Over 60 of Tom Brokaw’s female colleagues – including Rachel Maddow, Maria Shriver and Andrea Mitchell – signed a letter in defense of the former NBC Nightly News anchor following sexual harassment allegations against Brokaw.
“As professional women, we fully endorse the conversation around abuse of power in the workplace. In the context of that conversation, we would like to share our perspectives on working with Tom Brokaw,” the 64 women – a mix of “producers, correspondents, anchors, directors, executives, researchers, personal assistants, editors and technical staff” – wrote in their letter.
“We are current and former colleagues of Tom’s, who have worked with him over a period spanning four decades… He has given each of us opportunities for advancement and championed our successes throughout our careers. As we have advanced across industries — news, publishing, law, business and government — Tom has been a valued source of counsel and support. We know him to be a man of tremendous decency and integrity.”
The letter comes one day after Linda Vester, a former NBC News correspondent, told Variety that Brokaw “groped and assaulted” her during the Nineties. Vester detailed numerous encounters with Brokaw, including one instance where he allegedly assaulted her in a hotel room.
“He grabbed me behind my neck and tried to force me to kiss him,” Vester claimed. “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.” A second, anonymous woman also accused Brokaw of harassment.
Brokaw told Variety in a statement provided by an NBC News representative, “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 meetings were brief, cordial and appropriate, and despite Linda’s allegations, I made no romantic overtures towards her at that time or any other.”
Friday morning, Brokaw penned a denial of Vester’s “sensational claims” in a lengthy letter that he sent to NBC News colleagues later reprinted in full by The Hollywood Reporter.
“It is 4:00 am on the first day of my new life as an accused predator in the universe of American journalism. 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.
“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. Instead I am facing a long list of grievances from a former colleague who left NBC News angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom.”