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Brokaw pulls out of university commencement speech amid misconduct allegations

Brokaw pulls out of university commencement speech amid misconduct allegations
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Veteran NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw has withdrawn as the commencement speaker at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, a day after allegations emerged that he sexually harassed two women in the 1990s.

John Petillo, the university's president, said in a letter to students, faculty and staff on Friday that he had been informed of Brokaw's decision to pull out of the engagement and that Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonApril's dumbest and most dangerous coronavirus declarations Trump convenes sports commissioners in hopes of filling stadiums Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief MORE, the head of the Small Business Administration, would take his place. 

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"This morning Tom Brokaw informed us of his decision to withdraw as our undergraduate commencement speaker," Petillo wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by News 8 in New Haven, Conn.

"Given events in the news, Mr. Brokaw did not want to distract from the intended and most important focus of the day — our graduating students and their families."

Brokaw's decision to withdraw as the school's commencement speaker came a day after The Washington Post reported allegations that he had made unwanted advances on two women in the 1990s, including former NBC News correspondent Linda Vester.

In interviews with the Post and Variety, Vester accused Brokaw of groping her and, on another occasion, trying to forcibly kiss her after he had invited himself to her hotel room. 

Brokaw has denied the allegations. In an email to a handful of NBC News colleagues on Friday, Brokaw said that he had been "ambushed" by a public smear campaign and called Vester's credibility into question.

"What was her goal? Hard to believe it wasn't much more Look at Me than Me:Too," he wrote, referring to the movement against sexual harassment and assault.