Tom Brokaw accused of inappropriate behavior in the ’90s: reports
Legendary NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw is facing allegations of inappropriate behavior against two women in the 1990s, including a former NBC correspondent.
The women told The Washington Post in interviews that they experienced unwanted advances from Brokaw, including forcible attempts at kissing.
One woman who has come forward publicly, Linda Vester, is a former NBC News employee who says Brokaw, 30 years her senior, once invited himself over to her hotel room while in New York then proceeded to make unwanted advances.
“What do you want from me?” Vester said she asked him.
“An affair of more than passing affection,” she recalled him saying.
Brokaw went on to then attempt to kiss Vester, she alleges, which she refused, prompting him to leave. Vester says she relayed the encounter to a friend at the time, both before and after it occurred. The friend corroborated Vester’s account to the Post.
A second encounter with Brokaw happened a year later, she told the newspaper, but both times she feared reporting the incidents would end her career at NBC.
In an interview with Variety, Vester describes an initial encounter with Brokaw, which she says happened in full view of other NBC employees.
“We were in the Denver bureau, and there was a conference room. I’m standing there, and Tom Brokaw enters through the door and grabs me from behind and proceeds to tickle me up and down my waist,” Vester said.
“I jumped a foot and I looked at a guy who was the senior editor of ‘Nightly,’ and his jaw was hanging open. Nobody acted like anything wrong was happening, but I was humiliated.”
Vester described the encounter as “out of the blue,” as she was working for a different NBC show at the time and had no prior relationship with Brokaw.
Her attorney, Ari Wilkenfeld, also represents the initial accuser who came forward about fellow NBC anchor Matt Lauer with claims of sexual harassment.
Wilkenfield told the Post that Vester is not seeking legal remedy against Brokaw, and is telling her story at “her own expense.”
“Linda has shown incredible courage and conviction coming forward to share the details of her experiences working at NBC,” Wilkenfield told the newspaper. “She does so at her own expense and peril. She wants nothing for herself.”
Lauer, who was fired from the network in November, was accused by multiple women of inappropriate sexual conduct. Lauer’s career was one of many to be brought down by the “Me Too” and “Times Up” movements, which have sought to expose sexual misconduct by powerful figures in media and other industries.
Another woman who chose to remain anonymous told the Post that Brokaw grabbed her hands and held them against his chest when she was a production assistant at NBC News.
“He put my hands under his jacket and against his chest and pulled me in so close and asked me, ‘How is your job search going?’ ” she said. Brokaw later invited her to his office, which she refused, she said. The woman says she left the network shortly after the incident.
Brokaw denied Vester’s accusations and did not address the anonymous claim against him in a statement to the Post.
“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,” he said in a statement issued by NBC.
“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.”