Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw has been accused of sexual misconduct, Fox News reported.
Brokaw, 78, has denied the allegations, according to The Washington Post, which mentioned the news anchor in a piece that assessed NBC’s efforts to cope with the fallout surrounding the firing of Matt Lauer over sexual misconduct.
Linda Vester, 52, accused Brokaw of two incidents of unwanted advances that took place in the 1990s, one in which Brokaw allegedly tried to kiss her against her will.
She said that she did not report the incidents at the time because she was afraid of retribution. She said she is speaking out now in light of the Lauer episode.
“I am speaking out now because NBC has failed to hire outside counsel to investigate a genuine, long-standing problem of sexual misconduct in the news division,” she said.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Vester gave a detailed account of a January 1994 incident in which Brokaw came to her New York City hotel even though she did not want him there. She said she met only because she was afraid if she did not “my career at NBC would be over before it even got going.”
While he was there, he attempted to kiss her, she told The Post.
During an interview with Variety, she recounted this version of the events.
“He grabbed me behind my neck and tried to force me to kiss him. I was shocked to feel the amount of force and his full strength on me. I could smell alcohol on his breath, but he was totally sober. He spoke clearly. He was in control of his faculties,” she said.
“I broke away and stood up and said, ‘Tom, I do not want to do this with you. If I did, I would leave for London with a loss of innocence and I don’t want to go down that road.’ I had just been promoted to foreign correspondent in the London bureau. He sat there for what felt like minutes and he finally said, ‘I guess I should go.’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he got up and tried to kiss me again on the way out as he left,” she said.
A second incident took place in London in 1995, she said.
Brokaw, through NBC, issued a statement denying Vester’s claims.
“I met with Linda Vester on two occasions, both at her request, 23 years ago, because she wanted advice with respect to her career at NBC,” the statement said. “The meetings were brief, cordial and appropriate, and despite Linda’s allegations, I made no romantic overtures towards her, at that time or any other.”
Vester’s lawyer said she has no plans to file charges or seek damages.
What Linda is doing, like others before her have done, is to give her truthful account in the hope that other women will not have to endure what she did,” said Ari Wilkenfeld, her attorney. “Linda is literally seeking nothing for herself. She comes forward at her own expense and at her own peril. By her being willing to go on the record, perhaps this will embolden other brave women to tell their stories.”
The second woman making allegations against Brokaw was not named by The Post. The woman, who said she was a 24-year-old production assistant at the time of the incident, claimed Brokaw took her aside and made suggestive comments that ended with an invitation to visit his office.
“Even though I know I was not in any way at fault in what happened to me with Brokaw, I still suffered years of humiliation and isolation,” Vester told Variety. “I really do hope that by me telling my story and by shining this light, Comcast will understand why it’s so essential to hire outside counsel to investigate this deeply rooted problem.”
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