Linda Vester, the 1983 Ursuline Academy graduate who covered the Iraq War for NBC News, has accused former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw of sexual misconduct 23 years ago.
Vester, now 52, told Variety that the incidents occurred in NBC offices in Denver and New York in the 1990s, when she was in her 20s. She showed her journals to Variety to back up her story.
Brokaw, 78, who hosted the “NBC Nightly News,” “Today” and “Meet the Press,” denied the allegations. He currently is a special correspondent for NBC News.
Variety reported:" In a series of interviews with Variety conducted over several months, Vester alleged that Brokaw physically tried to force her to kiss him on two separate occasions, groped her in a NBC conference room and showed up at her hotel room uninvited. Two friends who Vester told at the time corroborated her story with Variety, and she shared her journal entries from the time period. Brokaw, who has been married to Meredith Auld since 1962, has never before been publicly accused of sexual harassment."
Variety posted a video with Vester, who started her career with CBS News in 1985. She worked for NBC News from 1989 to 1999 as a correspondent, "NBC News Sunrise" anchor and hosting "Dayside with Linda Vester" on MSNBC. She worked for Fox News from 1999 to 2005. She married Glenn Greenberg in 2001, and they have four children. She operates the Smartmamas website.
Here's a partial transcript of her story from Variety:
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. I jumped a foot and I looked at a guy who was the senior editor of “Nightly,” and his jaw was hanging open. Nobody acted like anything wrong was happening, but I was humiliated. I didn’t know Brokaw other than to say hello in the hall. He was the most powerful man at the network, and I was the most junior person, reporting for an entirely different show. It was really out of the blue.
There was a culture at NBC News, in my experience, where women who raise questions about misconduct get labeled as troublemakers. It can torpedo your career. I already knew that, so I didn’t want to make any trouble. I had just been hired full-time, and I wanted to be able to do my job. I did my best to collect myself and get on with my work.
In terms of the next time I saw Brokaw, I can’t remember. But I know when he assaulted me, which was the first week of January in 1994. I was in New York on assignment for “Weekend Today.” I was preparing to go back to Washington D.C., where I lived. And I was sitting at a borrowed desk, when I received a computer message from Tom Brokaw asking me what I was doing that night."
Brokaw, she says, later appeared at her hotel door.
"He walked past me and sat down on the sofa in my suite…. I said nothing to him. He was sitting, and I was standing across the coffee table from him approximately four feet away. Now I could feel myself trembling. As I stood there, I asked in a frustrated and scared tone, “What do you want from me?”
And he gave me a look of annoyance like he couldn’t believe I didn’t get it. He said, “An affair of more than passing affection.” …. 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. I could smell alcohol on his breath, but he was totally sober. He spoke clearly. He was in control of his faculties.
I broke away and stood up and said, “Tom, I do not want to do this with you" .... He sat there for what felt like minutes and he finally said, “I guess I should go.” I said, “Yeah.” And he got up and tried to kiss me again on the way out as he left.
To read the full transcript and watch the video, visit variety.com.