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014," he said, citing the night in question and stating:
"We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual."
Lauer later said in his statement: "I have never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period."
NBC News, meanwhile, told Variety the following on Wednesday:
"Matt Lauer's conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time.That's why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague."