Linda Vester said Tom Brokaw made several unwanted advances despite her signals that she did not want to be involved with him romantically. She told the Washington Post that she is telling her story now because she’s frustrated with the way NBC News has handled the aftermath of Matt Lauer’s firing over sexual misconduct allegations.
“I am speaking out now because NBC has failed to hire outside counsel to investigate a genuine, long-standing problem of sexual misconduct in the news division,” she told the Washington Post.
Vester told Variety that Brokaw made his first unwanted advance in 1993 when she had just been brought on as a full-time correspondent. He grabbed her from behind and began tickling her waist in a conference room “out of the blue,” Vester said. At the time, she was not well-acquainted with Brokaw, who she described as “the most powerful man at the network.”
Then in early 1994, Brokaw invited himself to her hotel while she was in New York on assignment, despite her attempts to ward off his advances, Vester told Variety. When Brokaw showed up at her hotel room anyway, he tried to forcibly kiss her, Vester said. She resisted and told him she did not want that kind of relationship with him, prompting him to leave, Vester said.
Brokaw also invited himself to Vester’s apartment in London in 1995, she said. Seated on a couch, Brokaw put his hand behind her head to try to force her to kiss him, Vester told Variety. Vester said she broke away and told him to leave.
In a statement to the Washington Post, Brokaw denied Vester’s allegations.
“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.”
Another woman who asked to remain anonymous told the Washington Post that Brokaw also acted inappropriately toward her in the 1990s. The woman was a production assistant at the time and looking for a promotion at the network. She told the Post that when she arrived to work one day during the winter, Brokaw took her hands.
“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, adding that he then invited her to his office to discuss her job search. She did not go to his office and left the network soon after, she told the Post.