Tom Brokaw facing sexual harassment allegations

Former NBC News correspondent Linda Vester has accused former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw of sexual harassment, according to reports by the Washington Post and Variety.

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 5:24 AM
Updated: Apr 30, 2018 5:24 AM

Tom Brokaw says he did not intend for this "rough draft" of a letter to be widely read.

But it was published on Friday -- an extraordinary defense of his character and a repudiation of the sexual harassment allegations made by former NBC colleague Linda Vester. He describes Vester's statements to the press as a "drive by shooting."

Brokaw, the former anchor of "NBC Nightly News," is one of the country's best-known journalists. He is currently a special correspondent for NBC News. He feels his reputation is being besmirched. And he believes he is the real victim.

In the letter, which was sent to several colleagues, Brokaw said Vester is a "character assassin" with a "grudge against NBC News."

"She has unleashed a torrent of unsubstantiated criticism and attacks on me more than twenty years after I opened the door for her and a new job at Fox News," Brokaw said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by CNNMoney.

Vester was a young reporter at NBC when, she alleges, Brokaw harassed her in the early 1990s.

"I was groped and assaulted by Tom Brokaw, then the anchor of 'NBC Nightly News,'" Vester said in a video interview with Variety.

Both Variety and The Washington Post interviewed Vester for stories that were published on Thursday.

The Post story was part of a broader examination of sexual harassment issues within NBC News.

Vester told The Post that she came forward because "NBC has failed to hire outside counsel to investigate a genuine, long-standing problem of sexual misconduct in the news division."

Vester's attorney on Friday reiterated this point in a statement written in response to Brokaw's letter, saying her client "observed that the company's response does not appear to be aimed at producing a safer and more equitable workplace for women."

NBC News chair Andy Lack told staffers in a note that "we take allegations such as these very seriously, and act on them quickly and decisively when the facts dictate."

After Today show host Matt Lauer was fired last year, Lack said at the time that an internal review was underway to determine "what happened and what we can do to build a culture of greater transparency, openness and respect for each other."

Lack said in his memo on Friday that the "review is nearing its conclusion."

Vester was a correspondent and anchor at NBC until 1999, when she moved to Fox News. She left Fox and the TV business in the mid-2000s.

Brokaw's Friday letter asserted that he played a key role in introducing Vester to Fox News boss Roger Ailes, who later hired her.

"When he got in trouble on sexual matters, not a peep from this woman," Brokaw wrote. Ailes, who passed away last year, left Fox News in 2016 amid sexual harassment allegations that he repeatedly denied.

Throughout the letter, Brokaw depicted Vester as a disgruntled ex-employee who left NBC "angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom."

"It is 4:00 am on the first day of my new life as an accused predator in the universe of American journalism," he wrote in the opening paragraph. "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."

The controversy has prompted Brokaw to withdraw his name on Friday as the commencement speaker at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

After the letter was published by The Hollywood Reporter and quoted by other outlets, Brokaw told CNNMoney that it was "a rough draft" and "I did not intend for it to be published in that form."

He said he had finished the final version "just in time to hear the draft was unleashed."

He did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

In the letter, Brokaw said "I am not a perfect person. I've made mistakes, personally and professionally."

But he said he "did not verbally and physically attack her" as described in the interviews.

Brokaw said, "I deeply resent the pain and anger she inflicted on my wife, daughters and granddaughters," adding, "I am proud of who I am as a husband, father, grandfather, journalist and citizen. Vester, the Washington Post and Variety cannot diminish that. But in this one woman piece of sensational claims they are trying."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 560450

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1167211690
Ramsey48313858
Dakota42928423
Anoka38965419
Washington25195274
Stearns21198219
St. Louis16926298
Scott16187118
Wright14964128
Olmsted1282897
Sherburne1072580
Carver993045
Clay787390
Rice7701102
Blue Earth704240
Kandiyohi631381
Crow Wing624286
Chisago554750
Otter Tail547673
Benton536697
Mower453032
Goodhue448572
Douglas446071
Winona439549
Nobles401948
Morrison397559
McLeod397255
Isanti382559
Itasca379053
Beltrami375457
Polk367967
Steele366214
Becker359448
Lyon349748
Carlton331152
Freeborn329629
Pine313821
Nicollet310343
Brown295639
Mille Lacs285450
Le Sueur273822
Todd270030
Cass252526
Meeker239137
Waseca231921
Martin215230
Wabasha20003
Roseau198319
Hubbard174441
Renville172943
Dodge17253
Redwood166735
Houston162714
Cottonwood158221
Fillmore15229
Pennington151519
Chippewa147537
Wadena145821
Faribault145519
Sibley137110
Kanabec133622
Aitkin129436
Watonwan12609
Rock123419
Jackson118210
Yellow Medicine111319
Pipestone110526
Pope10386
Murray10319
Swift100418
Marshall85817
Stevens83310
Lake78819
Clearwater78514
Koochiching77813
Wilkin77312
Lac qui Parle73922
Big Stone5764
Lincoln5613
Grant5528
Norman5229
Mahnomen5178
Unassigned48678
Kittson46822
Red Lake3877
Traverse3625
Lake of the Woods3073
Cook1480

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 359450

Reported Deaths: 5839
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56274608
Linn20392330
Scott19245236
Black Hawk15611306
Woodbury14960221
Johnson1415481
Dubuque13196203
Dallas1094596
Pottawattamie10804162
Story1035747
Warren559186
Clinton541791
Cerro Gordo524987
Webster508792
Sioux507873
Marshall477575
Muscatine463297
Des Moines443165
Wapello4255121
Buena Vista422140
Jasper408470
Plymouth398779
Lee369255
Marion355775
Jones293455
Henry286837
Carroll280152
Bremer279860
Crawford262840
Boone259633
Benton251155
Washington249850
Dickinson243743
Mahaska225750
Jackson218942
Kossuth213763
Clay212325
Tama206971
Delaware204539
Winneshiek194933
Page190721
Buchanan189031
Cedar185023
Fayette183541
Hardin181942
Wright180635
Hamilton178449
Harrison176673
Clayton167355
Butler162734
Mills159020
Cherokee157738
Floyd156242
Lyon155341
Madison154819
Poweshiek153233
Allamakee149351
Iowa146224
Hancock144234
Winnebago136931
Grundy135532
Cass135154
Calhoun133411
Jefferson131235
Emmet129940
Shelby129037
Sac128419
Louisa127349
Appanoose126747
Mitchell125441
Union123332
Chickasaw122715
Guthrie118529
Humboldt118426
Franklin113121
Palo Alto111323
Howard102922
Montgomery101537
Unassigned10040
Clarke98524
Keokuk95031
Monroe94528
Ida90133
Adair84832
Pocahontas84121
Monona81430
Davis79924
Osceola77116
Greene76710
Lucas75723
Worth7138
Taylor65412
Fremont6169
Decatur5919
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53624
Wayne52123
Audubon4969
Adams3314
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 44°
Mason City
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 45°
Albert Lea
Mostly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 50°
Austin
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 44°
Charles City
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 42°
Rain showers return for Friday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Aaron's Evening Forecast (4/22/21)

Image

Aaron's Evening Forecast (4/21/21)

Image

Aaron's Evening Forecast (4/20/21)

Image

Bulls defeat Grizzlies in Fraser Cup Final

Image

Bruins continue fight for playoff bid

Image

Aaron's Evening Forecast (4/19/21)

Image

Sean's Weather 4/19

Image

Mayo Clinic Doctor creates art for patients

Image

Electric car show

Image

Walk a Block

Community Events