Another powerful media personality has been accused of directing inappropriate sexual advances toward a colleague. This time, the accused is NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and the accuser is former correspondent Linda Vester.
According to Vester, as reported by Variety and the Washington Post, the alleged “misbehavior” happened in the 1990s, when Vester was in her 20s, on two occasions in two separate locations, Denver and New York. She said Brokaw made “inappropriate overtures” about “having an affair,” and even tried to kiss her.
Brokaw has categorically denied anything inappropriate happened at any time. In a statement, the longtime anchor said: “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.”
Vester, who was one of two women quoted in the Post story accusing Brokaw of inappropriate behavior, told a very different tale: “We were in the Denver bureau, and there was a conference room. I’m standing there, and Tom Brokaw enters through the door and grabs me from behind and proceeds to tickle me up and down my waist … (Others were present) but no one acted like anything wrong was happening … He was the most powerful man at the network, and I was the most junior person …”
On another occasion, Vester alleges, Brokaw went even further over the line. She was in her hotel room when Brokaw announced he was coming up: “He grabbed me behind my neck and tried to force me to kiss him … I was shocked to feel the amount of force and his full strength on me.”
Vester later left NBC to work at Fox News, leaving that network in 2006. When asked why she waited so long to tell her story, Vester said she had decided to keep quiet but was inspired by the case of Matt Lauer, who was forced out of the “Today Show” and of his powerful role at the network when multiple women made allegations of his sexually inappropriate behavior.
Lauer admitted “acting inappropriately,” but he has said he never coerced anyone.
Brokaw, for his part, has denied any of Vester’s allegations ever took place in any fashion. With no witnesses coming forward, and no one willing to bend on their version of events, it looks like people will be left to make up their own minds who they believe … at least for now.