- NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw on Friday responded to allegations of sexual misconduct against him, in an email sent to NBC News colleagues and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
- Brokaw’s former colleague Linda Vester told Variety and The Washington Post that Brokaw harassed and groped her in the 1990s. Brokaw, through NBC, issued a denial to the allegations.
- Brokaw wrote in the obtained email, “I am angry, hurt and unmoored from what I thought would be the final passage of my life and career.”
- In the email, he described Vester as a “former colleague who left NBC News angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom.”
NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw hit back at allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by Linda Vester, a former war correspondent for NBC News, in an email sent to his NBC News colleagues and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter on Friday.
Vester alleged to Variety and The Washington Post that Brokaw harassed and groped her in the 1990s. She said that, at the time, she didn’t bring a complaint to NBC. A second, anonymous woman The Post talked to also accused Brokaw of acting inappropriately. Brokaw, through NBC, issued a denial to the allegations and said of Vester that he “made no romantic overtures towards her at that time or any other.”
In the email to his colleagues obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Brokaw was more forceful in defense of his conduct and in his criticism of Vester.
“I was ambushed and then perp walked across the pages of The Washington Post and Variety as an avatar of male misogyny, taken to the guillotine and stripped of any honor and achievement I had earned in more than a half century of journalism and citizenship,” Brokaw wrote in the email.
“I am angry, hurt and unmoored from what I thought would be the final passage of my life and career, a mix of written and broadcast journalism, philanthropy and participation in environmental and social causes that have always given extra meaning to my life,” he continued.
Brokaw, 78, called Vester in the email a “former colleague who left NBC News angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom,” with a “reputation as a colleague who had trouble with the truth.”
Representatives for Brokaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
Vester told Variety that Brokaw tried to force her to kiss him on two occasions and groped her in an NBC News conference room.
“He grabbed me behind my neck and tried to force me to kiss him,” Vester said of the first alleged incident in January 1994, when she was 28 years old. “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.” In the email, Brokaw said he kissed her on the cheek.
Vester also told Variety that when she asked what Brokaw wanted of her, he replied, “An affair of more than passing affection.” A year later, Vester said Brokaw again tried her to kiss him and that, when she pulled away, he asked, “Can you walk me to a taxi?”
“I emphatically did not verbally and physically attack her and suggest an affair in language right out of pulp fiction,” Brokaw wrote in the email. He called the allegations a “drive by shooting by Vester, the Washington Post and Variety.”
“My client stands by the allegations which speak for themselves,” Ari Wilkenfeld, Vester’s lawyer, said in a statement to Business Insider.
In an email to staff, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack wrote, “As you have all seen now in reports from last night, there are allegations against Tom Brokaw, made by a former NBC News journalist, which Tom emphatically denies. As we’ve shown, we take allegations such as these very seriously, and act on them quickly and decisively when the facts dictate.”