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Matt Lauer Fires Back at Rape Allegation in Open Letter

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Amid a publicly unveiled rape allegation against him, Matt Lauer has spoken up with his side of the story. 

Ahead of the release of Ronan Farrow‘s upcoming book, Catch and Kill, Variety obtained a copy of the book and reported on an allegation in it against the former Today co-anchor from Brooke Nevils. According to Variety, Nevils accused Lauer of anally raping her in his hotel room at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Per Variety, Nevils was in Sochi to work with Meredith Vieira, who was part of Today‘s Olympics coverage that year, and she and Nevils were allegedly at a hotel bar one night when they ran into Lauer and he joined them.

According to Nevils’ account, reported by Variety, she allegedly had six shots of vodka and went to Lauer’s room twice, once to get her press credential back after, according to her, Lauer jokingly took it, and again after his invite. In his hotel room, she alleged, according to Variety, Lauer pushed her against the door and kissed her and pushed her onto the bed, allegedly “flipping her over, asking if she liked anal sex,” Farrow wrote of Nevils’ account. “She said that she declined several times.”

Citing Nevils’ account, Farrow wrote she “was in the midst of telling him she wasn’t interested again when he ‘just did it’…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.” According to Nevils’ account in the book, per Variety, the then-anchor allegedly asked her if she liked it and she told him yes. The author wrote she allegedly “bled for days.”

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

According to the book, per Variety, the two had additional sexual encounters in New York City. Nevils was allegedly scared about control Lauer had over her career, according to Variety‘s report of the book. Nevils allegedly told people about their situation after it ended, including colleagues and superiors. Nevils told Farrow she shared her story with Vieira in the fall of 2017 and Vieira allegedly told her to go to human resources with a lawyer. On the morning of Nov. 29, 2017, just over a day after she did so, it was announced that Lauer had been terminated from NBC News following a complaint regarding then-publicly unspecified inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. 

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

“The first time we learned about Matt Lauer’s sexual misconduct in the workplace was the night of November 27, 2017 and he was fired in 24 hours. Any suggestion that we knew prior to that evening, paid any ‘hush money,’ or tried to cover up any aspect of Lauer’s appalling behavior is absolutely false,” an NBC News spokesperson said in a statement. “NBCU’s legal team has done an exhaustive search of available records and conducted dozens of interviews of past and present staff, and uncovered no claims or settlements relating to allegations of inappropriate conduct by Matt Lauer that pre-date his firing. Only following his termination did we reach agreements with two women who had come forward for the very first time and those women have always been free to share their stories about Lauer with anyone they choose.”

James Devaney/GC Images)

In a newly released, lengthy open letter, Lauer defended himself publicly against the allegation, shared his account of the night in question and explained remaining mostly silent for the past two years. “Despite my desire to set the record straight and confront the individuals making false allegations, I wanted nothing less than to create more headlines my kids would read and a new gathering of photographers at the end of our driveway.  So I decided to just stay quiet and work on repairing my relationship with the people I love. It has been the most important full-time job I have ever had. But my silence has been a mistake. Today, nearly two years after I was fired by NBC, old stories are being recycled, titillating details are being added, and a dangerous and defamatory new allegation is being made. All are being spread as part of a promotional effort to sell a book. It’s outrageous. So, after not speaking out to protect my children, it is now with their full support I say ‘enough,'” Lauer began his letter. “In a new book, it is alleged that an extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter I have previously admitted having, was in fact an assault. It is categorically false, ignores the facts and defies common sense.” 

The former co-anchor asserted in his letter that he and Nevils began their affair after she went to his hotel room that night in Sochi, when, according to his account, they allegedly had oral, anal and vaginal sex. According to Lauer, “each act was mutual and completely consensual.”

 

Lauer wrote there was “absolutely nothing” aggressive about their Sochi encounter and claimed Nevils “did not do or say anything to object. She certainly did not cry.” Lauer described Nevils as being an allegedly “fully enthusiastic and willing partner.” “At no time did she behave in a way that made it appear she was incapable of consent,” he wrote. “She seemed to know exactly what she wanted to do.” Lauer further alleged, “The only concern she expressed was that someone might see her leaving my room. She embraced me at the door as she left.”

Per Lauer’s account, the two continued to have sexual encounters in the following months and communicated by text and phone. “At no time, during or after her multiple visits to my apartment, did she express in words or actions any discomfort with being there, or with our affair,” he claimed. Lauer also alleged she “went out of her way” to see him in his dressing room at work and they had a sexual encounter on one of those occasions. “It showed terrible judgment on my part, but it was completely mutual and consensual,” he alleged. In response to Nevils’ claim she was scared of the control he had over her career, Lauer noted Nevils never worked for him during their relationship and he did not review her work.

Matt Lauer, 2014 Sochi Olympics

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Lauer said he “simply stopped communicating” with Nevils to end their affair and suggested she made false accusations against him because she was upset or had second thoughts. After, Lauer wrote they saw each other “more than a dozen times” at professional gatherings and alleged “she always went out of her way to greet me warmly and engage in conversation.” He said he first learned she had a complaint when he was called in to speak with an NBC attorney on Nov. 28, 2017, but was never told at that meeting of her Sochi allegation. 

Toward the end of his open letter, Lauer questioned Nevils’ alleged actions and claimed her story is “filled with contradictions,” including his claim that she called to rekindle their relationship after it was over and her earlier request to remain anonymous before coming forward publicly in Ronan’s book. After allegedly shopping her own book, “now she is making outrageous and false accusations to help sell a different book and stepping into the spotlight to cause as much damage as she can,” Lauer charged. 

Before concluding, Lauer denied ever having a button in his office that could lock the door from the inside, a subject of reports after his firing. “It would have been impossible to confine anyone in my office, for any purpose, and I have never attempted to make anyone feel as if they were confined in my office,” he wrote. “I have never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex. Period.”

Addressing past allegations against him more broadly, Lauer added, “For two years, the women with whom I had extramarital relationships have abandoned shared responsibility, and instead, shielded themselves from blame behind false allegations. They have avoided having to look a boyfriend, husband, or a child in the eye and say, ‘I cheated.’ They have done enormous damage in the process. And I will no longer provide them the shelter of my silence.”

Lauer’s full letter can be read here. E! News has reached out to Nevils’ attorney for comment. 

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)





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Shows Baby Bump As Pregnancy Moves Along – HollywoodLife

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Erica Mena s continuing to slay her pregnancy fashion as her baby bump grows. She rocked a plunging tight dress in a new photo where she looked absolutely stunning.

Hot mama to be alert! Erica Mena isn’t letting a growing baby bump cramp her amazing style. The 31-year-old accentuated it in a new outfit, and she shared the pic of her sexy dress to her Instagram on Oct. 22. The new Mrs. Safaree Samuels wore a skin-tight pale yellow dress with a plunging neckline to show off plenty of pregnancy cleavage. The bra-like top of the dress even featured cutouts under her breasts where she flaunted plenty of skin. She’s clearly feeling super body positive as her baby girl grows inside of her.

The dress was sheer but with a layer of fabric underneath that grazed her upper thighs while the rest of the knee-length frock allowed for her gorgeous legs to be seen. It looks like Love & Hip-Hop: New York star Erica might have taken a page out of the fashion book Kim Kardashian, 39, mastered during her 2015 pregnancy with son Saint West, now three. While her dress was tight and sexy, she wore a copper-colored duster jacket over it to only show off the front of her body.

So far Erica doesn’t seem to have issues with swollen feet or ankles, because her footwear was fab in the photo. She wore clear plastic heels with large ankle straps, and the look showed off her perfect red pedicure. That also matched her bright red nails as Erica is keeping up her glam during her pregnancy. She wore her hair in loose waves and had a flawless face of makeup on.

“2019 Scorpio season starts Tomorrow. Let’s get this the serious slay baby girl,” Erica captioned the photo. Her 32nd birthday is on Nov. 8 and her zodiac sign begins on Oct. 23. While other Scorpios responded with “Yassss!” comments, others couldn’t get over how gorgeous Erica looked. User mrs.lateenatwe wrote, “U are slaying this pregnancy 🤰🏾 💕😍,” while sharper2952 added, “STUNNING. SO HAPPY FOR YOU. YOU DESERVE IT ALL. SAFAREE IS YOUR SOUL MATE😍😍😍❤️❤️.” The couple announced Erica’s pregnancy on Oct. 1 and on Oct. 7 they secretly married. Their wedding will be seen on the upcoming 10th season of Love & Hip-Hop: New York, as cameras from the show were reportedly present for the nuptials.





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‘For Colored Girls’ Review: Ntozake Shange’s Women Endure

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Their individuality was always undeniable. But in their latest appearance on a New York stage, it’s clear that their combined strength is what has made these women so vital, so enduring.

There are, technically, seven title characters in “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” Ntozake Shange’s milestone work of theater from the mid-1970s. But in Leah C. Gardiner’s loving, collective embrace of a revival, which opened Tuesday at the Public Theater, seven also equals one.

Such mathematics are of course essential to any ensemble performance, where interdependence is a given. Yet the team of actresses here, channeling what Shange called a choreopoem, takes onstage symbiosis to a radiant new level of both reliance and defiance.

Their lyrical soliloquies may find their characters in extremis. But don’t ever think that they’re helpless in their vulnerability. These women always, but always, have one another’s backs.

And as you watch a show that begins tentatively but keeps swelling in confidence, you realize that their number isn’t limited to seven, or more than twice that, if you count the all-female creative team. Legions of unseen others stand behind them. That includes the many actresses who played these parts in earlier productions, the women who inspired their stories and the female relatives of the cast members, whose faces are printed on their dresses, created by Toni-Leslie James. And of course, Shange herself, who died a year ago and who contained multitudes.

“Colored Girls” was one of the most unexpected theater hits to emerge from the chaotic 1970s. First performed in bars and clubs, it found a more fixed home in New York’s Henry Street Settlement Theater, before moving to the Public Theater in 1976 and then, in short order, to Broadway, where it ran for 742 performances.

Mainstream theatergoers had seen nothing like it. Shange’s free-form text was neither linear nor literal in its depiction of black women struggling to claim their own voices from a society that had either ignored or actively silenced them. “Bein’ alive and bein’ a woman and bein’ colored,” as one character says, “is a metaphysical dilemma I haven’t conquered yet.”

Often they spoke in lush and startling metaphors — about the confusions of girlhood, the salvation of music and, above all, the men who used and abused them — and moved with hypnotic urgency. (“We gotta dance to keep from dyin’,” one says.) They were identified only by the hues of the dresses they wore, as in Lady in Red and Lady in Purple. And the term “colored girls” was neatly sprung from any patronizing racial context.

Despite the rich specificity of its language, the play has proved surprisingly malleable in subsequent adaptations, which include a starry 2010 film by Tyler Perry. The last time I saw “Colored Girls” onstage — in 1995, with Shange directing — the palette of names had been changed (to shades like aqua and rose), and there were references to newly topical subjects, including AIDS.

Gardiner’s version dispenses with those revisions. The text used here rearranges some of the original material. Other poems by Shange have been added and set to sensuous music by Martha Redbone, hauntingly sung by the siren-voiced Sasha Allen, as the Lady in Blue.

But what’s most striking about this incarnation, which is choreographed by Camille A. Brown, is its pervasive sense of women talking to — and being deeply invested in — one another, as if in an eternal support group. It’s a sensibility that starts with its circular stage (Myung Hee Cho did the set, lighting is by Jiyoun Chang), which seems to exert a centripetal force, repeatedly pulling the performers into a single huddle.

Not that the form of the individual monologues has been jettisoned. But while I remember “Colored Girls” as a series of vivid star turns, this version feels like an endlessly fluid collaboration. Some of the separate pieces have been divided, so that more than one person speaks them — or in the case of the balletically graceful deaf actress Alexandria Wailes, signs them.

The individual narratives, many of which were drawn from Shange’s personal experiences, are often dense and elliptical in their imagery. And especially in the early sections, meaning is sometimes muddled.

Other, later monologues land with an impact that shakes the house. They inevitably include the harrowing, climactic piece about a young mother in a disastrously destructive relationship (performed with scalding intensity by Jayme Lawson).

But I was also blown away by Okwui Okpokwasili’s declaration of independence to the unnamed lover who “almost walked off wid alla my stuff.” It’s a great, trenchant piece of writing, irresistibly insistent in its repetitive accusations. But Okpokwasili knows just how to calibrate its quickening cadences.

Throughout, you’re conscious of how all the performers — the others are Celia Chevalier, Danaya Esperanza and Adrienne C. Moore — are so completely there for the actress speaking. They snap their fingers and occasionally murmur in affirmation. If need be, they’ll step in to offer physical support, to prop up another woman if she seems overwhelmed or drained.

They more or less enter dancing, by the way, in a prefatory passage that has them stretching their muscles, finding their grooves and loosely establishing a common physical vocabulary, as if in a workshop. It seems fitting that the show’s exhilarating high point isn’t a single soliloquy but a great, luminous coalescing of everyone onstage.

This boisterous epiphany begins with one woman’s declaration, “My love is too delicate to have thrown back in my face.” The others join in, with a panoply of adjectives that define the incalculable worth of their love: It’s “too beautiful,” “too sanctified,” “too magic” to ever be taken for granted.

Their voices meld, their bodies tumble and tangle together. And sisterhood becomes a single hydra-headed, multitongued entity, invincible and indivisible. God help the man who dares to cross it.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf

Tickets Through Dec. 1 at the Public Theater, Manhattan; 212-967-7555, publictheater.org. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes.



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See Photo Of Her Darker ‘Do – HollywoodLife

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Kailyn Lowry once announced she hated ‘life as a brunette,’ but she’s had a change of heart. The ‘Teen Mom 2’ star dyed her hair multiple shades darker, and apparently, it won’t be her last time undergoing such a makeover!

There’s going to be another brunette on Teen Mom 2, and we’re not talking about a new cast member. Following years of dirty blonde hair, Kailyn Lowry, 27, decided to join the darker side! The MTV star debuted her hair makeover in an Instagram post shared on Oct. 22, which revealed her toffee-tinted brunette waves. Consider this dramatic change as a sign for big things to come.

“A woman who changes her hair is about to change her life 💃🏻,” Kailyn captioned the hair makeover post, and now we’re excited! Taylor Kline from Delaware’s Gem Beauty Co. salon was the hairstylist responsible for Kailyn’s new ‘do. Apparently, this won’t be Kailyn’s last time sitting in her chair! “@kaillowry went darker and wants to go even darker next time 💗😍💎,” the hairstylist captioned her own post of the MTV star’s hair. You read that right — Kailyn might dive deeper into the color wheel of dark browns for her next hair appointment!

Ever since Kailyn made her debut on 16 and Pregnant, she has been blonde — well, except that one time she experimented with brown hair in 2013. Kailyn wasn’t quite as happy with the results six years ago, because she tweeted, “I hate my life as a brunette! What was I thinking? On my way back to BLONDE.” Oh, don’t you just love how tweets age. But we think Kailyn’s new tresses look gorgeous!

BEFORE: Kailyn Lowry is seen here with platinum blonde hair at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York on Aug. 20, 2018. (Shutterstock)

What’s next after Kailyn’s visit to the salon? Well, the mother of three sees another baby in her future — with one condition. “No more babies until there’s a ring on this finger,” she tweeted on Oct. 20. So, let’s backtrack — new ‘do, and hopefully, a new man one day? That’s what Kailyn wants, because she also tweeted on Sept. 17, “I’m ready to be a wife & be w my best friend forever.” Kailyn has previously been in relationships with Jo Rivera, Javi Marroquin and Chris Lopez, and shares a son with each ex.





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